Special Initiatives
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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.

Our work to expand opportunity for the people of California is guided by a set of grantmaking principles that serve to unify the Foundation’s approach to our philanthropy. These principles inform the ways in which we apply our financial and other resources for greatest impact, and they build upon our competencies and experience as a philanthropic institution. Although these themes are present throughout our grantmaking, they are particularly important as guiding principles for the following Special Initiatives:

  • California Pay for Success Initiative: This initiative seeks to help nonprofit and government leaders structure Pay for Success funding agreements for their proven social services in California in 2014 and 2015. These funding agreements are designed to both improve outcomes and reduce costs. In addition to providing flexible funding and expert support, the Initiative will nurture a cohort of leaders to learn from each other and share knowledge about working on such agreements.
  • 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.
  • New Leadership Network: This project seeks to connect talented San Joaquin Valley leaders across issues, sectors and generations to learn, collaborate and build relationships that contribute to a better future for the Valley. By strategizing together and learning about innovative, effective approaches that other communities have taken to address similar challenges, the leaders in this network can help drive change in their community.
  • 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.

Grant Inquiries

Special Initiative proposals are accepted by invitation only.