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Community Foundations Rise to Recession’s Many Challenges

BY Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado was with The James Irvine Foundation from 2006 to 2013, last serving
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| Sep 22, 2009

For Terence Mulligan, the first signs of trouble began to appear two years ago — in what now seems like a familiar story.

Housing foreclosures in Napa Valley, where he serves as president of the local community foundation, inexplicably started to spike. In 2006, just over 20 homes in the entire county were taken over by banks or lenders when their owners couldn’t make payments. But by the end of 2007, while economists were arguing about whether the country had slipped into recession, that number had jumped to more than 200.

Over the next year, as the housing bubble burst and the unemployment rate grew, the large population of low-income agricultural and service workers in Napa bore the brunt of the impact. Applications for food stamps were up. Mental health and domestic violence counselors were suddenly in greater demand. And the housing market — once considered a pillar of local stability — continued to crumble. By the end of last year, there were nearly 800 foreclosures in Napa County.

“As the recession hit last year, it seemed like, ‘Holy cow, the world is coming off its axis,’” recalls Mulligan, whose organization, the Napa Valley Community Foundation, scrambled to find ways to meet the growing community needs. The community foundation has been a major supporter of the county’s largest safety-net organizations, such as food banks, homeless shelters and family centers.

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Pioneering Oakland Program Builds ‘Safe Passages’ for Urban Youth

BY Alex Barnum
Alex Barnum
Alex Barnum was a Communications Officer at The James Irvine Foundation from 200
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| Sep 22, 2009
Andrea was worried about her teenaged son, Jorge. The older cousins he admired were dropping out of school and sporting gang tattoos. One of his middle school classmates had shot another student on the street outside their east Oakland campus. And Jorge himself was beginning to rebel against his mother’s custom of walking him to school each morning.

“He thought he knew it all,” Andrea said.

Josefina Alvarado Mena, executive director of Safe Passages and recipient of a 2009 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award

Then one of Jorge’s teachers invited him to enroll in a special Saturday class focused on gangs. The class took field trips to San Quentin, met with professional men of color, discussed educational disparities and talked openly about the difficulties young boys face growing up in rough urban neighborhoods. After several months, Andrea said, Jorge was a different kid. He lectured his younger sister about staying away from gangs and drugs. He seemed happy for his mother to walk him to school.

Jorge has benefited from an innovative partnership that seeks to mitigate the impact violence has on Oakland’s children. The partnership, called Safe Passages, brings together more than 65 local agencies in Alameda County – among them two school districts, the county and the city of Oakland – to share responsibility for providing services to vulnerable populations of children and youth.

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Irvine Appoints Joseph M. Pon as Vice President for Programs

BY Daniel Silverman
Daniel Silverman
A native Californian, Daniel Silverman leads the Foundation’s communications wor
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| Sep 09, 2009

San Francisco — The James Irvine Foundation today announced the appointment of Joseph M. Pon as vice president for programs. Pon will join Irvine from Applied Materials Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT), a Fortune 500 technology company in Silicon Valley, where he is vice president for global corporate affairs. Pon will provide leadership for Irvine’s program department, overseeing the development, implementation and refinement of Irvine’s grantmaking throughout California.

“Joe brings to this leadership role both demonstrated success in developing strategy and impressive management acumen, a combination that will make him a great addition to the Irvine team,” said Jim Canales, president and chief executive officer of the Irvine Foundation. “California is a global hub, and Joe brings a global perspective, informed by his professional experiences around the world, which will ultimately strengthen our efforts to expand opportunity for the people of California.”

"Irvine has a long and distinguished history of public service in California," said Pon. "I am honored to join an organization that is thoughtfully fostering positive solutions to address some of the state's biggest long-term challenges. I look forward to working with my new Irvine colleagues toward improving the quality of life for all Californians."

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Irvine in the News: August 2009

BY Thuy Nguyen Kumar
Thuy Nguyen Kumar
As Communications Project Manager, Thuy provides project support for a broad ran
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| Aug 31, 2009

In August 2009, the following published articles mentioned the work of the Foundation or our grantees:

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Irvine in the News: July 2009

BY Thuy Nguyen Kumar
Thuy Nguyen Kumar
As Communications Project Manager, Thuy provides project support for a broad ran
User is currently offline
| Jul 31, 2009

In July 2009, the following published articles mentioned the work of the Foundation or our grantees:

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From the President: Celebrating Six Remarkable Californians

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Jul 01, 2009

Dear Friends,

Every year, I look forward to the time when we announce the recipients of our annual Leadership Awards, knowing that from a large pool of outstanding nominees will emerge a handful of exceptional Californians who are effectively addressing critical issues for our state. This year’s recipients take on added significance, given the recession and our state’s dire budget crisis, in that they remind us that the ingenuity, resourcefulness and determination needed to solve difficult challenges exist throughout our state.

These leaders are helping to improve the lives of thousands of Californians every day, and in many cases they are demonstrating how to save public dollars at the same time. The Leadership Awards were designed not only to celebrate individuals but also to draw attention to effective approaches and to encourage leaders in Sacramento and communities throughout the state to consider how to apply elsewhere the lessons of these successful undertakings.

Accordingly, this year, for the first time, we announced the Leadership Award recipients at a luncheon in Sacramento to give public officials and other civic leaders a chance to learn firsthand about the effective approaches implemented by these leaders. The awards were presented by top public officials, and I invite you to view any or all of the following short video clips of the presentations, and also to read more about the work of the individual recipients by clicking on the accompanying links.

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Irvine in the News: June 2009

BY Thuy Nguyen Kumar
Thuy Nguyen Kumar
As Communications Project Manager, Thuy provides project support for a broad ran
User is currently offline
| Jun 30, 2009

In June 2009, the following published articles mentioned the work of the Foundation or our grantees:

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$11.3 Million Awarded to Expand High School Pathway Programs in 10 California School Districts

BY Daniel Silverman
Daniel Silverman
A native Californian, Daniel Silverman leads the Foundation’s communications wor
User is currently offline
| Jun 23, 2009

Berkeley, CA – The James Irvine Foundation and ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career, today announced grants to 10 California school districts as part of the California Multiple Pathways District Initiative. The Initiative aims to transform high schools districtwide by offering students a choice of at least six high‐quality pathway programs that prepare them for success in both college and their careers. Multiple pathway programs connect learning in the classroom with real‐world applications by integrating rigorous academic instruction with a demanding technical curriculum and work‐based learning.

After extensive district‐led planning processes including community involvement, a systematic assessment rubric was used to award the following six school districts two‐year grants of more than $1 million each to develop systems of multiple pathways: 

  • Antioch USD • Porterville USD
  • Long Beach USD • Sacramento City USD
  • Pasadena USD  • West Contra Costa USD
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Assessing California’s Multiple Pathways: A Field-Builder’s Guide

BY Daniel Silverman
Daniel Silverman
A native Californian, Daniel Silverman leads the Foundation’s communications wor
User is currently offline
| Jun 22, 2009
It’s one thing to support a particular approach to solving one of society’s toughest challenges. But as Irvine’s Youth program team is learning, it’s quite another to create a movement around that approach, especially one that seeks to transform something as large and complex as California’s high school system.

Youth program

With its partners, Irvine’s Youth program has spent much of the last three years developing and refining an approach to high school education called California multiple pathways — a synthesis of rigorous academics and real-world experience that seeks to engage youth in the serious learning needed to graduate high school prepared for success in college and career.

The multiple pathways approach is flourishing in high schools throughout California, with promising results, but its reach is limited. Now it is poised for expansion at a much larger scale, with 10 high school districts in California developing plans to implement multiple pathways districtwide, reaching tens of thousands of students.

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Tags: ConnectEd

Irvine’s Creative Connections Fund Supports a Diversity of Arts Projects

BY Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado was with The James Irvine Foundation from 2006 to 2013, last serving
User is currently offline
| Jun 22, 2009
Pasadena Museum of California Art officials were thrilled when two employees who work at NASA's nearby Jet Propulsion Laboratory proposed curating a show featuring artistic representations of scientific data.

But as the cost of the exhibition, Data + Art: Science and Art in the Age of Information, became clear — there would be huge images projected onto walls and a live computerized display of actual national flight traffic, among other things — museum Executive Director Jenkins Shannon worried that she could not afford to do the show justice.

Sonia Marie De Leon de Vega, Executive Director of the Santa Cecilia Orchestra of Los Angeles

Then the museum received a hoped-for $30,000 grant from The James Irvine Foundation's new Creative Connections Fund.

"Without the support, we probably would have had to downsize or postpone the exhibition," Shannon said. Instead, the show turned out to be one of the Pasadena museum's most popular ever, drawing an estimated 6,500 people over an 11-week period.

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