About the Foundation

Flora and Bill Hewlett
in the Sierra, circa 1973

The Flora Family Foundation was established in 1998 by the family of William R. Hewlett (co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Company) and his late wife, Flora Lamson Hewlett. It is predicated on the belief that each individual has an obligation to go beyond the narrow confines of his or her personal interests and be mindful of the broader concerns of humanity.

The Foundation is organized around two groups.  The Family Council includes the five children and the twelve grandchildren of William and Flora Hewlett, along with the spouses of the children and grandchildren. This is a consultative body that meets roughly once a year to help determine the organization's policies and programmatic directions.  It also serves as a forum for discussion and instruction in matters related to the philanthropic interests of the family. 

The rotating board of directors consists of the children and grandchildren of Bill and Flora Hewlett, plus three non-family members.  Spouses of the children and the grandchildren also serve on the board.  At any given time, six or seven family members sit on the board for one- or two-year terms.

The Flora Family Foundation places no constraints on grantmaking so long as grant candidates fit the philanthropic interests of the board and Family Council and meet IRS requirements. This provides unrestricted opportunities for both responsive and strategic grantmaking.

Grants of the Flora Family Foundation reflect the extraordinary diversity of interests among the members of the Family Council. The Foundation supports programs in education, arts and culture, international development, the advancement of women, health, the environment, human services, economic development, humanitarian assistance, cultural preservation, and international security.  FFF grants assist work throughout the United States and in countries around the world.  The Foundation funds fellowships, research projects, endowments, start-up expenses, media productions, program initiatives, capital improvements, and core operations.  Each year the Foundation awards a large number of grants for general operating support over multiple years.  This form of support is particularly valuable to nonprofit organizations.

The Foundation’s wide reach reflects a conscious rejection of all boundaries on grantmaking.  The Foundation’s open architecture encourages the initiative of each member of the Family Council, capitalizing on the wide-ranging talents and experiences of individuals who share equally in decision-making.  

The Foundation also has two program areas.  The Climate Protection Program focuses on ways to slow emissions of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere.  The program is chiefly concerned with coal combustion and the reduction of short-lived climate pollutants such as methane and black carbon.

The Gap Program addresses the gulf in wealth between the world’s rich and poor.  The Gap Program supports community-based groups and nongovernmental organizations that seek to improve the lives of the poor in selected developing countries. 

Grants in both the Climate Protection Program and the Gap Program are by invitation.

In addition to the foundation’s two programs, FFF has a Marine Conservation Initiative focused on coastal resiliency in California and Fiji. 

Roughly half of the foundation’s budget is disbursed through individually-sponsored grants and the other half through the Climate Protection Program, the Gap Program and the Marine Conservation Initiative.  FFF’s balance of individual initiative and collective action is distinctive among family foundations. 

Beyond the provision of financial resources, FFF Family Council members and staff support the work of grantees by serving on boards of directors, brokering new funding relationships, and supporting collaborations of grantmakers.

Because of the absence of limitations on the scope of grants, the Foundation is unable to consider unsolicited proposalsInstead, the Foundation’s staff and Family Council circulate widely in the nonprofit sector, conferring with colleagues and assessing grant prospects in order to generate candidates for support. 

The hallmark of the Flora Family Foundation is flexibility and responsiveness to needs and opportunities as they arise across the entire public benefit sector.  The staff and Family Council are honored to have been associated with so many exceptional organizations working to support communities and protect the environment around the world.