Special Projects

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Funding is reserved each year to support special projects that do not necessarily align with our primary programs.


The majority of the Hewlett Foundation’s philanthropy is aligned with grantmaking strategies in our permanent programs. But sometimes unanticipated opportunities arise that require flexibility. We reserve funding each year to support special projects.

Unlike other aspects of the Hewlett Foundation’s philanthropy, these grants are not concentrated on a specific area with an overarching programmatic strategy or an outcome-focused theory of change. Special projects have included exploring potential initiatives, enabling collaboration with other foundations, and facilitating cross-pollinating work across our programs. They are one-time grants to help support catalytic projects.


Address special needs not covered by our programs and strategies to better respond to opportunities that advance our philanthropic values, incubate new ideas and strengthen our field.

Our Grantmaking

The Miami Foundation
for the Press Forward pooled fund
Brown University
for support of the Information Futures Lab
Aspen Institute
for the Verify conference
for the Ibarguen Innovation Fund

Our Team

Elizabeth Peters
Elizabeth Peters 
Interim President
Sherry Huang
Sherry Huang 
Special Projects Fellow and Advisor to the President on AI
Vidya Krishnamurthy
Vidya Krishnamurthy 
Chief Communications Officer and Senior Adviser to the President
Kristy Bernard Tsadick 
Interim General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
Marlene Zapata
Marlene Zapata 
Program Operations Liaison and Trainer

Learn More

Special Projects grantmaking helps foster partnership with other foundations.

In 2015, for example, the foundation made a $3 million grant for general operating support to the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, in association with the Bay Area’s Sandler Foundation, to examine how structural changes in the U.S. economy, particularly related to economic inequality, affect economic growth.

We have made collaborative grants to organizations that improve the practice of philanthropy in specific areas of operational expertise, such as the PEAK Grantmaking and the Communications Network.

The foundation also makes “good citizen” grants to support organizations whose work diffusely serves our core interests, such as the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and nonprofit public media such as NPR, PBS Newshour, and ProPublica.

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