William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is a US-based private foundation established in 1966, whose approach flows directly from the ethos and values of its founders William R. Hewlett and Flora Lamson Hewlett and their family. The foundation provides grants to a broad range of institutions – from research institutes and multilateral actors to grassroots organisations working on development.

The foundation’s programmes focus on domestic and international issues. Programmes with an international scope include: Global Development and Population, Education, Environment, Cyber, and Effective Philanthropy.

The Hewlett Foundation disbursed USD 123.3 million for development in 2019 in the form of grants. Compared to 2018, this amount represents a decrease by 42% in real terms.

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In 2019, the Hewlett Foundation provided USD 2 million of gross disbursements to the multilateral system, accounting for 1% of its total development finance. The main multilateral channels used by the Hewlett Foundation included the United Nations Secretariat, the United Nations Development Programme and the Commonwealth of Learning. All of these contributions were earmarked for specific countries, regions, themes or purposes.

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See the section on Geographic and thematic focus for the geographical and thematic breakdown of bilateral allocations earmarked through the multilateral development system.

In 2019, the Hewlett Foundation channelled its development finance mostly through non-governmental organisations (71%) and universities, research institutes and think tanks (24%).

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In 2019, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 83 million of gross disbursements. Of this, 43% of the Hewlett Foundation’s development finance was allocated to CSOs as core contributions and 57% was channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by the provider (earmarked funding). CSOs based in developing countries received 11% of its allocations channelled to/through all CSOs.

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In 2019, the Hewlett Foundation’s development finance was primarily focused on Africa and Asia. USD 35 million was allocated to Africa and USD 23 million to Asia, accounting respectively for 28% and 19%. Forty-eight per cent of its development grants were unspecified by region in 2019.

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Bilateral private development finance by recipient country

In 2019, 33% of gross disbursements went to the Hewlett Foundation’s top 10 recipients, most notably the People’s Republic of China, India and Kenya. The share of 64% was not allocated by country, mainly relating to expenditure for projects and programmes with a regional scope or unrestricted character.

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Least developed countries received USD 10 million (8%) of the Hewlett Foundation’s gross disbursements in 2019. The Hewlett Foundation allocated the highest share of its development grants (28%) to middle-income countries in 2019, noting that 64% was unallocated by income group.

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Note: LDC: least developed country; LMIC: lower middle-income country; UMIC: upper middle-income country; MADCTs: more advanced developing countries and territories.

In 2019, most of the Hewlett Foundation’s development grants were allocated to social infrastructure and services. Contributions in this area accounted for 61% of its commitments (USD 98 million), showing a strong focus on government and civil society and reproductive health. Commitments for economic infrastructure and services totalled USD 45 million (28%), with a particular focus on energy.

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In terms of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Hewlett Foundation focused its development finance on a broad range of objectives, mostly partnerships; peace, justice & strong institutions; climate action; gender equality; affordable & clean energy; and health & well-being.

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In 2019, the Hewlett Foundation committed USD 45 million (28% of its allocable development finance) to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

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In 2019, the Hewlett Foundation committed 40% of its allocable development grants (USD 64 million) in support of climate action. The Hewlett Foundation has a greater focus on mitigation (40% in 2018) than on adaptation (2%).

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The methodological notes provide further details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied, including core and earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, the SDG focus of private development finance, channels of delivery, unspecified/unallocated allocations, the gender equality policy marker, and the environment markers.

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