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.