MENLO PARK, Calif. – From supporting contemporary Asian performing arts in San Jose to underwriting an innovative immersion program for new community college students, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation made $13 million in grants this summer to 48 organizations serving diverse and disadvantaged communities in California.

Across the state, organizations received grants in the Foundation’s five areas of California grantmaking: the environment, population, performing arts, education, and special projects.

“The Hewlett Foundation’s support of our state’s rich cultural diversity and its help for those in need make California a better place,” said Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), whose Fifteenth Congressional District includes Dimension Performing Arts, a Hewlett grantee that presents contemporary Asian performing arts in the South Bay, as well as grant recipients that provide social services.

Among highlights of the grants awarded are:

Environment – Supporting Parks and Cleaner Air in Disadvantaged Communities

The Environment Program made $1.07 million in grants to support 8 California organizations that address environmental issues in the state’s most economically disadvantaged communities. Through these grants, the Program works to improve the quality of life for these communities with urban parks, recreation programs for youth, and a range of other programs.

The grants include $400,000 for The Trust for Public Land in San Francisco, one of the most successful conservation organizations in the United States. This grant will support the Trust’s Parks for People program, which creates and renovates parks in disadvantaged neighborhoods in the Bay Area. In the next two years, the program plans to design and renovate the Hayes Valley Playground, Balboa Park, and Boeddeker Park in San Francisco.

Another grant, for $200,000, went to the Fresno Regional Foundation, which last year created the Air Quality Advisory Committee to distribute funds to Central Valley organizations that are working to reduce air pollution. The committee pays particular attention to low-income, disadvantaged communities and communities of color, which suffer disproportionately from air pollution.

Population – Supporting Sound Educational Practices

Hewlett’s Population Program – which makes grants to reduce teen and unplanned pregnancies and enhance reproductive rights, particularly in disadvantaged communities – made $1.8 million in grants to two organizations, including a grant for $400,000 to Education, Training and Research Associates of Scotts Valley, California. The grant is for ETR Associates to provide training to two Contra Costa school districts in the implementation of sex education curricula.  Despite extensive scientific research on what constitutes effective sex education, many schools still use curricula that have not been rigorously tested.

The grant was made in conjunction with similar projects being considered by the Packard, Grove, and Ford foundations as part of a project to encourage the adoption of sex education that is based on science and effective pedagogy, so grant recipients can form a learning community to jointly evaluate the curricula.

Performing Arts – Promoting the Bay Area’s Rich Cultural Mix

The Performing Arts Program made over $500,000 in grants to 10 organizations that give low-income and diverse Bay Area communities more opportunities to see and participate in the arts. The Program’s grantmaking supports organizations that often work at the intersection of arts and youth development, civic engagement, and economic development.

Among award highlights is a $72,000 grant to Dimension Performing Arts of San Jose, which was created in 1995 to bring a variety of performing arts from the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan to the Bay Area. Dimension also offers an education program that serves 5,000 K-12 students in fifteen schools.

A grant for $100,000 went to the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts in Richmond for general operating support. The Center, founded in 1968, has more than fifty part-time faculty offering instruction in music, dance, theater, and new media to about 2,000 students at the Center and through public school-based programs throughout the city. Its broadly multicultural offerings, which reflect the community, reach another 20,000 youth and families through annual recitals and performances. This follows a $1.5 million grant the Foundation made to the Center in November 2008 for the renovation of their building.

Education – Working to Ensure Community College Students Succeed

The Education Program awarded over $7 million in grants to 18 California organizations mounting broad efforts to improve the state’s public education from kindergarten to community college. Grants ranged from support for individual projects within a single school district to research into systemic issues.

In addition to backing efforts to prepare more high school students for college, the Foundation invests in improving instruction for the large majority of students who arrive at community college unprepared for college-level math and English. A $900,000 grant to the Cabrillo College Foundation in Aptos will enable it to further develop its Digital Bridge Academy, a one-semester immersion program to help underprepared students catch up and gain the study skills to succeed in college.

The Foundation also made a grant for $925,000 to the Campaign for College Opportunity in Los Angeles, a broad-based coalition dedicated to helping more students graduate from college in California. This grant will be used to support a community college pilot project that will provide greater financial flexibility for the schools in return for increased accountability for students’ success. Funds also will be used for an assessment of the state’s community colleges.

Special Projects – Spreading Good Will

In addition to making grants through the programs listed above, the Hewlett Foundation also supports work it deems of merit through a special projects program. As part of this program, the Foundation awarded $25,000 to Goodwill Industries of San Francisco for general operating support.

A full list of Hewlett Foundation grantees, along with links to their Web sites, is available online.

About The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has been making grants since 1967 to help solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. The Foundation concentrates its resources on activities in education, the environment, global development, performing arts, philanthropy and population, and makes grants to support disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Jack Fischer
Hewlett Foundation Communications Officer
(650) 234-4500 x5744