Non-profit

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Hewlett Foundation logo (link)
Website:

www.hewlett.org

Location:

MENLO PARK, CA

Tax ID:

94-1655673

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)-PF

Budget (2014):

Revenue: $624,612,155
Expenses: $419,655,610
Assets: $9,042,503,665

Formation:

1966

Headquarters:

Menlo Park, CA

Board Chair:

Stephen C. Neal

President:

Larry Kramer

Vice President & Chief Investment Officer:

Ana Marshall

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (also known as the Hewlett Foundation) is a private foundation established in 1966 by Hewlett-Packard co-founder William R. Hewlett, his wife Flora, and his son Walter.[1]

According to 2014 statistics gathered by the Foundation Center, the Hewlett Foundation, with assets over $9 billion, was the sixth-wealthiest grantmaking foundation and the eighteenth-most generous, granting more than $3.5 billion that year. [2] The foundation has reported that at any time 1,350 of their grants are active. In 2016, Hewlett awarded $414,987,000 in grants and disbursed approximately $419,000,000 in grant payments. [3] The foundation’s program areas are Education, Environment, Global Development and Population, Performing Arts, Madison Initiative, Cyber, Effective Philanthropy, San Francisco Bay Area, and Special Projects. [4]

Overview

The foundation has long claimed to fund organizations that value objectivity, collaboration, and non-partisan solutions to divisive issues as opposed to “single-issue, single-value groups that have as their main focus the influencing of government policy.”[5][6]. While Hewlett has indeed supported many non-partisan efforts, it has also devoted hundreds of millions of dollars to numerous organizations whose missions are demonstrably political and focused on influencing government policy. Since its first year of grantmaking in 1967, for example, Hewlett’s population program has continuously supported Planned Parenthood, the combative abortion-rights association and abortion provider that is ruthlessly uncompromising—even on late-term abortions.[7][8] Hewlett granted nearly $100 million to Planned Parenthood between 2000 and 2016, [9] and as of 2017, is the organization’s second largest private benefactor after the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. [10] Since 1995 Hewlett has also given over $6 million to Catholics for Choice,[11] a radical organization of self-identified Catholics who do not recognize the authority of the Catholic Church on abortion or contraception,[12] support late-term abortions,[13] and launch publicity efforts deliberately antagonistic toward the Catholic Church.[14] [15][16]

Hewlett’s environmental program also challenges the organization’s claim to objectivity and non-partisanship. Assuming global warming is caused primarily by human activity (namely global emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases), Hewlett maintains that “climate change is the defining issue of our day” and is “an urgent global crisis that affects every problem philanthropy seeks to solve, whether it’s improving health, alleviating poverty, reducing famine, promoting peace, or advancing social justice.”[17] As a result, the foundation provides grants to organizations that push governmental “policy solutions,” including increasingly stringent carbon caps, taxes, fuel economy standards, building codes, and household appliance efficiency standards, as well as subsidies for wind, geothermal, solar, biomass, biofuels, electricity, and hydrogen.[18][19] Hewlett pursues these policy goals through ClimateWorks—a separate foundation created by Hewlett and several other charitable organizations in 2008 with a five-year $500 million commitment from Hewlett alone—and many other progressive foundations including Environment Foundation, Sierra Club, Earth Island Institute, Water Foundation, EarthJustice, Greenfaith, Earth Day Network, and Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport, among others. [20] [21]

Aside from supporting the political efforts listed above, the Hewlett Foundation has been and continues to look to government for solutions and awards its billions of dollars in grants to organizations that seek to influence legislation and regulation. The Foundation’s president, Larry Kramer, is a former constitutional law professor and dean of Stanford Law School who prides himself on not being an “originalist.”[22] He wrote in his letter accompanying the organization’s 2014 annual report, “most of our strategies aim for a policy outcome of some sort, which requires finding organizations that are effective in moving policymakers.”[23]

History

Early Years

Established in 1966 by Hewlett-Packard co-founder William R. Hewlett, his wife, Flora Lamson Hewlett, and their eldest son, Walter Hewlett, the foundation’s articles of incorporation stated that the corporation “is organized and shall be operated exclusively as a charitable, religious, scientific, literary or educational foundation for the purpose of promoting the well being of mankind.” During its first ten years, the Hewletts ran the foundation, chose its beneficiaries, and gave the foundation stock in Hewlett-Packard Company. Board meetings were informal and not held on a strict schedule. By 1975, disbursements were nearly three million dollars annually. [24]

In 1967, its first year of giving, the foundation granted $55,000, roughly 25% of its total giving budget, to Planned Parenthood, inspired by “the conviction that current population trends constitute one of the major threats to human happiness and fulfillment.” Also that year, Hewlett devoted $100,000 to support education (California Institute of Technology and Stanford University), and $70,000 to the arts and humanities (the San Francisco Symphony Association and the San Francisco public television station KQED). Over the next ten years, the foundation would significantly increase the number and dollar amount of its annual giving, add new programs (environmental, health, and social services), and continue to fund Planned Parenthood annually. [25]

Professional Era

Former University of California Chancellor Roger Heyns became the foundation’s first non-family president in June 1977, at which point William Hewlett assumed the role of Chairman of the Board. Heyns would transform the organization from a relatively small philanthropy donating to organizations personally known to its founders and board into “a streamlined operation with dedicated professionals seeking out the most deserving efforts.” [26] Later that same year, the foundation published its first annual report in which Heyns articulated the foundation’s enthusiasm for providing general operating support, an approach that continues today: “We have provided general support funds to institutions whose leadership has a demonstrated capacity for sound judgment in allocating scarce resources. While we may on occasion, in making a general support grant, indicate a special interest in particular programs, the grant provides flexibility so that when appropriate, the needs of the organization for planning, project development, and general supervision can be at least partially met.” [27]

In the 1977 annual report, Heyns and the Hewletts also introduced a new guiding principle regarding the foundation’s environmental program: “to support policy-oriented studies that promise to improve the quality of decision-making…” The foundation argued that, “Opposing groups on most issues have developed substantial analytical resources and political power, while organizations that seek policy options or integrated solutions…have less strength and moral support.” As a result, the foundation would fund organizations with “a record of sound, objective, policy-related analyses of environmental issues… [and] mechanisms for resolving environmental disputes in a less divisive manner than currently prevails.” [28]

In his President’s Statement accompanying the organization’s 1978 Annual Report, Roger Heyns echoed the theme of the 1977 report by lamenting the rise of special-interests, especially those “engendered by single-issue, single-value groups that have as their main focus the influencing of government policy.” A result of this divisiveness, Heyns argued, “has been the gradual undermining of organizations with heterogeneous memberships… that provide broad representation of the public interest,” and whose “absence guarantees a weakening of consensus… and, ultimately, the loss of the mutual respect that is necessary if a complex society is to function effectively.” [29]

Several of Hewlett Foundation’s 1978 grants, however, appear to contradict this embrace of collaboration and diversity. Perhaps the strongest example is the foundation contributing another $90,000 to Planned Parenthood, [30] very much a “special interest” and “single-value” group whose then-president Faye Wattleton had been noted for her combativeness earlier in the year by the New York Times. Faye was quoted as saying that she is “putting the world on notice” that Planned Parenthood would be assuming a more aggressive public posture, especially in regard to its “enemies” in the pro-life movement. [31]

Other examples include funding of solidly progressive population and environmental organizations including Pathfinder Fund, Alan Guttmacher Institute, Population Council, and the Urban Environment Foundation.[32] Urban Environment Foundation was created by the Urban Environment Conference, which had described the handling of toxic waste in the U.S. as  “attempted genocide.”[33]

Period of Expansion

Over the next 15 years, Hewlett Foundation significantly increased the number of ballets, symphonies, operas, and other classical arts programs it supported, as well as liberal arts colleges, private historically black colleges, and major research universities. The foundation also expanded the number of organizations it supported in the environmental and population programs, adding Sierra Club, Oceanic Society, Worldwatch Institute, Centre for Population Activities, Center for Population Options, and National Alliance for Optional Parenthood.[34]

Heyns also oversaw the increase of regional grants. Many of these funded organizations focused on community development and low-income assistance in the Bay area. Some were quite radical, like Gloria Steinem’s Women’s Action Alliance, Center for Community Change, and Tides Foundation. Through Special Projects the foundation began funding think tanks, many of them left-of-center, like the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution. The Hewlett Foundation also made a handful of contributions to center-right organizations like the Ethics and Public Policy Center.[35][36]

By Heyns’ retirement in 1993, Hewlett Foundation had grown to $875 million in assets, was disbursing more than $35 million each year and had added Conflict Resolution to its existing categories of Arts and Humanities, Education, Environment, Population, and Regional Grants. [37]

Former University of California president David P. Gardner served as president from 1993 until 2000, another period of rapid growth in the foundation’s assets, which increased to more than $2 billion. During his tenure, Gardner added a Pluralism and Unity subcategory for the Education program that sought to promote “appreciation for both diversity and the common good.” Gardner also oversaw the addition of more radical organizations to the foundation’s list of grantees, including Catholics for Choice, a group of disaffected Catholics who do not recognize the authority of the Church on abortion or contraception.[38]

Former dean of the Stanford Law School Paul Brest became president in 2000 bringing with him a passion for “strategic philanthropy,” an evidence- and outcome-based donor philosophy for “maximizing the social impact of foundation grants to nonprofit organizations.” Lamenting the existing state of philanthropy, Brest griped, “I don’t think this is a field with any significant professional standards… It is only a bit of an exaggeration to say it’s a field held together by a section of the tax code…” [39] Brest’s vision for strategic philanthropy at Hewlett, on the other hand, would specify objectives and articulate a plan for amassing the resources to achieve them, seek grantees that shared Hewlett’s objectives, ensure that grantees had the ability to fulfill them, demand that Hewlett and its grantees convey how they would assess progress toward their objectives, and “take reasonable steps” to measure that progress and evaluate outcomes. [40] So convinced of the potential for strategic philanthropy, Brest even co-authored a book on the subject in 2008, Money Well Spent: A Strategic Plan for Smart Philanthropy. [41]

When William Hewlett died in 2001, the large estate he left to the foundation brought its assets to $8.52 billion, which made it the fifth-largest private foundation in America. [42]

Liberal Behemoth

The scale of William Hewitt’s bequest provided ample opportunity for Brest to put his strategic philanthropy to the test, particularly through the Environment program, with a five-year $500 million commitment to a new venture to address global warming. [43] In 2008, Hewlett partnered with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Energy Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, and the Oak Foundation to create the ClimateWorks Foundation.[44] Predicated on the belief that global warming is “largely the result of human activity,” ClimateWorks “subscribes to the international goal of holding the increase in global average temperature this century to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels while pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C” and reducing “global greenhouse gas emissions to an annual total of 35 billion metric tons by 2030, and eventually cut net-emissions to zero.” Convinced that “determined government action — locally, nationally, and globally” is essential to reaching these goals, ClimateWorks’ mission is not limited to just funding research and analysis, but “educating stakeholders and policymakers, building greater awareness in the general public, and mobilizing critical constituencies for action.”[45] This new commitment by Brest and the Hewlett board added $100 million per year to the Environment Program, essentially doubling the investment in that program and making it the highest-funded.[46]

In 2012, another former dean of Stanford Law School, Larry Kramer, became Hewlett Foundation president. Kramer had been a constitutional law professor who claimed not to be an “originalist,” and clerked early in his career for left-wing U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan. Reportedly holding his predecessor in high regard, Kramer believed Hewlett had been working on the right issues and largely continued the foundation’s embrace of strategic philanthropy. Kramer also pushed for more transparency and oversaw the development of “a comprehensive set of policies and practices based on the presumption that information created by or about the Foundation should be freely available” and launched a blog for staff to offer insights into their decision-making. [47]

Convinced that “all of our work is dependent on government functioning,”[48] Kramer launched a new program area in 2014 to address partisanship and gridlock in the U.S. Congress. The new Madison Initiative was stated to be nonpartisan, and would “seek to help create the conditions in which Congress can craft solutions to our country’s most pressing challenges.”[49] But like the foundation’s earlier claims to support collaboration and diversity of opinion, the actual beneficiaries of the Madison Initiative’s largess have belied Hewlett’s assertion of objectivity.

While the initiative has funded a few conservative and free-market organizations, the majority of grantees are very partisan in that they seek to increase the role of government in providing solutions to the nation’s problems. Many are overtly left-of-center like Brennan Center for Justice, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Brookings Institution, National Association of Latino Elected Officials Education Fund, and Center for American Progress.[50]

Other grantees have appeared to be less partisan and have espoused innocuous enough goals like “action-oriented civics education,” “affecting change,” “empowering a new generation,” “reinvigorating a culture of voting,” and “strengthening democracy.” [51] [52] The following excerpt from the website of Madison grantee Generation Citizen exemplifies this government-centric philosophy:

Beyond enjoying successful action projects, we want Generation Citizen students to end their semesters with an understanding of how they can effect real, lasting change in their communities. We want them to approach this challenge politically – instead of thinking about solving hunger by serving at soup kitchens, thinking about it by broaching structural issues that enable hunger, such as lack of funding for adequate school breakfast programs. [53]

Present Activities

The foundation lists its grantmaking in seven categories: Education, Environment, Global Development and Population, Performing Arts, Madison Initiative, Cyber, Effective Philanthropy, SF Bay Area, and Special Projects. The first five listed are the most heavily funded.

Education

In 2016, Hewlett devoted $55 million to education grants with $30 million toward what it calls “Deeper Learning,” an effort “to align K-12 schools in the U.S. to deliver and measure…a set of six interrelated competencies:  mastering rigorous academic content, learning how to think critically and solve problems, working collaboratively, communicating effectively, directing one’s own learning, and developing an academic mindset.” Hewlett’s stated intent is to “to help students compete globally and become engaged citizens at home.” [54] The foundation also granted $10 million to further the adoption of open educational resources (OER), “high-quality teaching, learning, and research materials that are free for people everywhere to use and repurpose.” [55]

In 2017, the foundation placed additional focus on “strengthening state policy and local implementation of California’s school accountability system” and as of September had granted roughly $3.5 million to organizations focused on that effort. [56]

Between 2010 and 2015, Hewlett provided grants worth more than $455,000 to the United States Department of Education “for assessment development to measure knowledge and skills against college and career-ready standards.”[57]

Environment

The foundation states that it provides “grants to protect people and places threatened by a warming planet by addressing climate change globally, expanding clean energy, and conserving the North American West.” [58] Hewlett focuses almost exclusively on organizations that work on government policy development because this approach “provides the greatest opportunity to reach [the Foundation’s] goals.”[59] Hewlett’s biggest environmental beneficiary is ClimateWorks, a separate foundation created and funded by Hewlett and several other charitable organizations, and launched in 2008 with a five-year $500 million commitment from Hewlett alone.[60][61] As of September 2017, Hewlett has provided more than $36 million in additional funding to ClimateWorks. Between 2016 and 2017, Hewlett also provided nearly $53 million to an organization with a similar mission, Energy Foundation. [62] [63]

Both ClimateWorks and Energy Foundation support other organizations that are also focused on pushing “policy solutions” at the federal, state, and municipal levels. These solutions include increasingly stringent carbon caps, taxes, fuel economy standards, building codes, and household appliance efficiency standards, as well as subsidies for wind, geothermal, solar, biomass, biofuels, electricity, and hydrogen. [64] [65] [66] [67]

Hewlett also provides tens of millions of dollars in direct grants to many other progressive foundations including Sierra Club, Earth Island Institute, Water Foundation, Earthjustice, Greenfaith, Earth Day Network, and Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport, to name just a few. [68]

Global Development and Population

Through this program, Hewlett grants over $200 million a year “to expand women’s reproductive and economic choices, amplify citizen participation, and improve policymaking through evidence.” Roughly 10% of this budget is devoted to organizations whose primary mission is to perform abortions or advocate for abortion rights. Many of the additional beneficiaries under this program include abortion advocacy among other areas of focus. Between 2000 and 2016, Hewlett granted nearly $100 million to Planned Parenthood[69] and (as of September 2017) was the organization’s second largest private benefactor after the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation.[70] In 2017, Hewlett gave Planned Parenthood $4 million for “general operating support”[71] and granted over $18 million more to other organizations focused on abortion rights including Population Action International ($1,605,000), Center for Reproductive Rights, Marie Stopes International ($4,500,000), Groundswell Fund ($2,100,000), American Civil Liberties Union‘s Reproductive Freedom Project ($900,000), FemHealth USA ($1,000,000), MannionDaniels Limited ($900,000), Funders for Reproductive Equity ($300,000), IPAS ($3,750,000), Funders Network on Population Reproductive Health and Rights ($200,000), National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health ($630,000), International Women’s Health Coalition ($1,500,000), and National Abortion Federation ($800,000) [72]

Performing Arts

In 2016 and 2017, Hewlett Foundation granted approximately $40 million each year to a wide variety of performing arts organizations, particularly in the San Francisco Bay area. As in the past, beneficiaries included traditional theater and classical music and dance, like Shakespeare San Francisco, Carmel Bach Festival, and Peninsula Ballet Theatre. Continuing a more recent funding trend, Hewlett also supported more progressive and avant-garde organizations, like Youth Speaks, whose guiding principle of “liberatory pedagogy” encourages youth to express themselves in “their own vernacular”[73] and “aims to deconstruct dominant narratives in hopes of achieving a more inclusive learning experience.”[74] The organization’s programs include Teen Poetry Slam, Under-21 Open Mics, and Queeriosity, described as “a safe space for queer youth who are reshaping the contours of our conversations about sexuality, identity, and community.”[75][76][77]

Controversies

Fake News

As of March 2018, the Hewlett Foundation has announced it plans to spend $10 million over the next two years to combat what it considers “fake news.”[78] The left-of-center organization claims that it will support research efforts that will study how disinformation spreads, the impact of elevating high-quality content, and how to “accommodate free speech and privacy while addressing online propaganda.”[79] However, Hewlett claims to want to “investigate the networks that disseminate the news” but is also interested in a regulatory approach after supporting this research.[80]

Leadership

Stephen C. Neal, Board Chairman

Stephen Neal is Chairman of Cooley LLP, one of the most liberal American law firms according to a 2016 study in Harvard Law School’s Journal of Legal Analysis.[81] In 2015, Lexis Nexis’ Law360 named Neal a “Trial Ace” for his almost 90 percent win rate.[82] Neal’s biography on the firm website states that his practices include “a variety of litigation, negotiation and counseling services” and that he has tried “over 30 jury and non-jury cases to verdict as lead trial counsel and has conducted dozens of other contested evidentiary and non-evidentiary hearings on dispositive issues and argued over 20 appeals in various federal and state courts around the country.”[83][84]

Larry Kramer, President

Larry Kramer is a former constitutional law professor (University of Chicago, University of Michigan and New York University) and dean of Stanford Law School who clerked early in his career for left-wing U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan.[85] Kramer believes that democracy in the U.S. is in “serious trouble” and that the problems of the world “require a seriousness of purpose and a willingness to take action that the world’s current, feckless leadership is apparently unable to muster.” Reflecting on his mission at Hewlett for an article in the Stanford Lawyer, Kramer told his interviewer, “By retirement I want to have prevented global warming and saved democratic government.”[86]

References

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  60. “Grantmaking Trends Memo: Environment.” Hewlett Foundation. Published July 1, 2014. Accessed October 17, 2017. https://www.hewlett.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Grantmaking%20Trends%20Memo_Environment_2014.pdf
  61. “History.” ClimateWorks Foundation. Accessed October 20, 2017. http://www.climateworks.org/about-us/our-history/
  62. “Environment.” Hewlett Foundation. Accessed September 22, 2017. https://www.hewlett.org/programs/environment/
  63. “About Us « Energy Foundation.” Energy Foundation. Accessed October 20, 2017. http://www.ef.org/about-us/
  64. “Grants Database.” ClimateWorks Foundation. Accessed October 20, 2017. http://www.climateworks.org/portfolios/grants-database/
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Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Hal Harvey
    Former Environment Program Director
  2. John Holdren
    Informal adviser, grant recipient

Donation Recipients

  1. Alliance for Open Society International (Non-profit)
  2. American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (Non-profit)
  3. Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (Non-profit)
  4. BlueGreen Alliance (Non-profit)
  5. Bolder Advocacy (Non-profit)
  6. California Forward (Non-profit)
  7. California Forward Action Fund (Non-profit)
  8. Catholics for Choice (Non-profit)
  9. Center for Cultural Innovation (Non-profit)
  10. Center for Public Interest Research (Non-profit)
  11. Center for Responsive Politics (Non-profit)
  12. ClimateWorks Foundation (Non-profit)
  13. Defending Democracy Together Institute (DDTI) (Non-profit)
  14. Environmental Working Group (EWG) (Non-profit)
  15. FemHealth USA (Non-profit)
  16. Fractured Atlas Productions (Non-profit)
  17. Issue One (Non-profit)
  18. League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (LCVEF) (Non-profit)
  19. MapLight (Non-profit)
  20. Media Democracy Fund (Non-profit)
  21. National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (Non-profit)
  22. National Partnership for Women & Families (Non-profit)
  23. National Public Radio (NPR) (Non-profit)
  24. National Women’s Law Center (Non-profit)
  25. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) (Non-profit)
  26. Oil Change International (Non-profit)
  27. Oxfam America (Non-profit)
  28. Pew Charitable Trusts (Non-profit)
  29. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) (Non-profit)
  30. Ploughshares Fund (Non-profit)
  31. Population Connection (Zero Population Growth) (Non-profit)
  32. Public Policy Institute of California (Non-profit)
  33. R Street Institute (Non-profit)
  34. Represent.Us (Non-profit)
  35. ReThink Media (Non-profit)
  36. Rockefeller Brothers Fund (Non-profit)
  37. Rocky Mountain Institute (Non-profit)
  38. Roosevelt Institute (Non-profit)
  39. Sustainable Markets Foundation (Non-profit)
  40. Taxpayers for Common Sense (Non-profit)
  41. Tides Foundation (Non-profit)
  42. Upstream (Non-profit)
  43. Washington Center for Equitable Growth (Non-profit)
  44. Western Conservation Foundation (Non-profit)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: March 1, 1968

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2014 Dec Form PF $624,612,155 $419,655,610 $9,042,503,665 $236,127,009 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $289,396,942 $303,616,986 $8,607,073,096 $302,553,150 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $604,616,338 $374,651,952 $7,735,371,139 $340,745,762 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $428,169,099 $274,862,351 $7,296,506,125 $358,279,985 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

    2121 SAND HILL RD
    MENLO PARK, CA 94025-6909