Packard Foundation slashes staff, grants

By Ian Stewart
Saturday September 21, 2002


SAN FRANCISCO — A pillar of the U.S. philanthropic scene, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation may cut up to half its staff and reduce its nonprofit grant programs for next year, a foundation spokesman said Friday. 

For the second year in a row, the foundation will slash its grant program, though not as dramatically as in 2002, said foundation spokesman Chris DeCardy. 

The 2003 budget will be slashed by $50 million. In 2000, the foundation handed out more than $616 million. That was cut to $450 million in 2001, and again cut by $200 million for 2002. 

“We saw tremendous expansion in the 1980s and knew it had to plateau,” DeCardy said. 

Money for grants typically comes from the endowment earnings, leaving it to the whim of the stock market, he said, adding that the impact of the latest cutbacks will be felt internally more than in the grant programs. 

The Los Altos-based foundation has been among the country’s most prominent grant makers. With its future made uncertain by diminishing endowment funds, however, the organization is redirecting its mission and consolidating its grant programs. 

“We need to narrow the range of our work to keep depth in what programs we’re keeping,” DeCardy said.