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.


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

Independent Sector
for general operating support
The New York Public Library
for the Support for Learning Through e-Books project
Commonwealth Club of California
for the Climate One project
Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society
for the Delta Philanthropy project

Our Team

Larry Kramer
Larry Kramer 
Vidya Krishnamurthy
Vidya Krishnamurthy 
Director of Communications
Kristy Bernard Tsadick 
Deputy General Counsel
Marlene Zapata
Marlene Zapata 
Program Associate, Cyber Initiative

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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 Grant Managers Network 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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