Maximizing the Value of Philanthropic Efforts through Planned Partnerships between the U.S. Government and Private Foundations. William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Expected Return Metric: Innovation in Decision-Making


The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, one of the nations largest family foundations, awarded almost $500 million in grants in 2007. The Foundation makes grants in education, the environment, global development, performing arts, and population. The Foundation also has special programs to advance the field of philanthropy and support disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A key tool in the Foundations decision-making processes is the expected return metric, a quantitative measure used for comparing potential investments. While the United States government could potentially adopt a similar metric to aid decision-making, respondents from Hewlett expressed concern that the constraints faced by many government agencies might impede such adoption.

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