In the early 1980s, officers and directors at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation perceived an unfavorable trend in America: an alarming growth of conflicts and disputes, both domestic and international, which society was ill-equipped to handle. In particular, the Foundation felt increased litigation was exerting substantial pressure on the judicial system and the lack of viable alternatives to judicial resolution of conflict was a serious threat.
The Foundation supported conflict resolution programs on a small scale in its first few years, but in 1984 the Foundation established a full-scale conflict resolution funding program. One of the Foundation’s early strategic decisions, before adopting conflict resolution as a major program, was to focus on institution-building rather than support of individual projects, the more common approach among foundations. Much of the Foundation’s grantmaking, across its program areas, had been in the form of large grants over multiyear periods. . . .
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