The Hewlett Foundation makes grants in five core program areas: education, environment, global development and population, performing arts, and philanthropy. In addition, the Foundation makes grants to support disadvantaged communities in the Bay Area. The Foundation’s grants are awarded solely for charitable purposes.

The Foundation funds organizations working in the areas identified above, based on specific goals and strategies outlined by the programs. Almost all grants are awarded to organizations identified by the Foundation.

The Foundation does accept unsolicited Letters of Inquiry from organizations looking for funding in limited areas. Only on very rare occasions are grants awarded in response to these unsolicited funding inquiries. There are no deadlines for their submission. Organizations interested in applying for funding should follow the process outlined below. We encourage you to submit your Letter of Inquiry online whenever possible. Submissions received through the mail, fax, or email will take considerably longer to process, and we cannot guarantee a response.

Step 1: Determining Eligibility

Please read the information on our website about the Foundation’s grantmaking programs, goals and strategies, and geographic limitations. Only the following programs currently accept unsolicited Letters of Inquiry:

Environment Program


Western Conservation
Program Info | Grant Guidelines

Accepting Letters of Inquiry

Energy and Climate
Program Info | Grant Guidelines

Accepting Letters of Inquiry

Bay Area Communities
Program Info | Grant Guidelines

Accepting Letters of Inquiry

Performing Arts Program


Continuity and Engagement
Program Info | Grant Guidelines

Accepting Letters of Inquiry


Education, Global Development and Population, Philanthropy, and Special Projects are not accepting unsolicited requests for grants at this time.

Before applying, please review recently awarded grants for examples of the Foundation’s current funding focus in your area of interest.

The Foundation does not fund individuals and generally does not fund:

  • Scholarships
  • Endowments
  • Capital campaigns
  • Building construction
  • For-profit organizations
  • Unincorporated associations or groups

In addition, the Foundation’s funds can be used only for purposes that are consistent with its status as a charitable organization. Each program provides a more specific explanation of its funding areas and priorities on this website.

Step 2: Applying for a Grant

After reviewing the information above, if you feel that your organization or project is a good match with the Foundation’s funding priorities, you may apply for a grant by completing the Letter of Inquiry Application, the first step in requesting funding from the Foundation. You do not need to talk with Hewlett staff before submitting this application. If you have already spoken to Foundation staff about your request, please tell us in your application.

We will reply to your online submission within 30 days. Due to the volume of submissions we receive, we unfortunately cannot respond to phone calls or emails requesting the status of a submitted Letter of Inquiry.

Please do not submit a full proposal until invited to do so. Unsolicited proposals will not be reviewed or considered.

Please note that the Foundation’s grantmaking is extremely limited in relation to the large number of worthwhile requests it receives.