Since Paul Brest first joined the Hewlett Foundation as President in 2000, the Foundation has made over $65 million in grants to build a stronger philanthropic sector. With these grants, we aim to support more effective philanthropic practice so that all foundations are better equipped to make social and environmental change. We call this our Philanthropy Grantmaking Program, and today it sits within the Foundation’s Effective Philanthropy Group.
Transition points can provide natural windows to reflect on progress to-date, and several such transitions occurred in late 2012 and early 2013: Larry Kramer joined the Foundation as President, Fay Twersky became the first Director of our newly formed Effective Philanthropy Group, and Lindsay Louie joined the Foundation as the Program Officer for the Philanthropy Grantmaking Program. The reflection process we undertook has included third-party evaluations; consultations with grantees, field experts and fellow funders; and thoughtful analysis by both our staff and consultants.
To share our work with the field, we created the 14-minute video included in this post. The video is a shortened version of one that we first produced to share our reflections with the Hewlett Foundation’s Board of Directors last November. The video highlights our strategies, key research and grantees, and the external evaluation findings. It features former Hewlett Foundation President Paul Brest, Stanford Social Innovation Review Managing Editor Regina Ridley, Center for Effective Philanthropy CEO Phil Buchanan, Lead Evaluators Paul Harder and Lucy Bernholz, and others.
As the video shows, we have pursued two strategies to date—one that we will continue, and one that we will not. We believe it is important to share openly about this strategy that didn’t bear out as we expected. In doing so we also want to be clear that our experience and decision are not a reflection on the work of individual grantees we funded. We also want to be clear that we are being open about this work so that our experiences might be helpful to others. We welcome thoughts, reflections and feedback.
For those who’d prefer a written summary of our reflections and links to the two evaluations, they are below.