What We're Learning
As a foundation that believes in the value of strategic philanthropy, the Hewlett Foundation is constantly evaluating our work and reflecting on what we’re learning. We also want to make sure we share what we’re learning.
In this section, you will find a library of the publications produced by our grantees and our staff. You will also find a collection of President’s Statements from the Foundation’s Annual Reports, which reflect on philanthropy and the Hewlett Foundation’s approach. We’ve posted our Grantee Perception Reports from 2003 and 2006, compiled by the Center for Effective Philanthropy, with introductions by Foundation President Paul Brest.
The Philanthropy Program recently released a paper in conjunction with McKinsey and Company focusing on the need for an online marketplace for information about nonprofits. Traditionally, information about nonprofits has been limited to financial statements and tax returns, not information about the effectiveness of the nonprofit’s work itself. In order to assist donors to make more informed decisions, a marketplace for performance information is needed. The paper, The Nonprofit Marketplace: Bridging the Information Gap in Philanthropy, is a step towards encouraging the creation of this marketplace. To correspond with the paper, a discussion board is also allowing readers of the paper to share their thoughts.
With any investment, whether philanthropic or otherwise, comes risk. And in order to get better at what we do, we need to reflect on what succeeds and also what fails. When we fail, we need to be honest and open about the causes of that failure, and we need to learn from failure and apply the lessons to our future work. In 1996, the Hewlett Foundation made a major investment in the Neighborhood Improvement Initiative. After 10 years and millions of dollars invested, the Initiative was described as a failure. In order to fully understand why the Initiative failed, the Foundation commissioned a report, which can be read here.
We’ll use this space to continue sharing what we’re learning, because we believe that this information is valuable not only to us, but to you as well.