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Amy Dominguez-Arms

Amy Dominguez-Arms

As Director of the California Democracy program, Amy leads strategies aimed at improving state and local governance and at fostering inclusive public decision making. She also directs the annual James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards. View full bio »

Exploring Our Work in Two California Regions

BY Amy Dominguez-Arms
Amy Dominguez-Arms
As Director of the California Democracy program, Amy leads strategies aimed at i
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| Jul 21, 2014 2

This past spring I’ve had the opportunity to explore – with my colleagues at Irvine and a consultant – how we might deepen our grantmaking in two important and growing regions of the state: 1) the San Joaquin Valley and 2) Riverside and San Bernardino counties. I’ve learned a lot in the process, but then, as often happens when we dig deeper, we also learn how much more there is to uncover.

For over a decade, the Irvine Foundation has aimed to prioritize funding to these two regions, which are socially dynamic and increasingly more populated, and yet receive substantially fewer private philanthropic dollars per capita than the major metropolitan areas on the coast.

Our mission in these two regions is, as it is for the state, to expand opportunity for residents there in ways that build upon the region’s many assets. Over these past 10 years, we’ve sought to do so through our core program areas of Arts, California Democracy and Youth. And, we’ve had the privilege to work with many grantee partners engaged in important, high-impact work.

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Improving Prospects for Immigrants

BY Amy Dominguez-Arms
Amy Dominguez-Arms
As Director of the California Democracy program, Amy leads strategies aimed at i
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| Apr 23, 2014

Among the current efforts to improve prospects for the nation’s immigrants, I’m struck by the number of unusual alliances forming across sectors. Toward the common goals of expanding opportunities for immigrant families and strengthening our communities, we're seeing business people working closely with nonprofits, conservative faith leaders coordinating with student groups, labor groups connecting with law enforcement.

A terrific example of such a partnership may be found in the National Immigration Forum’s Bethlehem Project. The Bethlehem Project works with employers to coordinate citizenship assistance at the workplace. A recent article in the Los Angeles Business Journal provides insight into what they have been able to achieve in collaboration with employers in California and across the nation.

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Nominations for our $125,000 Leadership Award are Open

BY Amy Dominguez-Arms
Amy Dominguez-Arms
As Director of the California Democracy program, Amy leads strategies aimed at i
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| Jan 16, 2014

We’re now seeking nominations for the 2015 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards, which will be our tenth class of California leaders recognized for implementing proven approaches to addressing critical state issues.

We have been tremendously heartened over the years to learn of the many ways in which Californians are contributing to a better future for our state. Each round we find out about hundreds of individuals working in a range of fields – from education to health, from public safety to economic development, and other arenas – who are achieving positive outcomes. We have been privileged to share their approaches and help them expand or replicate their projects for greater impact.

Past recipients have worked on issues as diverse as providing mental health care for returning veterans, increasing the skills and education of low-wage workers, reducing youth recidivism and installing solar panels in low-income communities. In addition to the $125,000 award from the foundation and assistance in sharing their effective approaches with policymakers and others, many award recipients have benefited by connecting with other innovators through the alumni network.

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Refining our Work on California Democracy

BY Amy Dominguez-Arms
Amy Dominguez-Arms
As Director of the California Democracy program, Amy leads strategies aimed at i
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| Oct 21, 2013 1

Improving the health of California's democracy is both an exciting challenge and a formidable task. What's exciting is the possibility of transforming how important public decisions are made, so as to benefit all Californians. Our goal is for California to have a representative electorate, with policymaking bodies incentivized to consider the long term, and public decisions made based on good data about effective solutions.

Also exciting about working in this field is the diverse set of highly capable, committed and strategic organizations here in California that are building alliances across sectors and geographies to change how we make decisions and plan for our future. We are honored to be working in partnership with many of them.

But a challenge we face is that with many aspects of our democracy that could be improved, how do we best approach grantmaking in this arena?

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Yes, Foster Collaborations, But How?

BY Amy Dominguez-Arms
Amy Dominguez-Arms
As Director of the California Democracy program, Amy leads strategies aimed at i
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| Jun 25, 2013

The following is a blog post Amy Dominguez-Arms wrote for the Social Impact Exchange blog during the organization’s recent conference on Scaling Impact, on June 18-20 in New York City.

I was re-inspired by my fellow panelists and other speakers at the Social Impact Exchange Conference this week about the many ways philanthropy can contribute to social good. At the same time, I was struck by the complexities involved in how we select and exercise different roles.

During our panel discussion on “When is Philanthropy
(Ir) Relevant?” Sam Karp of the California HealthCare Foundation described his foundation’s leadership of an eleven-state, cross-sector collaborative to develop a standardized user-friendly interface for health care enrollment connected to implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Sharon Alpert of the Surdna Foundation talked about Surdna’s work to support and network city officials across the country and others dedicated to implementing sustainability strategies. And, at the opening luncheon on Wednesday, Rip Rapson shared the Kresge Foundation’s impressive multifaceted effort to reinvigorate Detroit’s economy. In each case, funders had identified an opportunity to tackle a critical issue by pulling together creative cross-sector partnerships.

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Recognizing the Value of Public Participation

BY Amy Dominguez-Arms
Amy Dominguez-Arms
As Director of the California Democracy program, Amy leads strategies aimed at i
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| May 21, 2013 1

At Irvine, we believe a healthy democracy depends on decision making informed by the views and experiences of a broad cross-section of our communities. That’s why we’re heartened by the many public officials and civic leaders who place a high value on public participation and are interested in exploring new strategies to engage the public in decisions affecting their future

A new study, commissioned by the Irvine Foundation, shows that public officials and civic organization leaders have much more in common in their views of public engagement in local decision-making than we might assume. In the study of more than 900 elected and nonelected public officials and more than 500 leaders of civic and community-based organizations across California, Public Agenda found the following:

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USC Report: Immigration Reform Could Boost California Economy

BY Amy Dominguez-Arms
Amy Dominguez-Arms
As Director of the California Democracy program, Amy leads strategies aimed at i
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| May 08, 2013
The USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration just released a new report titled What's at Stake for the State: Undocumented Californians, Immigration Reform and Our Future Together. Funded in part by the Irvine Foundation, the report calculates the potential economic gains to California overall and in specific regions through national immigration reform. The researchers provide as a conservative estimate that the state’s economy could grow by $4.5 billion annually once undocumented residents have access to the greater educational and economic opportunities afforded by authorization and citizenship. The report authors call for California to plan ahead and to learn from existing regional cross-sector collaborations for effective integration of all residents into our society. One of the report authors, Dr. Manuel Pastor, made the case for reform in a compelling op-ed column in the Sacramento Bee. Here is the beginning of Dr. Pastor’s column:

 

Viewpoints: Why immigration overhaul matters to state
By Manuel Pastor

Reprinted from The Sacramento Bee, May 7, 2013

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Engaging Parents Leads to Better School Policies

BY Amy Dominguez-Arms
Amy Dominguez-Arms
As Director of the California Democracy program, Amy leads strategies aimed at i
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| Apr 04, 2013

A new report by Harder+Company Community Research on Irvine’s Families Improving Education (FIE) initiative offers fresh insights into the impact of parent and community involvement in educational policymaking. The report highlights how equipping parents with data, engaging them in discussions with school officials and connecting them with others in their region can transform school policies toward better educational outcomes for students.

The James Irvine Foundation launched the FIE initiative in 2008 to support parental involvement in K–12 educational policymaking. The Foundation partnered with Families In Schools to build the capacity of organizations in the San Joaquin Valley and Inland Empire to engage parents and families in local and state decision making for education policies that affect their children.

Once the initiative was well-established, the Foundation and Families in Schools recognized the opportunity to evaluate the work and assess the most promising practices in FIE. We then contracted with Harder+Company to gauge the initiative’s impact on parents, organizations and school policymaking.

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Irvine Embarks on Immigration Reform Grantmaking

BY Amy Dominguez-Arms
Amy Dominguez-Arms
As Director of the California Democracy program, Amy leads strategies aimed at i
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| Mar 29, 2013
As my colleague Tim Silard of the Rosenberg Foundation wrote so eloquently earlier this week, Californians have a tremendous stake in the national discussions underway on immigration reform. We are a state of immigrants, with immigrants and their children comprising 40 percent of California’s population and immigrant workers totaling over one-third of California’s labor force. Of the estimated 11 million undocumented persons in the United States, approximately 2.8 million live in California.

The James Irvine Foundation Board of Directors recently approved our making a set of grants this year to organizations facilitating the engagement of California immigrants and their allies in the critical policymaking occurring in the year ahead. Among the initial grants approved are one to the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles and one to support the California Immigrant Policy Center. Both organizations, in collaboration with many others, are working to assure that the experiences and views of California immigrants inform national and state decision making on immigration policy and the effective integration of immigrants into our communities.

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Understanding Policy Views of Asian Americans

BY Amy Dominguez-Arms
Amy Dominguez-Arms
As Director of the California Democracy program, Amy leads strategies aimed at i
User is currently offline
| Oct 25, 2012

Between 2000 and 2010, the Asian American population grew faster than any other racial group in California, increasing by nearly one third to comprise 13 percent of the state’s population. Yet public surveys often do not distinguish the views of this fast-growing population. As Irvine’s California Democracy program is dedicated to advancing public policies that reflect well the preferences of all Californians, understanding the perspectives of different communities is an important component.

Earlier this year, the National Asian American Survey probed the policy priorities and issue preferences of Asian Americans nationally. With support from Irvine, researchers at the University of California at Riverside and UC Berkeley probed further into the policy priorities and preferences of Asian Americans in California. Their report, released earlier this month, highlights interesting findings about how California’s Asian American population views the economy, health care reform, affirmative action, immigration policies and other issues.

Read the report, "The 2012 General Election: Public Opinion of Asian Americans in California".

Visit the National Asian American Survey website.

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