Paul Brest

President, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation,
Strategic Philanthropy: In Good Times and Bad

March 26, 2009


The USC Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy closed its 2008-09 Distinguished Speakers Series with an address from Paul Brest on March 26, 2009. An integral part of the Center’s work and its mission is to provide a forum for bringing together leaders in the philanthropic, nonprofit, policy, and business communities to consider the promise and potential of philanthropy for public problem solving, and what it takes to realize those aspirations.

Paul Brest is the President of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in Menlo Park, California, a position he has held since 2000. From 1987 to 1999, Mr. Brest served as the dean of Stanford Law School where he spearheaded the expansion of the School’s curriculum in business, environmental law, high technology, and negotiation, and led a $115 million capital campaign.

Mr. Brest’s research and teaching have focused on constitutional law and decision making. His writings in constitutional law include articles on constitutional interpretation, race discrimination, and affirmative action. He served as law clerk to Judge Bailey Aldrich and Supreme Court Justice John M. Harlan, and practiced with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., in Jackson, Mississippi, doing civil rights litigation. Mr. Brest has been a visiting professor at Yale Law School, and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

Together with Hal Harvey, Mr. Brest is co-author of Money Well Spent: A Strategic Guide to Smart Philanthropy (Bloomberg Press, 2008). He is also co-author of Problem Solving, Decision Making, and Professional Judgment (forthcoming Oxford University Press, 2010). He teaches a course on Judgment and Decisionmaking in the Public Policy Program at Stanford.

Stategic Philanthropy: In Good Times and Bad (PDF)