HMH Foundation

About the Foundation

Protestors rally at a demonstration for civil rights in 2020
Hef and Ella Fitzgerald on the Playboy’s Penthouse set in 1968

“We believe that a society that emphasizes the individual and [their] freedom, is based upon reason, and has happiness at its aim, is an ideal society and one to be strived for.” - Hugh M. Hefner

Hugh M. Hefner established the Foundation in 1964 to embolden those who rebelled against outdated viewpoints and pushed forward new ones. Today, the HMH Foundation supports and funds today’s pioneers defending civil rights and liberties, with special emphasis on First Amendment rights and rational sex and drug policies. Progressive values triumph when all voices and expressions are heard and celebrated.

The Foundation promotes groups and ideas that incentivize vigorous debate in our democratic society and echo Hef’s philosophy of a culture unafraid to challenge viewpoints that exclude certain communities. To advance this, the Foundation has provided funding for organizations including:

the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the Marijuana Policy Project, FIRE, the Kinsey Project, People for the American Way and many others.

It recently provided a grant to Brandeis University to make the Lenny Bruce Archives publicly available and preserve his material, which boldly challenged restrictions on freedom of speech in the mid-1900s.

The Foundation also proudly sponsors the annual HMH First Amendment Awards, which Christie Hefner introduced in 1979. The awards honor contemporary heroes who fearlessly don the mantle of rebel and role model; they have recognized over 150 visionaries to date, including high school students, journalists and educators.