About the Foundation

What does the Foundation do and why is it important?

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation works with partners around the world for social, cultural, and environmental change designed to improve the lives of children, families, and communities. Learn more about the Foundation.

What is a family foundation? How does it work?

A family foundation is one whose funds are derived from members of a single family. At least one family member, but usually more, serves as an officer or board member of the foundation. The family members play a significant role in governing and/or managing the foundation throughout its life. Family foundations tend to reflect the personal concerns of the individual families that govern them. Grantmaking areas and the way funding is granted vary widely from one family foundation to the next. Learn more about family philanthropy from the Council on Foundations.

Where does the money for the Foundation come from?

To establish the Foundation in 1964, David and Lucile Packard set aside an original endowment of $100,000. An additional portion of the family’s estate was also donated to the Foundation upon the passing of our founders. This money has been invested and strategically managed to ensure that the Foundation is able to honor the legacy of David and Lucile Packard and continue their important work long into the future. Learn more about our Investments Objectives and Endowment History.

Is the Foundation connected to HP, the technology company?

While David and Lucile Packard played important roles in founding Hewlett-Packard (now known as HP) and establishing the success of the technology company, they created the David and Lucile Packard Foundation as a completely separate entity to help direct their family’s philanthropic activities.

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation remains unaffiliated with HP, the technology company. Less than five percent of the Foundation’s endowment is currently held in HP or Agilent (a spinoff of HP) stock. Learn more about our investments and finances.

Is the Foundation’s endowment still invested all in HP stock?

No. The Foundation did have a long history of keeping our endowment invested in HP and Agilent (a spinoff of HP) stock as our Founders felt a deep connection and responsibility to the company that had helped make them personally successful. However, in 2003, the Packard Foundation’s Board of Trustees authorized the diversification of the Foundation’s two-stock portfolio to reduce the risk of volatility. The Foundation now has a chief investment officer who works with the Investment Committee to guide the Foundation in ensuring that we have the appropriate investment staff, structure, and priorities that align with the Foundation’s history, mission, and values. Learn more about our Investments and Finances.

Have the continuing effects from the 2008 recession impacted the Foundation?

While the economy continues to present us with challenges, we remain committed to our partners and continue to look for ways that we can make the most of long-term investments to meet our strategic goals. Like other sectors, the significant economic downturn has impacted our grantees’ resources, as well as our own. We are continuing to work with our grantees on the challenges they face, offering flexibility in grant requirements, and, as best we can, through our Organizational Effectiveness and Program-Related Investments programs.

How We Operate

How does the Foundation work with businesses or the government?

We work in many ways to advance a diversity of ideas, people, operations, and strategies. This means collaborating with a variety of organizations, including public charities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs); peer foundations and other funders; private businesses; educational institutions; and often, government agencies at all levels.

Foundations aren’t allowed to lobby, yet much of the Packard Foundation’s work is focused on advocating for policy changes at both the state and federal levels. Isn’t that lobbying?

No. To increase the impact of our efforts, we support initiatives that provide research, analysis, information, and education to the general public and policymakers about issues. The Foundation does not engage in lobbying or fund attempts to influence specific legislation or ballot measures.We also do not provide funding for projects that benefit specific individuals or that serve religious purposes, as per IRS rules governing family foundations.

How are foundations regulated?

In the United States, the federal government (IRS) requires that family foundations:

  • Pay out at least 5 percent of their endowment annually.
  • Pay an excise tax of 1 or 2 percent on their earnings.
  • Ensure that grant dollars are used for a charitable purpose.

State governments also have oversight of foundations. There are a wide variety of foundation types, in addition to family foundations. To learn more, visit the Council on Foundations.

Our Grantmaking

Why does the Foundation focus on its particular grantmaking areas?

The Foundation’s grantmaking programs reflect a focus on the issues our founders David and Lucile Packard cared about most: improving the lives of children, enabling the creative pursuit of science, advancing reproductive health, and restoring the earth’s natural systems. Learn more about what we fund.

In what geographic areas does the Foundation make grants?

The Packard Foundation makes grants in a wide variety of regions around the globe, depending on the program area:

Conservation and Science: Worldwide

Population and Reproductive Health: Worldwide, with area of focus in the United States, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa

Children, Families, and Communities: California and nationally

Local Grantmaking: San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito counties in California; and Pueblo, Colorado

Organizational Effectiveness: Worldwide

Program-Related Investments: Worldwide

Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering: United States

How do you know if your grants are making a difference?

We are committed to being good financial stewards and to evaluating the effectiveness of our grantmaking. We have no single system of evaluation. Our approach for evaluating a specific grant or initiative is determined by the needs of priority audiences and the objectives of the program itself. Learn more about our evaluation principles

How does the Foundation decide its funding priorities?

As a family foundation, our grantmaking programs reflect a focus on the issues our founders cared about most: improving the lives of children, enabling the creative pursuit of science, advancing reproductive health, and restoring the earth’s natural systems.  Each program area has dedicated staff with deep experience in grantmaking, who develop subprogram strategies within the broader areas with specific objectives and time horizons.  Our Board and senior leadership work in concert to ensure that we invest in areas that are consistent with our values and our founders’ interests.

How does the Foundation determine which nonprofit organizations to support?

The secret of David and Lucile’s success in business guides our approach to philanthropy: We invest in strong leaders and organizations, collaborate with them to identify the most effective solutions, and give them the freedom and support they need to take risks on approaches that have the greatest potential to create lasting change.

Our specific selection process for awarding grants varies by program, so it is best to first explore our website for more information about our programs. Not all programs accept unsolicited proposals, so please read each program’s “How to Get Support” section carefully.

Are applications for funding referred to other programs in the Foundation if they are not a fit for one program but could potentially align with another?

Typically, no. Before applying, please read each program’s “How to Get Support” section and review its recent grantees to ensure that your organization applying to the most relevant program. We may forward applications to other programs if we feel the fit is particularly strong.

Our Commitments

What is the relationship between the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Monterey Bay Aquarium?

The Monterey Bay Aquarium was a personal gift to the community by David and Lucile Packard.  They gave an estimated $55 million to help found the institution, which opened its doors in 1984.  Two of the Packard’s daughters have also been instrumental in founding and operating the Aquarium.  Nancy Burnett, who conducted her graduate work in marine biology at Stanford University, helped inspire its establishment, and Julie Packard, who majored in marine algae studies at U.C. Santa Cruz, currently serves as its Executive Director.

The Aquarium is a nonprofit organization funded by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation, and while it operates as a completely separate organization, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation occasionally provides funding for various projects.

What is the relationship between the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)?

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) was founded by David Packard in 1987 to create a world-class center for advanced research and education in ocean science and technology. Today, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation provides 75 percent of MBARI’s operating budget with some overlap on governance procedures, like annual audits.

What is the relationship between the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH)?

In 1986, David and Lucile Packard donated $40 million for the construction of a new facility to house the children’s hospital at Stanford University. The facility was ultimately named in memory of Mrs. Lucile Salter Packard, who was heavily involved in the design of the hospital and passed away before the hospital opened. Significant funding to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital continues to be provided by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

What is the relationship between the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Lucile Salter Packard Foundation for Children’s Health (LPFCH)?

Though we honor the legacy of our shared namesake, there is no formal relationship between the two foundations. The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health is an independent public charity and was named for Mrs. Lucile Salter Packard in honor of her lifelong commitment to the well-being of children.

What is the relationship between the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Packard Humanities Institute?

The Packard Humanities Institute operates independently of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The Institute was established by David W. Packard, the son of David and Lucile Packard in 1987 to create tools for basic research in the humanities and to foster public interest in history, literature, and music.

Our Green Headquarters

Why did the Packard Foundation choose to build a LEED Platinum, net zero energy building?

For nearly 50 years, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation has supported organizations and leaders working to protect and restore the ecosystems for a world where all families can plan for their children, and all children reach their potential. The new building is a physical manifestation of our long-term commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions around the world and aligns us even more closely with the important work our grantees do every day.

Our most important goal for the building was to create a comfortable and healthful space for our employees to work collaboratively. And we also wanted to support a vital downtown in the Los Altos community which has been home to the Foundation since our beginning. With the help of our project managers, architects and builder, we were able to show that it is possible, with existing technologies, to implement an environmentally-friendly design that is also comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.  As a way to document our journey, the Foundation commissioned a case study, “Sustainability in Practice: Building and Running 343 Second Street.”  We hope that sharing what we learned in designing, constructing and operating our high-tech, green headquarters will inspire others to join us in building the possibility of a better future.

Is the headquarters certified as LEED Platinum and Net Zero Energy?

Yes, the building was certified as LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council in October 2012, achieving 94 points out of 110 total possible. In September 2013, after its first full year of operation, the building was granted Net Zero Energy Building certification by the International Living Future Institute. At 49,000 square feet, the Foundation’s headquarters is currently the largest Net Zero Energy Certified building in the world.

How does this tie in with the grantmaking of the Foundation in Conservation and Science? Do you plan to make grants for green building projects?

Presently, we have no plans to add a grantmaking strategy related to green buildings. We have many grantees and partners that drive our environmental work at the ecosystem, city, and family levels, and the Foundation will continue to invest in these types of projects. At the same time, we believe our new building brings us into closer alignment with the values of our founders and our mission to restore and protect the environment.

When did the Foundation first occupy the new building?

Foundation staff moved in on July 9, 2012.

Who led the architecture, design, and construction of this project?

The overall project was managed by Rhodes/Dahl, based in Charleston, South Carolina, that previously served as the owner representative for the design and construction of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The lead architect for this project was EHDD Architecture, a nationally recognized San Francisco-based firm and a leader in the design and construction of sustainable buildings. The firm responsible for construction of the site was DPR Construction. Integral Group took the lead on all of the mechanical systems. If you are interested in learning more about the Foundation’s process for planning, designing and operating the building, please download the case study, “Sustainability in Practice:  Building and Running 343 Second Street.”

Who designed the landscaping for the building?

The landscaping was designed by Joni L. Janecki & Associates, Inc. (JLJA)  Our goals were to create a landscape that is beautiful, water-efficient, cares for local ecosystems and integrates with the existing Los Altos landscaping. JLJA created a landscape that is made up of 90% California native plantings in order to eliminate pesticides needed by foreign plants. The native plantings provide familiar food and shelter for local birds and insects and attract native pollinators.  Rain gardens and permeable paving are used throughout in order to reduce runoff and filter pollutants. To learn more about the landscaping, please view the slide show.

How much did the new building cost?

Among builders and developers, a common term is “replicable warm shell” (variants include “vanilla shell”, “cold shell” or even “warm shell”). In our case, the costs of replicable shell are $23.5 million ($477 per sq. ft.) and include such things as the roof, walls, windows, heating, cooling, plumbing, elevator, solar panels, etc. We expect that this replicable shell would attain net zero energy and LEED certification.

Added to this replicable shell are a variety of tenant improvements, including Packard-specific external and internal finishes, as well as site-specific preparations (e.g., rain gardens along Second Street to help capture storm water runoff), and deconstruction activities (e.g., recycling approximately 95 percent of the materials from the previous buildings). Taken together, these building construction costs total $37.2 million ($756 per sq. ft.), an approximate estimate of how much it could cost for a builder to re-create our facility in a similarly-situated location.

Can the public and/or Packard Foundation grantees request to use 343 Second Street for meetings?

343 Second Street was designed as a facility for Foundation offices and staff and while this facility can accommodate meetings of Foundation personnel and their business guests, it was not designed specifically as a conference venue. Because the Foundation does not employ sufficient staff to accommodate meetings and events hosted by groups other than the Foundation and the building’s net zero energy goals are dependent on maintaining regular operating hours (M-F, 8:30a-5:00p), we will refrain from offering the use of 343 for events that predominantly benefit third parties, unless approved by the Foundation CEO. Events that will be accommodated must substantially relate to Packard Foundation business and be sponsored by Packard Foundation programs or departments.

However, in accordance with Mr. Packard’s wishes, Taaffe House, the former Packard family home, was remodeled for use as a meeting and conference facility. It is appropriately staffed and configured to accommodate meetings and therefore, serves as the Foundation’s primary conference center for use by staff, grantees, and selected community groups. To inquire about the use of Taaffe House, please email inquiries@packard.org.

How is the Foundation achieving net zero energy?

A net zero energy building produces as much or more energy than it consumes on an annual basis. A building the size of 343 Second Street, at approximately 50,000 square feet, typically uses around 725 MWh/yr (megawatt hours per year). During the first year of operation, ending in July 2013, the building’s 915 photovoltaic solar panels produced 418 hours of electricity, while consuming only 351 MWh and returning 67 MWh to the utility electric grid.  In order to achieve this, the Foundation’s staff  reduced our plug loads and lighting each by 30 percent through energy efficient equipment and occupancy sensors and reduced our HVAC using a chilled beam system.

How is the Foundation monitoring the building's performance goals?

To carefully manage our electricity consumption and the comfort of employees, the building is equipped with nearly 15,000 monitoring and control points. The building automation system allows our building engineer to diagnose problems and to monitor and control everything from interior and exterior blinds, to plug loads, lighting, the heating and ventilation system and electric vehicle charging stations. The building engineer also has the ability to monitor water usage and rainwater recapture.

Is there a list of vendors and materials used?

Yes, there is a list of our key vendors and materials. For a more complete list of products, vendors and their green attributes, please contact Julie Wrighton at DPR Construction juliew@dpr.com.

Is there a plant list available?

Here is a list of plants and trees that were planted on the 343 Second Street property and surrounding visitor and employee parking lots. Ninety percent of the plants are native to California and the local area and were also sourced within 500 miles. The live oak tree in front of the building was grown from an acorn in Clear Lake, California and is now 25 years old. Planted around the property, in the green street landscaping, is the western columbine, which was one of Lucile Packard’s favorite flowers.

Our use of native plants reduces pollution directly by providing oxygen and lowering the amount of local carbon dioxide; provides familiar food and shelter to local wildlife; and attracts native pollinators. Native plants do not require the excessive amount of water and toxic chemicals needed to grow non-native species.

How was the energy graph's predicted trend line created?

To estimate what it was going to take for our 49,000 sq. ft. building to reach net zero energy, we compiled ten years of weather data coupled with statistics on the amount of energy we were expected to produce from our solar panels, as well as the energy graph consumption for a typical building this size. Energy consumption was calculated by monitoring and taking inventory of the Foundation’s actual energy consumption in our previous headquarters. This information was used to prepare an energy study that proposed reductions or eliminations of certain equipment and re-specification of other types to make sure the Foundation was using the most efficient models on the market. The next step was to take the hours of consumption along with the inventoried plug loads to predict total energy consumption for the new headquarters building. The consumption projection was added to the production projection to develop the net energy prediction.

Why does the energy graph fluctuate throughout the course of the year, with the lowest predicted point in April?

Net zero energy is calculated on an annual basis and is dependent on the amount of energy that is produced from our solar panels. Because the sun isn’t always shining throughout the winter and spring months, the graph’s curves are depicting the trends based on the seasonality of the local area.

Think of our energy production and consumption as a bank where we make deposits and withdrawals. From August to November we were depositing energy into the bank. Then from November to April we were withdrawing from our account to get us through the winter before we start to deposit again. Our goal is to end at or above the 0 (net zero energy) line.

Why does the energy graph's actual trend line start with elongated tangent lines and then move to more precise lines in February?

There are multiple ways that the Foundation is tracking our energy production and consumption. One way is through our PG&E utility bills and another way is through our own internal monitoring systems. This allows for a “checks and balances” process to ensure that the data we are tracking is accurate. When the Foundation first opened its doors, we were still calibrating our internal systems and therefore were dependent on our PG&E bills for tracking, which we received monthly. This accounts for the initial elongated lines from July to January. Starting in February, we switched to the internal systems which give us detailed daily data to track the building’s performance.

In the energy graph, why is volume under the positive curve smaller than the volume under the negative curve - shouldn't they be equal?

The graph curves the way it does because of the time of year we started tracking the building’s net zero energy performance. The volume above or below 0 does not depict a balance between production and consumption, it shows the balance of energy supplied to or borrowed from the PG&E power grid over our net zero year of July 17th 2012 to July 17th 2013. When the line is above 0 it indicates we are a net zero producer of energy, when the line is below 0, as in the winter months that means we are “borrowing” energy from PG&E. At the end of the year, if the line is at or above 0 that means we have met or exceeded the net zero energy goal for that year. If the net zero year were to start in April, then the building would most likely never be “in debt” to PG&E for energy.