Jim Canales was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine Foundation in 2003. Prior to that appointment, he served as Vice President and Corporate Secretary for the Foundation from 1999 to 2003, providing oversight for Irvine's grantmaking, communications and evaluation activities. Jim's service at Irvine began in 1993 and has included roles as Special Assistant to the President, Program Officer and Chief Administrative Officer. During his tenure as President, the Foundation has taken a more targeted approach in its grantmaking programs, focusing its resources on three areas — Arts, California Democracy and Youth — of critical significance to California’s future.
A graduate of Stanford University with an undergraduate degree in English and a graduate degree in education, Jim is actively engaged with a variety of organizations. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Stanford University and as Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. He is the former board chair and current board member at the College Access Foundation of California, a private foundation dedicated to assisting California students who have financial need attend college. Jim’s previous board memberships include KQED Public Broadcasting, where he served on the board from 1999 to 2005, including two years as Chair in 2003 and 2004; the Stanford Alumni Association, where he served on the board from 1997 to 2005, including two years as Chair from 2003 to 2005; and BoardSource in Washington, D.C. Jim is also a former Chair and board member for Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco.
In 2010, Jim was appointed by President Barack Obama to the White House Council for Community Solutions, established to encourage the growth and maximize the impact of innovative community solutions and civic participation by all Americans. Jim has also been active with various professional associations in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, including Independent Sector and Southern California Grantmakers in Los Angeles. He is a cofounder and past Board Chair for Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO), a philanthropic affinity group committed to building strong and effective nonprofit organizations. His writing on topics related to California and the philanthropic sector has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Sacramento Bee, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy, among other publications.
Read Jim's blog posts, commentary and speeches.
Read Jim's past Letters from the President.