Maximizing the Value of Philanthropic Efforts through Planned Partnerships between the U.S. Government and Private Foundations. C. Interactions

The Hewlett Foundation acknowledges that while it is one of the countrys largest private foundations, its funding accounts for a small share of global philanthropic spending, particularly if government expenditures are included. The Foundations president recognizes that Hewlett operates in a social and economic space with many other actors. Noting the different types of interaction that may be possible, he adds: Merely being aware of their presence creates opportunities to coordinate resources to achieve common ends. And in some circumstances, actual collaboration can significantly increase the participants impact in addressing social problems (Brest 2006).

In addition to numerous collaborations with other private foundations, Hewlett also interacts with U.S. government efforts. Although the financial resources of the government far exceed the Foundations, Hewlett can help governments undertake projects that they might find difficult to tackle alone (Brest 2006). The framework of strategic grant-making forces the Foundation to consider where its funds can have the greatest impact. With relatively limited resources, it looks to invest in areas where the Foundation can leverage other resources or alter the activity of larger players, potentially governments.

The actual nature of the interaction with the U.S. government can take many different formsall with potentially high expected returns. In the past, Hewlett has co-funded programs with the government. For example, Hewlett and the National Institute for Child Health and Development recently co-funded a program on population and the environment. The Foundation also provides funding for new, unproven endeavors that could be adopted by the U.S. government once proof of concept is demonstrated. In other cases, Hewlett complements existing activity by funding related programs not eligible to receive government funding. For example, the population program has supplemented PEPFAR by providing funding for family planning.

 

Endnotes

[1] Ashoka labels the nonprofit or nongovernmental sector as the citizen sector to focus on the essential role of individual citizens (and to label the sector for what it is, not what it is not).
[2] The name Ashoka was chosen to honor a leader who unified the Indian subcontinent in the 3rd century B.C., renouncing violence and dedicating his life to social welfare and economic development ([http://www.ashoka.org/facts], accessed 2/2/09).
[3] The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria is an international public-private partnership created in 2002 to finance global programs to fight the three diseases.
[4] PATH is an international nonprofit organization addressing health, and was formerly known as the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health.
[5] See http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2003538739gatesbush17.html.
[6] The evaluation was named winner of the Health Services Research Impact Award for 2009. AcademyHealth, a nonprofit public policy organization, announced the award, which recognizes outstanding examples of the positive impact of research on health policy or practice, at its National Health Policy Conference on February 2, 2009.
[7] PEPFARs funding was reauthorized in 2008, through a bill which authorized up to $48 billion to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria (H.R. 5501, the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde U.S. Global Leadership against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008).

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