Packard Foundation: Grants for Climate Change

OVERVIEW: The Packard Foundation predominately invests in the climate, ocean, land, science, population and reproductive health, and agriculture & livelihoods. 

IP TAKE: The David and Lucile Packard Foundation addresses climate change from a variety of perspectives, which increases the possible points of entry for creative organizations who understand how their own work connects with Packard's funding agenda. 

PROFILE: Established in 1964, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation seeks to improve "the lives of children, families, and communities—and restoring and protecting our planet." David Packard, a former Deputy Secretary of Defense and Stanford University board trustee, and his wife Lucile both worked closely to build and operate Hewlett-Packard, and later founded the Packard Foundation, which reflects their longtime passion for philanthropy. It invests in young people, reproductive health, conservation, oceans, science, and the environment, among several other concerns.

Led by respected scientist and conservationist Walt Reid, Packard primarily conducts its climate program through the ClimateWorks Foundation and its network of global partners. The program is interested in reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the next 10 years, which it views as essential to stabilizing the climate. Reid often supports efforts to get science out of the lab and into decision-makers’ hands. 

One of Packard’s main grantees for climate change is the ClimateWorks Foundation, as Packard was one of the three foundations that originally helped formulate and launch the funding initiative. From 2010 to 2013, Packard awarded ClimateWorks over $245 million in grants. Earlier ClimateWorks grants were awarded for general operating support. In 2012 and 2013 Packard’s grantmaking to the foundation became more focused, as both of Packard’s $66.1 million grants in those years went toward the support of ClimateWorks’ greenhouse gas emissions reduction and climate change programs. 

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation's other big partnership is the Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA), which coordinates funding among four foundations to approach the problem of resource use through areas such as forest protection and agriculture. Through the CLUA collaboration, Packard’s has supported of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. agriculture to which it’s devoted $9 million in recent years. Other CLUA members include big climate change funders such as ClimateWorks, Ford Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. 

Grants tend to range from $50,000 to $150,000; typically fewer than 10 grants reach the $1 million or higher mark. ClimateWorks tends to receive 40 percent to 60 percent of Packard's overall climate funding. However, Packard funds smaller organizations, such as the the Alliance for Climate Education and Climate Advisors, Inc.  for education and communication campaigns. Exploring Packard's grants database may give new grantees an idea on how to get their own foot in the door. A list of previous grants is available here.

While the foundation does not accept unsolicited applications, any grant seeker who has an idea or project that fits in with foundation's climate-change strategy is welcome to send a note to the program officer. If the foundation is interested, grantseekers will receive an invitation to submit a complete proposal. Just bear in mind that, due to limited funds, the competition for new funding is going to be high.


  • Walt Reid, Director, Conservation and Science

  • Belinda Morris, Program Officer, Climate and Land use under Conservation and Science