William and Flora Hewlett Foundation: Grants for Climate Change

OVERVIEW: The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation invests in organizations and projects that benefit people and places threatened by a warming planet. 

IP TAKE: The vast majority of the Hewlett Foundation’s grants support previous grantees.

PROFILE: William and Flora Hewlett established the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in 1996 with a “loose charter mandating perpetual existence...as a charitable, religious, scientific, literary, or educational foundation for the purpose of promoting the well-being of mankind.” The foundation’s current grantmaking programs support EducationEnvironmentGlobal Development and PopulationPerforming ArtsCyberMadison InitiativeEffective PhilanthropySan Francisco Bay Area, and Special Projects

The foundation conducts climate-change related grantmaking through its Environment program, which emphasizes climate change and offers a two-pronged approach featuring two, separate strategies: Climate and Energy and Western Conservation. In 2008, Hewlett launched a $1 billion, joint climate-funding initiative, the ClimateWorks Foundation. That year, Hewlett awarded ClimateWorks two grants, for $20.4 million and $460.8 million, that accounted for 85% of all grants in 2008. Most of that funding was to seed ClimateWorks, a foundation that uses best practices and targeted giving to tackle the problem of climate change across the globe. However, Hewlett has expanded its grantee focus and supports other grantees as well. The Climate and Energy program focuses on "clean power, oil, efficiency, forests, non-CO2 greenhouse gases, and finance." 

Grants range from about $50,000 to $1,000,000. Past grantees include the Insitute for Climate and Society, as well as the Center for American Progress. 

As one of the more accessible of the larger foundations, Hewlett accepts letters of inquiry. In all cases, though, it's important to note that Hewlett is heavily focused on quantitative outcomes in a project, that its climate projects are usually related to affecting policy, and that the foundation approaches the issue from a global perspective.

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