The same guiding principles that inform the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s approach to strategy likewise drive our day-to-day grant practices. By “grant practices,” we mean the methods and activities through which grants are executed. These practices include, but are not limited to, such things as how we collect grantee information; how we use data and capture what we learn; how we use technology to interface with grantees; and how we define roles and work with one another. We group our grant practices into six broad areas:

  1. Efficient and flexible processes.
  2. Due diligence.
  3. Grantee selection and portfolio management.
  4. Grant structures and set-up.
  5. Effective grantee relationships.
  6. Alignment between grant practices and Outcome-Focused Philanthropy (OFP).

Collectively, these six categories comprise how we make grants — as opposed to choosing which grants to make, which is the provenance of the Hewlett Foundation’s brand of strategic philanthropy, Outcome-Focused Philanthropy (though practices and categories inevitably intersect and overlap). The purpose of this paper is to set out the philosophy that underlies how we make grants, articulating the connection between these grant practices and our guiding principles.