OVERVIEW: The Flora Family Foundation is a multi-generational family philanthropic enterprise endowed with a slice of the wealth of William R. Hewlett (co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Company) and his late wife Flora. Its giving is wide-ranging, and includes support of arts and culture, education, the advancement of women, civic engagement, the environment, and global security throughout the U.S. and around the world.
IP TAKE: The Flora Family Foundation makes substantial investments in arts and culture, and puts journalism at the forefront of those pursuits. It supports a wide range of journalistic initiatives throughout the U.S. and beyond—but this foundation does not accept unsolicited requests, so the first order of business is to find a way to connect with the family and the foundation’s board and staff.
PROFILE: 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. (Before any unnecessary confusion occurs: This foundation is a wholly separate entity from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Hewlett-Packard Company, and the Hewlett-Packard Company Foundation.)
The Flora Family Foundation was created upon “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.”
Be mindful that by “personal interests,” this foundation refers to the “greater good” of society as opposed to individualistic needs. For most of us, “personal interests” has come to mean our own hobbies, passions, and pursuits, and in this sense, the Flora Family Foundation does indeed pursue its own interests—that is, the interests of the individual family members behind the foundation.
This is particularly important because the Flora Family Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals or inquiries, and its general direction of giving is sculpted by Hewlett’s children, grandchildren and their spouses—and therefore the giving is in sync with their interests and connectivities. A portion of the Hewlett family also makes up the foundation’s board (along with two non-family members), serving one or two year terms, then rotating out.
The good news is that this is a family with a wide variety of interests. Generally speaking, the foundation supports arts and culture, education, civic engagement, the advancement of women, the environment and global security by giving grants to organizations in both the U.S. and abroad.
Formally, the foundation has has no geographic restrictions on its giving. But taking in the totality of its recent granting reveals that it does favor particular geographic regions, which most often coincide with where its board members and/or family members reside. San Francisco and the Bay Area is unquestionably the foundation’s favorite location; Nashville, TN also receives extra attention.
Arts and culture plays an enormous role in the foundation’s giving, in both “favorite locations” and beyond. Within this giving area, journalism is most certainly at the foundation’s forefront.
The ways in which the foundation is willing to earmark its grants to your journalistic enterprise are varied. The Flora Family Foundation will fund media productions, start-up expenses, program initiatives, capital improvements, and general operations. Of this general operating support, the foundation is keenly aware of its value, stating, “This form of support is particularly valuable to nonprofit organizations.”
The Flora Family Foundation’s support of journalism comes in many forms, from traditional newspapers to social media, and from established journalists to empowering citizens on the street, covering issues and cultures all around the globe. Recent journalism grants include:
- $50,000 to Principe Productions to support a film on Sudan refugees.
- $40,000 over two years to Internews in Arcata, CA for its Earth Journalism Network;
- $30,000 over three years to Non-Stop Media in Brooklyn, NY for its Iran dar Jahan and Shirzanan projects;
- $25,000 to the New Media Advocacy Project in Valatie, NY for general support;
- $25,000 over two years to Warscapes in New York, NY for general support;
- $24,000 to the Center for Investigative Reporting in Emeryville, CA for general support;
- $20,000 to This I Believe, headquartered in Louisville, KY, for general support;
- $20,000 to Video Volunteers, based in New York, NY and Goa, India, for general support;
- $15,000 to The Contributor headquartered in Nashville, TN for general support;
- $10,000 to Ninth Street Media Consortium in San Francisco, CA for general support;
- $10,000 to Radio Ambulante in Oakland, CA for general support;
- $5,000 to support the making of the documentary film The Mathare Project;
- $5,000 to The Real News Network in Baltimore, MD for general support.
The Flora Family Foundation not only prides itself on its “flexibility and responsiveness to needs and opportunities as they arise across the entire public benefit sector”—it describes this as the foundation’s “hallmark.” When you’re able to create an opportunity to connect with a family and/or board member, pitching your journalism project in the context of this hallmark is a good place to start.
- Steve Toben, President