The Hewlett Foundation Grant: Who Qualifies and How to Apply for Funding

November 22, 2023

As a nonprofit organization, securing funding and grants is critical to advancing your mission and serving your community. The Hewlett Foundation offers generous grants to support organizations focused on education, environment, global development, performing arts, and population. If your organization works in one of these areas, you may be eligible to apply for a Hewlett Foundation grant. The application process is competitive, but with the right preparation, you have a strong chance of securing funding from this prestigious foundation. In this article, you will learn about the eligibility criteria for Hewlett Foundation grants, how to prepare a compelling application, and tips for maximizing your chances of being awarded funding. With over $300 million in grants awarded each year, the Hewlett Foundation is an incredible opportunity for nonprofits to gain significant financial support. Read on to determine if your organization qualifies and how you can make your case for funding.

Overview of the Hewlett Foundation and Their Grant Program

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is a private foundation that provides grants to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. They focus on education, the environment, global development and population, performing arts, and philanthropy, awarding over $400 million in grants each year.

To be eligible for a Hewlett Foundation grant, applicants must be tax-exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the international equivalent. Both U.S.-based and international organizations are encouraged to apply. The Foundation accepts letters of inquiry and proposals throughout the year and there are no deadlines. They aim to notify applicants of decisions within 6 months.

The grant application process begins by submitting a letter of inquiry, which briefly outlines your organization and project. If invited to submit a full proposal, you will need to provide comprehensive details on your organization’s history, mission, objectives, evaluation methods, and project budget. The Foundation evaluates applicants on the merits and impact of the proposed work. They seek to fund new solutions and empower organizations through both short-term project-based and long-term general support grants.

Successful applicants demonstrate strong leadership, governance, and management. They have a track record of achieving meaningful and measurable results, fiscally responsibility, and a commitment to learning and adaptation. The Hewlett Foundation seeks collaborative partners dedicated to openness, rigor, and practical problem solving. If your organization shares these values and priorities, the Hewlett Foundation may be an excellent source of support for your important work.

The Hewlett Foundation Grant

Eligibility Requirements for Hewlett Foundation Grants

To be eligible for a grant from the Hewlett Foundation, applicants must meet several requirements.

Geographic Focus

The Hewlett Foundation only funds organizations based in the United States and developing countries. Priority is given to organizations located in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as those based in Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Organization Type

The Hewlett Foundation provides grants primarily to nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax status, as well as to government agencies and academic institutions. Organizations should have been established for at least five years. The Foundation rarely funds individuals directly.

Program Focus

The Hewlett Foundation’s grantmaking is focused on a set of five core programs: Education, Environment, Global Development and Population, Performing Arts, and Philanthropy. Applicants must demonstrate how their project or initiative aligns with the Foundation’s program goals and strategies. For example, Education grant requests should focus on expanding learning opportunities, supporting teaching, and enabling transparency and accountability.

To be considered for a Hewlett Foundation grant, organizations must meet all eligibility criteria. The Foundation receives many more requests than it can fund, so meeting requirements does not guarantee that an application will be approved. However, by focusing requests on the Foundation’s areas of interest and priority communities, applicants can increase their chances of securing this prestigious funding. Overall, the Hewlett Foundation aims to support visionary leaders and organizations seeking innovative solutions to complex societal problems.

How to Apply for a Hewlett Foundation Grant: The Step-by-Step Process

To apply for a grant from the Hewlett Foundation, follow these steps:

Check Your Eligibility

Review the Foundation’s funding areas and priorities to confirm your organization and project align with their goals. The Hewlett Foundation provides grants for education, environment, global development and population, performing arts, and philanthropy. Meet their basic eligibility criteria, such as being a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Review the Grant Application Process

The Hewlett Foundation has a two-stage application process. First, submit an initial inquiry, which is a short summary of your organization and funding request. If invited, you will be asked to submit a full proposal. Carefully review the Foundation’s guidelines for preparing proposals before applying.

Submit Your Inquiry

Complete the inquiry form on the Foundation’s website with details about your organization, mission, the specific project for which you are seeking funding, and the amount requested. Keep this high-level while expressing how your work aligns with the Foundation’s goals. Submit the inquiry during one of the quarterly review periods.

Develop Your Proposal (If Invited)

Work closely with Foundation staff to determine if your project is a good fit. Be prepared to clarify details about your organization, priorities, and funding needs. If asked to submit a full proposal, follow all instructions and guidelines provided. Proposals are reviewed quarterly, so plan ahead.

Wait for a Decision

The review process typically takes 3 to 6 months. If approved, you will receive an award letter detailing the amount and terms of your grant. If declined, you will receive a notification with an explanation. You may be able to reapply in the future.

Following these steps and ensuring a strong, targeted application will maximize your chances of obtaining a Hewlett Foundation grant. Do thorough research, follow all guidelines, and highlight how your important work promotes the greater good. With perseverance, nonprofits doing meaningful work in the Foundation’s areas of focus have a good opportunity to secure funding.

READ ALSO: Empowering Change: Qualifying for The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Grant and Securing Funding


As you have learned, the Hewlett Foundation offers generous grants to support organizations and individuals pursuing innovative solutions to social and environmental problems. While the application process requires significant time and effort, the potential rewards of receiving funding are substantial. If your organization or project aligns with the Foundation’s goals, applying for a Hewlett grant could be an opportunity to gain recognition, expand your impact, and advance meaningful work. With diligent preparation and a compelling proposal, you have a chance to join the ranks of Hewlett grantees changing the world for the better. The open and transparent application process means anyone with a good idea and commitment to excellence has a shot. So take the time to craft a strong proposal, tell your story, and propose a vision for how a Hewlett Foundation grant could help you make progress on the issues that matter most. You have nothing to lose, and the world has much to gain.


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