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, women issues, 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 supports a range of film projects and programs throughout the United States. 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.
Arts and culture plays an enormous role in the foundation’s giving, in both “favorite locations” and beyond. Within this giving area, film is a significant focus, which differentiates the Flora Family Foundation from others that give in the arts and culture realm. You can see the latest board grants here.
The ways in which the foundation is willing to earmark its grants to your film enterprise are varied. The Flora Family Foundation will fund the media productions themselves, as well as 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.”
Recent support of film projects and programs has primarily focused on organizations that curate and disseminate, but the foundation has also directly supported two documentary film projects. These film grants include:
- $52,500 to the San Francisco Film Society: $42,500 for its International Producer Fellowship and $10,000 for general support
- $12,500 to support the making the documentary film The Iran Job
- $10,000 to Ninth Street Media Consortium in San Francisco, CA 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 film project in the context of this hallmark is a good place to start.
- Steve Toben, President