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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Flora Family Foundation

About the Foundation
The Flora Family Foundation was established in 1998 by the family of William R. Hewlett (co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Company) and his late wife, Flora Lamson Hewlett. It is predicated on the belief that each individual has an obligation to go beyond the narrow confines of his or her personal interests and be mindful of the broader concerns of humanity.
The Foundation is organized around two groups.  The Family Council includes the five children and the twelve grandchildren of William and Flora Hewlett, along with the spouses of the children and grandchildren. This is a consultative body that meets once a year to help determine the organization's policies and programmatic directions.  It also serves as a forum for discussion and instruction in matters related to the philanthropic interests of the family. 
The rotating eight-member Board of Directors consists of two children, four grandchildren, and two non-family members.  Spouses of the children and the grandchildren also serve on the Board. 
The Flora Family Foundation has no constraints on its grantmaking so long as grant candidates fit the philanthropic interests of the Board and Family Council and meet IRS requirements. This provides unrestricted opportunities for innovative, responsive, and responsible grantmaking.
Grants of the Flora Family Foundation reflect the extraordinary diversity of interests among the twenty-six members of the Family Council. The Foundation supports programs in education, arts and culture, international development, the advancement of women, health, the environment, human services, economic development, humanitarian assistance, cultural preservation, and international security.  FFF grants assist work throughout the United States and in countries around the world.  The Foundation funds fellowships, research projects, endowments, start-up expenses, program initiatives, capital improvements, and general operations. Beyond the provision of financial resources, Family Council members and Foundation staff support the work of grantees by serving on boards of directors, brokering new funding relationships, and supporting associations of grantmakers.
The Foundation’s wide reach reflects a conscious rejection of all boundaries on grantmaking.  The Foundation’s open architecture encourages the initiative of each member of the Family Council, capitalizing on the wide-ranging talents and experiences of individuals who share equally in decision-making.  
We recognize that the FFF approach presents some disadvantages for grantseekers.  Because of the absence of limitations on the scope of grants, the Foundation is unable to consider unsolicited proposals.  Nor is the Foundation able to commit long-term support to organizations working in a single domain.  The staff and Family Council attempt to compensate for these disadvantages by circulating widely in the public benefit sector, constantly gathering prospects and sending clear signals about the possibilities for support.  The Foundation also seeks to minimize the burden of proposal-writing and reporting on grants, while ensuring that the requirements of due diligence are met. 
In years to come we expect the interests of some Family Council members to cluster in selected subject areas, but a hallmark of the Flora Family Foundation will continue to be its flexibility and responsiveness to needs as they arise across the entire public benefit sector.