MENLO PARK, Calif. —The Hewlett Foundation has been working with the Center for Effective Philanthropy to survey its grantees about their perceptions of the Foundation’s work since 2003. The report allows foundations that participate to compare their results over time and to compare their data to other similarly sized foundations. In 2013, the Hewlett Foundation conducted its fifth Grantee Perception Report, which revealed continued strengths in a number of areas, but also showed that there were nevertheless areas for improvement.
Grantees gave the Foundation high marks for its understanding of grantees’ work and, among similarly sized donors, the Foundation received a high score as well, for advancing the quality and sharing of research and knowledge in those fields. After reviewing the previous Grantee Perception Report in 2011, the Foundation took steps to make reporting requirements simpler, and in the latest report, grantees reported that they were indeed spending less time completing requirements of their grants than they previously had. Grantees noted that the Foundation has, since the previous survey, also improved the consistency of communications as well as the fairness with which the grantees felt they had been treated during the grantmaking process.
Conversely, the report also singled out a number of areas for improvement. Grantees perceived that the Foundation’s impact on their fields has diminished slightly since the 2011 survey, and ratings for the Foundation’s ability to communicate its goals and strategies declined as well.
Hewlett Foundation president Larry Kramer sees the findings as an opportunity to continue to improve the organization’s effectiveness. “We learned a great deal from this year’s Grantee Perception Report and we are already taking steps to respond,” he said. “For one thing, this report only reinforces our ongoing commitment to transparency about our strategies and our grants. In fact, we are already working to ensure that information about our work is readily available and easier to get.”
In a note to Hewlett Foundation grantees, Mr. Kramer wrote, “Our institutional skin is thick when it comes to hearing criticism, adapting, and adjusting. We’d much rather be told what we might be doing wrong or could do better than be left in the dark—and we are committed to doing something about what we hear.”
The Center for Effective Philanthropy, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, received completed surveys from 693 recipients of Hewlett Foundation grants during September and October, 2013.
The 2013 Grantee Perception Report is available on the Hewlett Foundation’s website. More information on the Grantee Perception Report process is available from the Center for Effective Philanthropy at www.effectivephilanthropy.org.
About The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation helps people build measurably better lives. The Foundation concentrates its resources on activities in education, the environment, global development and population, performing arts, and philanthropy, as well as grants to support disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. A full list of the Hewlett Foundation’s grants can be found online.
About the Center for Effective Philanthropy
The Center for Effective Philanthropy is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing the practice of philanthropy by providing management and governance tools to define, assess, and improve overall foundation performance.
Hewlett Foundation Communications Officer
(650) 234-4500 x5744