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Exploring Arts Engagement: The Importance of Piloting, the Role of Risk Capital

BY Josephine Ramirez
Josephine Ramirez
As Arts Program Director, Josephine is leading the implementation of a new grant
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| Oct 01, 2014

The ability to experiment is vital for arts organizations seeking to offer new experiences that draw more and different kinds of participants. In 2012, The James Irvine Foundation issued the first grants from our Exploring Engagement Fund. Through five rounds of grantmaking, involving 91 grants, we have deepened our appreciation for the value of pilot projects for nonprofits that want to connect with underserved groups and promote engagement in the arts for all Californians.

Today, we are relaunching the Exploring Engagement Fund with a new, rolling application process that’s open through the end of 2015. We recognize that arts nonprofits often struggle to find the resources for unfamiliar approaches and untested ideas. Our intent is to provide risk capital for organizations hungry to pursue innovative projects that engage new and diverse participants, including low-income groups and communities of color. The Fund is open to California arts nonprofits with annual operating expenses of $100,000 or more, providing one-time project support (this Fund is not intended to support core operations or ongoing programming).

Strengthening nonprofits that are moving arts engagement to the center of their identity and work is the heart of the Irvine Arts strategy. But we also want to encourage innovation across the field by a broader range of organizations ready to experiment with expanding engagement. That’s the primary role of the Exploring Engagement Fund, to spur innovation specifically aimed at expanding engagement with those who have been consistently underserved by arts nonprofits.

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In the News: September 2014

BY Thuy Nguyen Kumar
Thuy Nguyen Kumar
As Communications Project Manager, Thuy provides project support for a broad ran
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| Oct 01, 2014

In September 2014, the following published articles mentioned the work of the Foundation or our grantees:

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2013 Year in Review

BY Daniel Silverman
Daniel Silverman
A native Californian, Daniel Silverman leads the Foundation’s communications wor
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| Sep 30, 2014

Today, we release our 2013 Year in Review. We hope this site will give you a glimpse of some of the moments and progress from the work of last year—both the work of The James Irvine Foundation, and most importantly, that of the talented leaders and organizations that we are privileged to support.

You'll find that we've structured this site a bit differently than the annual reports we used to produce, with the hope that you will explore and interact as you journey through 2013 with us.

As always, we welcome your thoughts and reactions.

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Where will Irvine be in October?

BY Joyce Sood
Joyce Sood
As Digital Communications Officer, Joyce Sood leads Irvine's social media and di
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| Sep 26, 2014

Irvine staff are attending events all around the country in October to learn, share, and deepen our impact in the Foundation’s program areas and philanthropy. Find out where you can connect with us and/or follow the conversations happening online.

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Board Chair Greg Avis Announces Don Howard as New President & CEO

BY Greg Avis
Greg Avis
Greg Avis is chair of the board of The James Irvine Foundation. Avis is a Foundi
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| Sep 18, 2014 1

I am excited to announce that the Board of Directors has unanimously appointed Don Howard as the next president and CEO of The James Irvine Foundation, effective October 1.

Don is an innovative leader, recognized for his experience and creativity in both the private and nonprofit sectors. His deep passion and commitment to the people and issues of California, as well as his long history of developing partnerships and successful road maps for social change, make him the right person to propel the Foundation toward even greater impact.

Don’s appointment comes on the unanimous recommendation of our search committee, following a broad and extensive search that saw an extraordinary number of strong and diverse candidates.

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Irvine Foundation Names Don Howard as President & CEO

BY Daniel Silverman
Daniel Silverman
A native Californian, Daniel Silverman leads the Foundation’s communications wor
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| Sep 18, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 18, 2014

Contact: Daniel Silverman, Communications Director
415-356-9934 (office)
415-378-4001 (mobile)
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San FranciscoDon Howard, a lifelong Californian whose career in nonprofit leadership has been defined by innovation and a deep commitment to social change, has been appointed president and chief executive officer of The James Irvine Foundation, effective October 1, 2014. The appointment was made unanimously by the Irvine Foundation Board of Directors after a broad and extensive search.

“Don is an innovative leader, recognized for his experience and creativity in both the private and nonprofit sectors,” said Greg Avis, chair of Irvine’s Board of Directors. “His deep passion and commitment to the people and issues of California, as well as his long history of developing partnerships and successful road maps for social change, make him the right person to propel the Foundation towards even greater impact.”

Mr. Howard currently serves as the Foundation’s interim president and CEO, and has served as executive vice president, overseeing the Foundation’s grantmaking, since 2012. As a partner with the Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit strategy consulting firm, he managed the Irvine Foundation’s strategic planning process in 2002–2003, which led to the current focus in Arts, California Democracy and Youth. While at Bridgespan, he also advised the Irvine Foundation for over a decade on various programmatic and organizational efforts.

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In the News: August 2014

BY Thuy Nguyen Kumar
Thuy Nguyen Kumar
As Communications Project Manager, Thuy provides project support for a broad ran
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| Sep 02, 2014

In August 2014, the following published articles mentioned the work of the Foundation or our grantees:

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Where will Irvine be in September?

BY Joyce Sood
Joyce Sood
As Digital Communications Officer, Joyce Sood leads Irvine's social media and di
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| Aug 28, 2014 1

Each month Irvine Foundation staff attend events around the state, and sometimes country, to enhance our work in the Foundation’s program areas and philanthropy. We’re launching this monthly blog series to keep you in the know of the conferences, panels and workshops where you can connect with staff and/or follow the conversations online that matter to you.

Where will Irvine be in September?

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A Look at 2013 From Irvine’s CIO

BY John Jenks
John Jenks
As Treasurer and Chief Investment Officer, John directs the Foundation’s $1.6 bi
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| Aug 28, 2014

Editor’s Note: The following letter from Irvine Foundation Treasurer and Chief Investment Officer John Jenks is part of the Foundation’s 2013 Annual Report, released next month.

The calendar year of 2013 was an extraordinary year for The James Irvine Foundation’s investment portfolio. In my letter one year ago, I wrote about how good 2012 had been and why, even though 2013 had started strongly, I cautioned that above average returns were not likely to persist. My logic was that, in the long-term, Irvine’s investment portfolio is a claim on increased global economic activity and the ensuing business profits. In 2012, market returns were much better than economic activity might suggest. Returns were driven by increased valuations, rather than increased profits or economic activity, and that was not likely to continue and could even reverse. It is with some hesitation that I repeat those very words in reference to the success of 2013 and renew my caution that expectations of outsized investment returns need to be dampened.

Irvine has a fairly aggressive payout target (5.5 percent of average asset) and therefore an aggressive earnings target to support that payout. The big challenge for the investment program is to maintain a large long-term exposure to global economic activity to earn more than 5.5 percent plus the rate of inflation, while also reducing risk so that Irvine can tolerate years when global economic activity declines, or, as inevitably will happen, market returns deviate negatively from economic activity.

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Foundational Knowledge: Arts Organizations and Community

BY Ted Russell
Ted Russell
Ted Russell has been with Irvine since 2005 and helps oversee many of the Founda
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| Aug 05, 2014 1

Editor’s Note: Foundational Knowledge is an occasional series on News & Insights, providing three bullet points on a topic of interest to Irvine’s partners and grantees.

Our Arts program strives to promote engagement in the arts for all Californians. This means embracing and advancing the diverse ways that we experience the arts, as well as using it to strengthen our ability to thrive together. Working in this field, I often have the privilege of seeing arts organizations explore new and creative ways to engage people in their work, and I’ve noticed that some of the most forward-thinking organizations ask themselves some important questions, as they go about this.

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