Conflict of interest policy
William and Flora Hewlett established the foundation exclusively to advance charitable purposes for the public good. The board honors the founders’ values by requiring the highest ethical standards of the directors, advisors, and staff; by using the foundation’s assets efficiently for the foundation’s philanthropic objectives; and by taking measures to assure that decisions are not influenced by self-interest. The conflict of interest policy is intended to provide guidance on how to deal appropriately with situations that involve, or may appear to involve, conflicts of interest, and to comply with federal and state laws concerning conflicts of interest.
View the full policy: Conflict of Interest Policy [PDF]
Equal employment opportunity and policy against harassment
Consistent with our Guiding Principles, the foundation is firmly committed to diversity in staffing and the maintenance of an environment free of discrimination. We provide opportunities to all employees based on merit, qualifications, and job requirements. The foundation is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity in all aspects of employment to all persons without regard to gender, pregnancy, age, color, race, national origin, ancestry, marital status, religion, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, medical condition, veteran status, or any other legally protected category.
This policy governs all aspects of employment at the foundation, including hiring, assignments, training, promotions, compensation, employee benefits, discipline, and discharge.
Also consistent with our values and the law, the foundation is committed to providing and maintaining a workplace that is free of sexual harassment and any form of harassment based upon a legally protected characteristic. The foundation absolutely will not tolerate unlawful harassment against our employees, applicants or contractors by any employee or other third party.
View the full policy: Equal Employment Opportunity Policies (PDF)
Commitment to open licensing
As part of our commitment to openness and transparency, the Hewlett Foundation has long supported open licensing—a replacement for traditional copyright that encourages sharing intellectual property. Open licenses, such as those developed by our longtime grantee Creative Commons, protect authors’ rights while explicitly permitting others to freely use, distribute, and build upon their work. The benefits are substantial: open licensing increases the chances that good ideas get a hearing, that others develop them further, and, ultimately, that they have their greatest impact.
The Hewlett Foundation makes information related to our grantmaking available under an open license so that others may learn from our experience. In 2014, we extended this commitment to open licensing to include, in appropriate circumstances, materials created with our grant dollars. More specifically, the Hewlett Foundation now requires that grantees receiving project-based grants—those made for a specific purpose—openly license the final materials created with those grants (reports, videos, white papers, and the like) under the most recent Creative Commons Attribution license. We also will require that the materials be made easily accessible to the public, such as by posting them to a grantee’s website. These requirements will not apply to grants made for general operating support of an organization or a program or center within an organization because they are incompatible with the nature of general support. We very much hope however, that the positive experience of openly licensing materials created with project-based grants will encourage grantees to do so for all their work.
The Attribution license is the most open license offered by Creative Commons. It gives others permission, free of charge and in advance, to acquire and make licensed work available, and even to incorporate it into new work—to “remix, transform and build upon” the work, in Creative Commons’ phrase. This includes a right to sell the licensed work, so long as the original author is credited for his or her contribution.
We will not enforce this new requirement thoughtlessly. If our default open license does not make sense for a particular project—such as if the work contains sensitive information or if revenue generated by its sale is critical to an organization’s financial well-being—we will work with the grantee to determine the most appropriate license. Our commitment to open licensing is meant to help, not harm, grantees, and we will administer it accordingly.
We believe that open licensing of the Hewlett Foundation’s own work and of work created with funding from us will make our grant dollars go further and so increase our ability to contribute to the common good. It allows others more easily to find, use, respond to, and build upon ideas that can help people build better lives.
Social investment policy
The Hewlett Foundation’s broad purpose is to promote the well-being of humanity. Alternatively stated, our objective is to generate maximum social benefit from our financial and human resources. The Board believes that the Foundation creates substantial social benefit through its grants and related philanthropic activities.
View our social investment policy: Social Investment Policy [PDF]
Reporting of financial, auditing or governance improprieties (whistleblower policy)
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is committed to facilitating open and honest communications relevant to its governance, finances, and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. It is important that the foundation be apprised about unlawful or improper behavior including, but not limited to, any of the following conduct:
- financial reporting that is intentionally misleading;
- improper or undocumented financial transactions;
- improper destruction of records;
- improper use of foundation assets;
- violations of the Hewlett Foundation’s conflict-of-interest policy; and
- any other improper occurrence regarding cash, financial procedures, or reporting
We request the assistance of every employee who has a reasonable belief or suspicion about any improper transaction. The foundation values this input, and each employee should feel free to raise issues of concern, in good faith, without the fear of retaliation. Employees will not be disciplined, demoted, lose their jobs, or be retaliated against for asking questions or voicing concerns about conduct of this sort.
We encourage any employee who has a concern regarding an action concerning the foundation’s governance, finances, or compliance with all applicable laws and regulations to raise the concern with a supervisor, Human Resources, the president, the general counsel, the treasurer, the chair of the Board of Directors or of the Audit Committee, or any other Board member.
If for any reason the employee does not believe these channels of communication are adequate or safe, the concern should be reported immediately to Ms. Julie Finley, Esq., of Starr Finley, LLP. Ms. Finley has been retained specifically to be an independent agent to collect any such reports and to assure that they are looked into and that corrective action is taken when appropriate. Anonymous reports will also be accepted, and all reports will be handled on a confidential basis. Her contact information is:
Starr Finley LLP, Attorneys at Law
Attn: Ms. Julie Finley, Esq.
One California Street, Suite 300
San Francisco, CA 94111
Mark envelope: “TO BE OPENED BY ADDRESSEE ONLY PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL”
Ms. Finley and the Chair of the Audit Committee will coordinate the investigation and the foundation will then take appropriate action as it deems justified by the circumstances.