By Jim Canales
It gives me great pleasure to announce the appointment of Don Howard as Executive Vice President at The James Irvine Foundation.
In this expanded leadership role, Don will assume oversight for all of the Foundation’s program and grantmaking activities and will also help to lead the Foundation’s ongoing efforts to deepen, extend and amplify our mission of service to the people of California. As I described in a July blog post, the Foundation is in the midst of a planning process aimed at refining our approach in order to maximize Irvine’s impact. Don will play a critical leadership role as we move these plans to execution and demonstrate the kind of nimble and adaptive strategies that will be essential to Irvine’s success in the years ahead. Given the many challenges facing California today, and our unique role as the largest multipurpose foundation dedicated exclusively to the state, Irvine will need to continue to embrace an ambitious agenda to advance the changes that our state desperately needs.
Don currently serves as a Partner and head of the San Francisco office for The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit strategy consulting firm helping other nonprofits and philanthropists achieve breakthrough results. Prior to joining Bridgespan, Don spent the first part of his career at Booz Allen Hamilton, an international management consulting firm. Don earned his undergraduate degree in industrial engineering from Stanford University, and his MBA from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business.
During his decade-plus tenure at Bridgespan, Don has worked with dozens of leading foundations and nonprofits to improve their effectiveness and maximize their impact. He led the firm’s Revitalizing Communities practice area and worked extensively in education reform, youth development and environmental sustainability. As head of the San Francisco office for Bridgespan, he led the organization’s successful expansion of its presence on the West Coast and both built and cultivated a strong team of colleagues oriented toward a shared mission of social impact.
Don is also not a stranger to the Irvine Foundation. In 2002-2003, Don managed Irvine’s strategic planning process that led to our current focus in Arts, California Democracy and Youth, and he has been a strategic advisor to us and our grantees on numerous projects in the intervening years. Beyond his knowledge of the Foundation and its work, Don brings a broad perspective as a national thought leader on matters of philanthropic and social impact. Having been an advocate for greater flexibility and innovation throughout the philanthropic sector, he is an ideal fit at this juncture in Irvine’s evolution.
The board, staff and I could not be more enthusiastic about having Don join our leadership team. This appointment comes at an important point in the history of our institution, and I am confident that the extensive and relevant experience that Don will bring to this new leadership role will serve Irvine in good stead as we identify new and expanded ways to advance our mission of service to the people of California.
Don will begin his new responsibilities at the Irvine Foundation on November 1.