We extend the impact of our grantmaking through selected Special Initiatives, which advance our mission and grantmaking principles in ways that complement our three core program areas.
We organize our grantmaking around four principles that are informed by our past experience and reflect our belief about how we can maximize our impact. These four principles are: Focus on Place, Invest in Organizations, Build Leadership and Engage Beyond Grants. Although these themes are present throughout our grantmaking, they are particularly important as guiding principles for the following Special Initiatives:
- Community Foundations Initiative II: This initiative seeks to accelerate the growth and leadership of selected small and emerging community foundations in rural areas of California. Our grants to these community foundations include funds that they, in turn, regrant to local organizations whose work is aligned with the goals of our Youth or Arts programs. (Read more about Irvine's community foundations support.)
- Community Leadership Project: This project seeks to build the capacity of small and midsize organizations serving low-income communities and communities of color in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, Central Coast and San Joaquin Valley. The project, a partnership with the Packard and Hewlett foundations, works with intermediaries to provide core support and organizational development regrants to small organizations, leadership development opportunities to nonprofit leaders, and technical assistance workshops and trainings to additional organizations.
- Fresno Regional Foundation: With a $3 million grant from Irvine, the Fresno Regional Foundation is establishing the Fund for the San Joaquin Valley to advance a wave of local giving that will address critical issues identified by people in the region.
- Fund for Financial Restructuring: This fund seeks to support selected Irvine grantees in developing and executing plans that position them for long-term financial health and advance their missions as they work proactively to adapt to the current economic recession.
- Fund for Leadership Advancement: This fund seeks to enhance the leadership abilities of the executive directors of selected grantee organizations. We offer flexible support that is tailored to meet the needs of individual executive directors and designed to help make their organizations more effective.
- Research about Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector: These grants seek to enhance funders’ understanding of key trends and issues in the nonprofit sector in California.
Special Initiative proposals are accepted by invitation only.