MENLO PARK, Calif. – From promoting governmental transparency in Africa to supporting grassroots theater in a poor San Jose neighborhood, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has announced over $90 million in new grants to 263 organizations.

Organizations receiving grants ranged across the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout the world in the Foundation’s six primary areas of grantmaking: global development, education, performing arts, philanthropy, the environment, and population. Among the highlights of the grants awarded in November are:

Global Development – Combating Poverty through Accountable Government

The Global Development Program, which is dedicated to reducing extreme poverty in the developing world, made $24.4 million in grants to 36 organizations.

For poor countries to improve the lives of their citizens, it is crucial to have enough money to deliver basic services. Yet public funds can be hard to track and too often go missing. To solve this problem, the Hewlett Foundation makes grants to improve the transparency and accountability of spending by international donors and governments in the developing world.

A $4 million grant to the nonprofit Revenue Watch Institute will support its work advising governments on best practices in natural resource revenue management. It will also support local civil society groups with training and information to become more effective monitors of government revenue and spending.

Another $4 million grant, to the International Budget Partnership, will be used to strengthen the ability of civil society organizations to analyze government budgets and how governments distribute funds as well as advocate for greater government accountability. The Partnership is a program of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C.

Education – Helping Community College Students Succeed

The Education Program, which makes grants to improve education across California and around the world, awarded $9.5 million in grants to 42 organizations.

A highlight among grants awarded is $750,000 to the Community College Open Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University. Developers of the Initiative will use a team of educators, experts in learning, specialists in human-computer interaction, and software designers to create what they hope will be a more effective way to teach math and English to community college students. The goal is to increase course completion by 25% among students from vulnerable populations and share two online courses with forty community colleges across the country.

A grant of $300,000 was made to California Forward, a bipartisan organization working to reform the state’s government, to help state legislative staffers learn more about key issues in California education policy.

Performing Arts – Using Theater to Help the Well-being of Families

The Performing Arts Program, the largest funder of performing arts organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, made $5.9 million in grants to 49 organizations.

Providing broad and diverse opportunities to participate in the arts is one goal of Hewlett’s grantmaking in the performing arts. A $180,000 grant to Somos Mayfair, which uses grassroots theater to improve the well-being of families in the Mayfair neighborhood of San Jose, is one way to help achieve that goal. Somos Mayfair will use the funding in part to create three new plays for Spanish-speaking audiences that will be presented throughout the region for free.

The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, the oldest and largest such event in the world based on attendance, received a grant of $201,000. For two weeks each summer, the festival presents sixty-five to seventy films to more than 30,000 moviegoers at four venues throughout the Bay Area.

Philanthropy – Spreading the Word on Effective Practices

The Philanthropy Program, which awards grants to promote effective charitable giving, made $1.4 million in grants to 10 organizations.

Recognizing that social change works best when the most effective philanthropic practices are widely known, the Foundation made a grant of $500,000 to the Stanford Social Innovation Review, based at Stanford University. The Review, one of the dominant publications in the emerging field of philanthropic studies, publishes the work of leading academics and practitioners writing about new ideas and approaches in social innovation.

The arts thrive when the organizations that present them have strong leadership and administration. A $35,000 grant to the Arts Council Silicon Valley will enable the organization to create a three-year strategic plan to assess its effectiveness and strengthen its mission despite the economic downturn.

Environment – Restoring Waterways in the American West

The Environment Program, which makes grants to protect western lands and address the problem of climate change, announced $30.7 million in grants to 67 organizations.

A $4 million grant to Trout Unlimited will support its work to conserve, protect, and restore North America’s cold water fisheries and their watersheds. This national organization will work to restore and protect 900 miles of rivers in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming, and protect 75 million acres of roadless land and important habitat throughout the West.

Population – Researching the Interaction of Population Dynamics and Poverty

The Population Program, which makes grants to improve family planning and reproductive health in the United States and around the world, gave $12.6 million in grants to 33 organizations.

Among them is a grant of $1 million to the INDEPTH Network of Accra, Ghana. For more than thirty years, INDEPTH has gathered demographic data on more than 2 million people across Africa to better understand how government policies and programs affect the well-being of a country’s citizens. The grant is part of a broader Hewlett effort to fund research to better understand how population dynamics and poverty affect one another.

The Foundation also made a $2.25 million grant to the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York City, which promotes women’s equality by building a body of law that secures reproductive rights worldwide. The Center, unique in providing both U.S. and international legal advocacy, serves as an expert resource for policymakers, advocates, the media, the legal community, healthcare professionals, and donors.

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 ext. 5744