How Campbell's Soup Heir, Bennett Dorrance, Approaches Philanthropy

With an estimated net worth of $2.1 billion, Bennett Dorrance is the heir to the Campbell Soup Company fortune. And better known to grantseekers in Arizona, California, and Hawaii, he’s the president of the Scottsdale-based Dorrance Family Foundation (DFF).

Dorrance has spent 25 years as a director of Campbell Soup and as the grandson of John T. Dorrance, he’s one of three billionaire heirs on the board. Soup aside, he’s a founding partner of DMB Associates, a real estate company that develops planned communities in Arizona. Now here’s a little bit about Dorrance’s approach to philanthropy.

Foundation Funding is for Education and Environment

DFF’s education grantmaking revolves around the following areas: low-income and underserved students, first generation graduates, literacy, quality teacher training and recruitment, and science and technology education. Primary, secondary, and post-secondary education organizations are considered for grants.

DFF’s natural resource conservation grantmaking is all about forests, marine and coastal areas, rivers and streams, wetlands and watersheds, wildlife habitats, and sustainable agriculture and land management. The foundation looks for grantees that match these criteria as closely as possible and are truly innovators in their fields.

Related: Read IP's Profile of the Dorrance Family Foundation

Personal Funding is a Bit Broader

Bennett Dorrance and his wife Jacquie personally are known for supporting local sculpture gardens, art museums, and planetariums. The Dorrance Family Foundation has been known to support arts and culture, children's medical research, science and other community needs. However, this support is typically accompanied by a special interest of one of the foundation’s directors through individual giving or personal involvement. Bennett Dorrance has not signed the Giving Pledge and it’s unclear how much more of his personal wealth will find its way to the family foundation.

Foundation Grants Often Reach $100,000

Some representative Arizona grants include $100,000 to Ballet Arizona, $100,000 to the Translational Genomics Research Institute Foundation, $60 to the POPSICLE Center, and $25,000 to Not My Kid. These grants funded general operating support, a website upgrade, staff hiring, and event funding. At the end of 2013, DFF reported over $53.7 million in assets and over $4 million in total giving.

Letters of Inquiries Are Accepted

Grant applications are accepted and reviewed by invitation only. However, organizations that improve the quality of community life through education and natural resource conservation can submit a Letter of Inquiry. To get started, you can create a login and password on DFF’s online grant system. Questions about this process can be submitted via online form, and the woman to know is Carrie Walker-Ostroski, DFF’s Executive Director.