Hewlett Grantmaking
Broadens Access to Services

Despite their regular appearance in the news, grantmaking foundations remain something of a mystery to most people, surveys show. Recently the Hewlett Foundation newsletter took a look at some of the many forms foundation work can take. Here’s one. To see the others, click here.

Yet another way that foundations can effect change in a field is by providing leadership as well as funding for successful advocacy. The Hewlett Foundation’s Population Program has tried to do both whenever possible.

Family planning and reproductive health have been areas of the Foundation’s concern since its founding more than forty years ago. During that time, grantmaking in those areas has grown from serving the San Francisco Bay Area to supporting nonprofits around the world.

As the Population Program’s grantmaking grew, so did its intention that the impact of its work be greater than the sum of its individual grants. It supported programs working in neglected geographic areas and providing education and services that women and men need for good reproductive health. It also increased general support grants that allow organizations delivering reproductive health services to explore innovative approaches and quickly respond to opportunities or emergencies.

For example, Program support helped create the first African organization devoted to collaboration among developing countries to improve family planning and reproductive health. The organization, Partners in Population and Development, whose Africa Regional Office is in Kampala, Uganda, helps developing countries work together to design family planning and reproductive health policies and programs.

In the same vein, Hewlett grants support the education of more experts in population science at African universities. These highly trained individuals are already contributing to the creation of better population research and policies. The Foundation is the only U.S. philanthropic organization providing support in this area.