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 o
Dear Friends,Here are four views of California from the national media, just in the past month:“Far from presiding over a Greek-style crisis, Gov. Jerry Brown is proclaiming a comeback.”Paul Krugman column, The New York Times, March 31“You can laugh
I am pleased to share two exciting developments for us at The James Irvine Foundation.First, effective today, we relocated our San Francisco headquarters to a new home in downtown San Francisco. We have moved across the street from our former locati
Vince Stewart was a Senior Program Officer for the Youth program at The James Ir
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Aug 27, 2012
A free webinar on September 10 will share findings and recommendations from a report we recently released about the benefits of dual enrollment courses, which allow high school students to earn college credit. Although historically geared toward high-achieving students, the report found that dual enrollment courses can also benefit underachieving students and those underrepresented in higher education, especially when these offerings have a career focus. The webinar will outline recommendations for education practitioners and will also address policy matters related to dual enrollment programs.
If the demonstrated benefits of career-focused dual enrollment are to reach more disadvantaged students and have lasting impact on California education, state policymakers and community leaders will need to reduce current barriers to program development and student participation. Based on the experience and outcomes attained in high schools and colleges across California, here are three high-value policy recommendations:
A native Californian, Daniel Silverman leads the Foundation’s communications wor
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Aug 22, 2012
We are pleased to share with you our 2011 Performance Report in a new online format. While it includes many of the features of a traditional foundation annual report, our aim with this publication is to go beyond that approach and give you a deeper look at the Foundation’s progress toward its long-term goals.
This report is based on the Annual Performance Report that we make each year to Irvine’s Board of Directors as a way to measure our impact and hold ourselves accountable. It examines the progress we’re seeing in our core grantmaking programs, as well as other areas that we believe contribute to our impact as an institution. If you’re interested in reading this longer, more detailed document, it is available on our website.
This year we are experimenting with a new online format that we think will prove more inviting and accessible to our readers. At the heart of the report is the Program Impact section, which offers highlights of key developments in each of our three grantmaking programs and Special Initiatives. In the Leadership section, we describe ways we have used Irvine’s voice to enhance the work we’re supporting through grants. And finally, we look at Irvine’s financial and organizational health using a variety of quantitative measures.
This online publication represents the latest evolution in our approach to reporting on our impact. In that sense, it is a work in progress, and we welcome your thoughts and ideas about how to make it better.
As Director of the California Democracy program, Amy leads strategies aimed at i
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Aug 16, 2012
Tim Carpenter, a 2011 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award recipient and founder of EngAGE, is featured in a New York Times article, one of its “Fixes” series, which looks at solutions to social problems. The feature also includes the Irvine Leadership Award video about Tim’s work. The James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards recognize and support Californians who are advancing innovative and effective solutions to significant state issues. To learn more about Tim and other Leadership Award recipients’ effective approaches, visit here. To receive updates about Leadership Award alumni and their work, subscribe to Leadership Award News.
As Director of the Youth program, Anne Stanton leads Irvine’s strategies to esta
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Aug 09, 2012
One of the purposes of our website is to present clear information about what we are funding, why we are funding it, and what we hope to accomplish through our grantmaking. We hope to provide our grantees, grantseekers, and anyone interested in our work clear information about the impact we seek and how our grantmaking strategy is evolving.
With that in mind, we recently updated the section of our website dedicated to our Youth program. While our Youth program has been focused on building the field of Linked Learning for a number of years now, we have recently added components to our strategy to extend Linked Learning to postsecondary institutions and to serve out-of-school youth, so the updated web pages reflect this expansion. We also produced an audio slideshow that walks through all components of our Youth program strategy, with a focus on our work to build the field of Linked Learning.
One of the most fundamental values we hold at Irvine is to share what we’re learning. We want our colleagues — both nonprofits and other funders — to be able to apply the most promising ideas, approaches and strategies to their work – and to also avoid the ones that aren’t working. We will be putting this value into action at the upcoming Council on Foundations 2012 Fall Conference for Community Foundations.
We know that all community foundations want to grow assets and create positive changes in their communities, and Irvine will be hosting a special workshop to share strategies on how to make this happen. The workshop is built around the lessons and approaches developed over six years of intensive work to help a set of emerging community foundations in California become stronger leaders in their communities as part of our Community Foundations Initiative II. Between 2005 and 2011, this group grew their collective assets 12 percent annually (from $73 million to $131 million), compared to 7 percent for their peers nationwide. At the same time, they increased their grantmaking, awarding $4 million more in grants each and every year for projects in their communities.
We began sharing some of the lessons and tools from this work in 2007, with our Growing Smarter report, and over the years, we have hosted sold-out webinars and conference programs in partnership with the Council on Foundations to disseminate this knowledge to the field.
Sunny San Diego provided a beautiful backdrop last month for the summer meeting of the California Association of County Clerks and Elections Officials (CACEO), at which members of the Irvine-sponsored Future of California Elections (FoCE) project presented their work to date. The group, comprised of county registrars, civil rights leaders and advocates for effective government, has been collaborating since late 2011 to improve the effectiveness of California elections and increase voter participation. Together FoCE participants established several goals they seek to accomplish in 2012, and the conference provided an opportunity to check in mid-course on their progress.
The results of FoCE participants’ hard work is already quite notable and indicates the exciting potential of this group. For example, based on focus groups FoCE participants conducted with voters and additional research and analysis, FoCE recommended 10 changes to the state voter guide. The Secretary of State welcomed all 10 recommendations and expects to adopt them for the November 2012 guide. FoCE members have also contributed to implementation of the state’s new online voter registration system, resulting in the state’s three major public assistance programs (CalWORKS, CalFresh and Medi-Cal) and two dozen colleges and universities – and counting— agreeing to integrate voter registration into their online applications and websites. More details about the group’s accomplishments to date and plans for the remainder of 2012 are listed below.
One of the highlights of the CACEO conference was hearing FoCE participants describe this unusual partnership. During a panel presentation, Cathy Darling Allen, incoming CACEO President and Clerk/Registrar of Shasta County, light-heartedly shared her initial trepidation of working with FoCE members from the American Civil Liberties Union, Verified Voting, Common Cause and the California Voter Foundation: “For a registrar, these are a bunch of scary women!” Everyone on the panel noted similar initial concerns about working with past adversaries, and expressed pride that just nine months later, they are all working together as close colleagues, advancing shared goals.
A persistent tension in philanthropic work is balancing a long-term commitment toward key programmatic goals with the need to remain sufficiently agile and adaptable in a rapidly changing environment. In our experience at Irvine, striking the right balance between these two potentially conflicting approaches can ensure we are having the greatest impact with the resources we are privileged to steward.
Eight years ago, when Irvine’s Board of Directors adopted our current grantmaking programs, we agreed that the Foundation needed to be committed to these core programs for the long term, which we defined then as at least a decade. In view of the ambitious nature of the goals in our Arts, California Democracyand Youth programs, we knew that a long-term orientation was essential. At the same time, we believed then — and still do today — that, at some point, reflecting on our progress, taking stock of the changing California landscape and considering the implications would be prudent.
As we plan for 2013 and beyond, Irvine’s board and staff are engaged in this important process. We have resisted characterizing our work as a “strategic planning” process because we are not intending a wholesale shift in priorities and focus, nor do we plan to divert significant attention from our current activities. Indeed, as a result of an institutional commitment to ongoing learning and refinement, each of our programs has undergone thoughtful, strategic reviews in recent years, and we have adapted our strategies accordingly. At the same time, approaching a decade of work in these three areas affords us an opportunity to ensure that Irvine remains responsive in the face of rapidly changing opportunities and challenges in California, all with an eye toward maximizing impact.
Jim is Irvine’s CEO. A native Californian, he is passionate about the Foundation
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Jul 23, 2012
I have written before about the importance of developing an honest and engaged partnership between nonprofit boards and staff leadership. Unfortunately, we sometimes see stark reminders of the tragic costs when such a partnership is lacking. The Penn State tragedy is such a case. I recently authored an op-ed in the Chronicle of Philanthropy to encourage nonprofit leaders to learn from this tragedy and do everything in their power to ensure that it never happens again. The full text of that op-ed is reprinted below. You can read it on the Chronicle website here. I welcome your comments.
Posted on The Chronicle of Philanthropy website on July 16, 2012
Damage Done by a Culture of Deference: Leadership Lessons From the Penn State Tragedy By James E. Canales
The child-abuse scandal that unfolded at Penn State University over the past decade and half is a tragedy of epic proportions. Nobody can disagree with that after the report last week by the former FBI director Louis Freeh provided clear evidence that the crimes committed by Jerry Sandusky could have and should have been averted.
What is particularly distressing in reading the 267-page report is how the lessons nonprofit leaders should have learned from previous scandals continue to go unheeded.
Building leadership is one of Irvine’s core values, and one of the ways we try to realize that value is through the Fund for Leadership Advancement. Started in 2005, the fund supports the development of individual leaders as a way to increase the impact of existing Irvine grantee organizations. Although the fund has been on hiatus while we conducted a program review, we are restarting this leadership development initiative and sharing what we’ve learned from our work in this area.
As we reached a critical mass of more than 50 FLA grants, we decided to take stock of FLA and consider updates that would insure that the program takes into account the economic and social circumstances our grantees currently face. In order to review the impact of FLA, we commissioned Harder+Company Community Research to conduct an external assessment of these grants and help us understand where and how FLA has had the greatest impact.