William and Flora Hewlett Foundation: Grants for Global Health

OVERVIEW: The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation supports projects related to sexual and reproductive health and rights, with an eye on women's empowerment. 

IP TAKE: Hewlett heavily funds reproductive health rights advocacy and research to inform policymaking, rather than those focused on health care delivery services. This is also an unusually accessible and transparent funder that appreciates expertise and data for shaping policy.

PROFILE: The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is one of the biggest foundations in the U.S. It prioritizes reproductive health and rights in its global grantmaking, particularly in countries where progress in this area has been stifled by archaic laws and outdated policies. Through its Global Development and Population program, Hewlett supports organizations both large and small that improve the health of women, children, and families living in vulnerable areas. Overall, the program seeks to "[e]xpand women's reproductive and economic choices, amplify citizen participation and improve policymaking through evidence."

Although its related global health work extends to all of sub-Saharan Africa, the foundation's main areas of regional focus are East and West Africa. 

With considerable resources at its disposal, as well as a desire to change the course of history through female empowerment, Hewlett is relatively generous with its grantees, awarding about $100,000 on average, but it also makes much larger grants to ambitious and well-planned projects.  

The foundation regularly posts calls for proposals, but it is also proactive in its grantmaking reaching out to potential grantees who align with Hewlett's goals. Hewlett rarely funds projects received through unsolicited proposals, but it reads all inquiries and replies when ideas look promising. This is an unusually accessible and transparent funder. 

The foundation often engages with grant seekers who are referred by existing grantees. So grant seekers looking to get in the door here, and whose work is a good fit, need to find somebody who can make an introduction.


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