Person

Nancy Packard Burnett

Nationality:

American

Occupation:

Philanthropist

Nancy Packard Burnett is an heiress and philanthropist. She is the daughter of technology entrepreneur David Packard, who co-founded Hewlett-Packard.

Burnett sat on the board of trustees of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation until her retirement in 2022. While on the foundation’s board, she steered grants to environmentalist organizations and pro-abortion groups. [1]

Burnett, who was a marine biologist, was one of the founders of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California. The Packard family gave $40 million to create the aquarium. [2]

Early Life

Nancy Packard Burnett is the daughter of technology entrepreneur David Packard. Packard co-founded the computer manufacturer Hewlett-Packard. [3]

Burnett would go on to attend Stanford University, from which she graduated with a degree in marine biology in 1965. [4]

Burnett’s father, David Packard, was a strong supporter of Stanford University. He was a trustee of the university from 1954-69 and president of the board from 1958-60. Packard was a critic of the radical left on the campus. He called for the university to focus on producing engineers, scientists, and linguists to win the Cold War. Packard was even a target of violent actions by the campus left and was targeted for abduction in 1970. [5]

Nancy would go on to marry Robin Burnett, also a marine biologist. [6]

Monterey Bay Aquarium

In 1978, four scientists were gathered around a dinner table at Nancy and Robin Burnett’s house in the Carmel Valley. During the dinner, the scientists proposed turning an old cannery that had been acquired by Stanford University on Monterey’s Cannery Row into an aquarium. [7]

They approached Burnett’s father, David Packard, about securing money to fund the aquarium. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation first funded a feasibility study to see if the cannery could be converted into an aquarium. When the study showed that the cannery could not be converted, the foundation decided to spend $40 million to build an all-new aquarium that would feature the latest computer-controlled equipment. [8]

The aquarium was the first truly unique project of the foundation and it was designed to be self-supporting financially. Its main sources of revenue are admission fees and private and corporate donations. [9]

The aquarium is unique in that it featured exclusively plants and wildlife that are native to the Monterey Bay area. It also encouraged customers to touch most of the wildlife and plants that are held in the museum. [10]

David and Lucile Packard Foundation Board

Nancy joined the board of the foundation, along with her siblings. When David Packard died in 1996, control of the foundation was turned over to his four children, including Nancy. [11]

During Nancy’s tenure on the board, the foundation began expanding its donations to left-of-center causes and nearly completely cut off right-of-center causes. David Packard had been a pro-free market conservative Republican who had served in Republican administrations. [12]

In January 2022, Nancy Packard Burnett retired from the board of trustees of the foundation. [13]

References

  1. “Susan Packard Orr And Nancy Burnett Retire From The Packard Foundation Board Of Trustees.” Jan. 25, 2022.  David And Lucile Packard Foundation. https://www.packard.org/insights/news/susan-packard-orr-and-nancy-burnett-retire-from-the-packard-foundation-board-of-trustees/. ^
  2. Miller, Tim. “Please Touch.” Washington Post. April 28, 1985. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/travel/1985/04/28/please-touch/4b390606-2ddd-4ab9-aa8f-589e71e92511/. ^
  3. Wooster, Martin Morse. 2013. “A Reaganite Entrepreneur’s Flawed Philanthropy.” Capital Research Center. Jan. 1, 2013. https://capitalresearch.org/article/a-reaganite-entrepreneurs-flawed-philanthropy/. ^
  4. “Creature Feature.” Stanford Magazine. March/April 2002. https://stanfordmag.org/contents/creature-feature. ^
  5. Wooster, Martin Morse. 2013. “A Reaganite Entrepreneur’s Flawed Philanthropy.” Capital Research Center. Jan. 1, 2013. https://capitalresearch.org/article/a-reaganite-entrepreneurs-flawed-philanthropy/. ^
  6. Miller, Tim. “Please Touch.” Washington Post. April 28, 1985. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/travel/1985/04/28/please-touch/4b390606-2ddd-4ab9-aa8f-589e71e92511/. ^
  7. Miller, Tim. “Please Touch.” Washington Post. April 28, 1985. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/travel/1985/04/28/please-touch/4b390606-2ddd-4ab9-aa8f-589e71e92511/. ^
  8. Miller, Tim. “Please Touch.” Washington Post. April 28, 1985. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/travel/1985/04/28/please-touch/4b390606-2ddd-4ab9-aa8f-589e71e92511/. ^
  9. Miller, Tim. “Please Touch.” Washington Post. April 28, 1985. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/travel/1985/04/28/please-touch/4b390606-2ddd-4ab9-aa8f-589e71e92511/. ^
  10. Miller, Tim. “Please Touch.” Washington Post. April 28, 1985. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/travel/1985/04/28/please-touch/4b390606-2ddd-4ab9-aa8f-589e71e92511/. ^
  11. Wooster, Martin Morse. 2013. “A Reaganite Entrepreneur’s Flawed Philanthropy.” Capital Research Center. Jan. 1, 2013. https://capitalresearch.org/article/a-reaganite-entrepreneurs-flawed-philanthropy/. ^
  12. Wooster, Martin Morse. 2013. “A Reaganite Entrepreneur’s Flawed Philanthropy.” Capital Research Center. Jan. 1, 2013. https://capitalresearch.org/article/a-reaganite-entrepreneurs-flawed-philanthropy/. ^
  13. “Susan Packard Orr And Nancy Burnett Retire From The Packard Foundation Board Of Trustees.” Jan. 25, 2022.  David And Lucile Packard Foundation. https://www.packard.org/insights/news/susan-packard-orr-and-nancy-burnett-retire-from-the-packard-foundation-board-of-trustees/. ^
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