A Public Resource Compiled by the

David and Lucile Packard Foundation

343 Second Street Los Altos, CA 94022 USA
501c3 nonprofit

Key People

  • Carol S. Larson President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Chris DeCardy Vice President and Director of Programs
  • Craig Neyman Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
  • Julie E. Packard Vice Chairman
David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Established in 1964 by Hewlett-Packard co-founder David Packard, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation contributes millions of dollars to environmental causes each year. The foundation doesn’t take a public stance on agricultural biotechnology, though some of the foundation’s staff are affiliated with the organic food industry. Juli Chamberlin, an associate with the foundation’s Conservation and Science Program, was previously employed by the Organic Farming Research Foundation, which advocates for “widespread adoption of organic farming systems.” Chris DeCardy, the foundation’s vice president and director of programs, previously served as executive director of Environmental Media Services (EMS), a nonprofit that publicized campaigns against crop biotechnology.

Before it shut its doors, EMS was affiliated with Fenton Communications, a public relations firm that promotes anti-GMO messaging for the Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Food Safety (both Packard grantees) and the organic-industry funded Just Label It campaign. EMS was founded by Arlie Schardt, former executive director of  Environmental Defense Fund, another Packard Foundation grantee.

The Packard Foundation says it doesn’t engage in lobbying. However, it acknowledges financial support for political “advocacy activities that grantees may engage in.” These grantees include groups that publicly oppose GMOs. In September 2018, for instance, Packard foundation grantee Friends of the Earth released a report claiming to show that gene-editing technology threatens human health and could wreak “ genetic havoc” when gene-edited plants and animals are released into the natural environment. Most experts embrace gene editing as an important innovation in agriculture and argue the technology poses little risk to human health or the environment.

Between 2000 and 2010 the foundation also gave $78 million to Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and other nonprofits to campaign against the introduction of GMO AquAdvantage salmon. These lobbying efforts delayed the introduction of the genetically-modified fish in Canada until the summer of 2017.


Financial Data


Annual Revenue: $7,655,139 (2017)

Major Recipients (total contributions 2012-present)

Multiplier $4,882,075

Tides Center  $4,089,000

Greenpeace $3,556,000

Environmental Defense Fund $2,750,000

Surfrider Foundation $1,344,000

Natural Resources Defense Council $1,250,000

Rainforest Action Network $1,000,000

Spitfire Strategies $610,000

Friends of the Earth $600,000

Dogwood Alliance $550,000

Environmental Working Group $350,000

Union of Concerned Scientists $300,000

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Note that there are three “levels” of both donors and recipients.

Donations to advocacy groups are sometimes designated to support a specific cause, such as organic agriculture or mitigating climate change. There is no way for us to know from publicly-available documents on what the money will be spent, as we can only see the total amount donated. When we assign the levels below to donors and recipients, we assume that all donations are available to the recipient for all advocacy, including anti-GMO advocacy.

  • Level 1: Donates primarily to dedicated anti-GMO organizations
  • Level 2: A large portion of donations go to anti-GMO organizations; some donations go to organizations without a position on GMOs
  • Level 3: A small portion of donations go to anti-GMO organizations
    * Most donations go to organizations without a formal position on GMOs but which have aligned themselves with anti-GMO activists

For Level 1 recipients, all donations are used for anti-GMO advocacy. For Level 2 and 3 recipients, we don’t know how much of each donation is used for anti-GMO advocacy.

  • Level 1: Dedicated to anti-GMO advocacy
  • Level 2: Involved in anti-GMO advocacy along with other causes
  • Level 3: No specific anti-GMO advocacy, but general support
    * Organizations without a formal position on GMOs but which have aligned themselves with anti-GMO activists
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