More than $4 million in grants was approved last week by the Irvine board at its quarterly meeting. The board approved 10 grants — four in the Arts, four in California Democracy and two in Youth — and signed off on a total grants budget of $68 million for this year. Here are a few grants that we’re particularly excited about:
California Calls — With California’s finances in an historic bind, an alliance of civic and community organizations, known as California Calls, is pursuing an ambitious plan to help turn things around. Partnering with 25 organizations in 10 counties, the alliance has been educating working class people on issues of state fiscal policy that are normally the province of policy experts and think tanks. With an $800,000 grant, its second from Irvine, California Calls aims to expand its growing alliance to other parts of California, with the goal of reaching half a million voters and energizing them around the cause of improving the state’s fiscal system. The grant, part of Irvine’s California Democracy program, was made to the Los Angeles-based Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education, the lead organization for California Calls.
California School Boards Foundation — Our Youth program promotes Linked Learning as a new approach to high school education that combines strong academics with real-world experience in a wide range of fields. With a $400,000 grant, the California School Boards Foundation will raise awareness of Linked Learning among California school board members and district leadership teams. CSBF plans to implement a statewide educational program for newly elected and veteran school board members and district governance teams to showcase the Linked Learning approach. It also plans to identify obstacles to implementing Linked Learning and assist governance teams in developing policies that ensure its success, part of a broader effort to build the Linked Learning field in California and make it an option for more students.
Cornerstone Theater — The Los Angeles-based Cornerstone Theater takes community-based theater in California to an entirely new level. Under one of its programs, long supported by Irvine, Cornerstone each year selects an underserved California community for an in depth collaboration. Professional artists live and work alongside local residents to create a new play informed by local issues. The play is then performed by professional and amateur actors at performance sites central and meaningful to the community. The company has already produced eight well-received plays in California communities, and with a new $425,000 grant from Irvine, Cornerstone will bring its unique approach to the cities of Arvin (Kern County) and Salinas.