Hewlett’s State of Mind

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Yet another foundation appearing poised to look right past statewide child and youth advocacy organizations in favor of national groups is the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (assets: $4.2 billion) in Menlo Park, Calif. Lawyer Mike Wald, a veteran stalwart of progressive youth causes, was hired in May 2000 to expand the foundation’s youth interests beyond its traditional bailiwick of conflict resolution, education, reproductive health, family and community development. Backed with an anticipated annual grant-making budget of $20 million, Wald’s two-year inquiry into the social problems of youth is finally coming to an end.
Subject to board approval in October, Wald’s grant-making will be “focusing on 14- to 24-year-old out-of-school, high-risk youth.”

As Hewlett’s “process continues,” says Wald, a few groups have already gotten grants. Among them are two D.C.-based outfits: Child Trends, directed by Kristen Moore, for research work; and the National Youth Employment Coalition, directed by David Brown, which received $60,000 to thwart the Bush administration’s requested $300 million in cuts in the Work Force Investment Act and the Youth Opportunities Grants program managed by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Wald expects funding guidelines to be out in the late fall with grant awards to begin in early 2003. Wald, says someone who has been in meetings with him, has become extraordinarily knowledgeable about out-of-school and unemployed teens and young adults. But addressing those needs through state-level grant-making is at best marginal to Wald’s current thinking. Still, says Wald, “anything [the Hewlett Foundation does] will include an advocacy component.” Hired in April to work with Wald and former Clinton-era Deputy Secretary of Education Mike Smith at Hewlett is Jorge Ruiz Velasco, who was formerly with the D.C.-based Urban Institute. Contact: (650) 234-4500, http://www.hewlett.org