About the Foundation

The Hugh M. Hefner Foundation was established in 1964 to facilitate individual rights in our democratic society. The primary purpose of the Foundation is to support organizations that advocate and defend civil rights and civil liberties with special emphasis on those working on projects related to First Amendment rights and rational sex and drug policies.

Hugh M. Hefner was one of the first social entrepreneurs.  Soon after he created Playboy magazine, he drafted the Playboy Philosophy to articulate the social goals for his new company.  In 18 installments, Mr. Hefner described the guiding principles of his editorial and personal points-of-view.

Today, the Playboy Philosophy serves as the basis for our philanthropic efforts.  While times have changed since the Playboy Philosophy was originally published, the sentiment described in the credo about our society, its morals, and our desire to see progressive values triumph are as relevant as ever.  As Mr. Hefner stated in an early installment: “Progress necessarily requires the exchange of outdated ideas for new and better ones. By keeping open all lines of communication in our culture, every new idea—no matter how seemingly perverse, improper or peculiar, has its opportunity to be considered, to be challenged, and ultimately to be accepted or rejected by society as a whole or by some small part of it. This is the important advantage that a free society has over a totalitarian, for in a free exchange of ideas, the best will ultimately win out.”  We hope the projects and ideas that the foundation supports receive vigorous debate in our democratic nation and lead to expansive civil rights and civil liberties as well as broad application of the First Amendment and rational sex and drug policies.

The foundation strives to embody the ideals described in Mr. Hefner’s Playboy Philosophy through its support of a variety of nonprofit organizations committed to individual rights in American society. We are a private foundation largely funded by contributions from Mr. Hefner and Playboy Enterprises, Inc. We look forward to celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2014.

More information about Mr. Hefner can be found in his biography. In addition, announcements and upcoming events will be posted on the News page of this web site.  Details about letters of inquiry and proposal procedures are below.


If you are seeking support for the first time or if you are a returning grantee seeking support for a new project, we recommend that you send us a letter of inquiry before you submit a full proposal. This allows us to give you preliminary feedback concerning your request and its potential fit within our funding priorities. Letters of inquiry should include a brief description of the proposed project and a project budget.


While proposals may vary in length, we prefer proposals that adhere to the procedures described below. We do not use any formal grant applications, however, concise proposals are appreciated. Generally, we make one-year, one-time grants and consider each grantee and program in the context of our current programmatic goals. The proposal should include:

  1. A brief history of the organization, including its primary purpose and goals
  2. A project description including: a statement of the issue to be addressed and a description of how the planned project will address the issue with clearly stated goals or objectives
  3. Plans for assessing performance and monitoring progress toward program goals
  4. An income and expense budget for the project explained in an accompanying brief budget narrative
  5. A list of current and projected funding sources and amounts for the project, for the fiscal year in which the project will take place
  6. A copy of the organization’s most recent audited financial report
  7. A list of board members and their affiliations
  8. A list of professional staff or key personnel involved in the project
  9. A copy of the organization’s tax exemption letter from the Internal Revenue Service