Playboy Foundation

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"Since 1965, the Playboy Foundation has recognized advocates for First Amendment rights, supported socially aware documentary filmmakers and encouraged programs upholding civil rights and civil liberties by giving over $20 million in cash grants, contributions and in-kind services to nonprofit organizations throughout the United States. " [1]

Feminist writer, Catharine A. MacKinnon, writes that:

"The Playboy Foundation gives money to feminists the way a pimp does a prostitute: at desperate moments, just enough to keep you hooked and in line, never enough so you don't need to crawl back for more, never enough so you don't have to worry all the time about how he will see who you are and what you do, buying gratitude and loyalty way out of proportion to the amount of money, in part because so little is involved that the relation that money maintains is dependence. You are doing the work and he isn't, but you never get enough money not to need him anymore." [2]

Some Grantees

"Throughout the 1980s, the Reproductive Biology Research Foundation, directed by William Masters and Virginia Johnson received grants from the Playboy Foundation to develop a training program for health care professionals in the treatment of sexual dysfunction...

"In 1993, the Playboy Foundation partnered with the Sundance Institute to create the Freedom of Expression Award to recognize the documentary film that best informs and educates the public on an issue of social concern. " [3] Funded films

Board (2000)

"The Playboy Foundation is governed by a board of directors made up of employees who are senior managers in the company, including the company Chairman and CEO Christie Hefner; the Foundation’s first executive director, Burton Joseph, who now serves as chairman of the board of directors; and its current executive director, Cleo Wilson...

"Our grantmaking process is fairly easy and straightforward. The executive director, who reads the proposal and watches the rough-cut, makes most decisions regarding media grants. For larger grants, the Board of Directors get involved: Christie Hefner, Chairman & CEO, Playboy Enterprises, Inc. (P.E.I.); Burton Joseph, Chairman, Board of Directors, Playboy Foundation; Richard Rosenzweig, Executive Vice-President, P.E.I.; Howard Shapiro, Executive Vice-President Law & Administration, P.E.I.; Cindy P. Rakowitz, Vice-President, Public Relations & Promotions, P.E.I.; David Walker, Editorial Director, International Publishing, P.E.I.; Jeffrey M. Jenest, Executive Vice-President, Playboy Entertainment Group; and James R. Petersen, Senior Staff Writer, Playboy Magazine. The only person on the board with real expertise in filmmaking is Jeffrey Jenest, Executive VP for the Playboy Entertainment Group, which produces adult programming for Playboy TV networks, DVD, and DTH. The rest of us are just film buffs." [4]


  • James R. Petersen, The Century of Sex: Playboy's History of the Sexual Revolution, 1900-1999 (Grove, 1999).
  • Steven Watts, Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).
  • Elizabeth Fraterrigo, Playboy and the Making of the Good Life in Modern America (OUP USA, 2009).
  • Carrie Pitzulo, Bachelors and Bunnies: The Sexual Politics of Playboy (University of Chicago Press, 2011).
  • Carrie Pitzulo, "The Battle in Every Man's Bed: Playboy and the Fiery Feminists", Journal of the History of Sexuality, Volume 17, Number 2, May 2008, pp. 259-289.

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. About, Playboy Foundation, accessed November 19, 2011.
  2. Catharine A. MacKinnon, Feminism unmodified: discourses on life and law (Harvard University Press, 1987), p.142.
  3. Grants, Playboy Foundation, accessed November 19, 2011.
  4. The Playboy Foundation, independent-magazine, accessed November 19, 2011.