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Engaging Parents Leads to Better School Policies

BY Amy Dominguez-Arms
Amy Dominguez-Arms
As Director of the California Democracy program, Amy leads strategies aimed at i
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| Apr 04, 2013

A new report by Harder+Company Community Research on Irvine’s Families Improving Education (FIE) initiative offers fresh insights into the impact of parent and community involvement in educational policymaking. The report highlights how equipping parents with data, engaging them in discussions with school officials and connecting them with others in their region can transform school policies toward better educational outcomes for students.

The James Irvine Foundation launched the FIE initiative in 2008 to support parental involvement in K–12 educational policymaking. The Foundation partnered with Families In Schools to build the capacity of organizations in the San Joaquin Valley and Inland Empire to engage parents and families in local and state decision making for education policies that affect their children.

Once the initiative was well-established, the Foundation and Families in Schools recognized the opportunity to evaluate the work and assess the most promising practices in FIE. We then contracted with Harder+Company to gauge the initiative’s impact on parents, organizations and school policymaking.

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Irvine In The News: March 2013

BY Thuy Nguyen Kumar
Thuy Nguyen Kumar
As Communications Project Manager, Thuy provides project support for a broad ran
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| Apr 01, 2013

In March 2013, the following published articles mentioned the work of the Foundation or our grantees:

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Irvine Embarks on Immigration Reform Grantmaking

BY Amy Dominguez-Arms
Amy Dominguez-Arms
As Director of the California Democracy program, Amy leads strategies aimed at i
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| Mar 29, 2013
As my colleague Tim Silard of the Rosenberg Foundation wrote so eloquently earlier this week, Californians have a tremendous stake in the national discussions underway on immigration reform. We are a state of immigrants, with immigrants and their children comprising 40 percent of California’s population and immigrant workers totaling over one-third of California’s labor force. Of the estimated 11 million undocumented persons in the United States, approximately 2.8 million live in California.

The James Irvine Foundation Board of Directors recently approved our making a set of grants this year to organizations facilitating the engagement of California immigrants and their allies in the critical policymaking occurring in the year ahead. Among the initial grants approved are one to the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles and one to support the California Immigrant Policy Center. Both organizations, in collaboration with many others, are working to assure that the experiences and views of California immigrants inform national and state decision making on immigration policy and the effective integration of immigrants into our communities.

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New Leadership Program Launches in Fresno

BY Anne Vally
Anne Vally
Anne Vally was with The James Irvine Foundation from 2000 to 2013, last serving
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| Mar 25, 2013 2
As the San Joaquin Valley’s economic, social and educational challenges have gained more national attention, it’s easy to get lost in the myriad of well-documented problems and issues facing the valley.

However, we have also seen a groundswell of new energy and creative ideas bubbling up in the region. New leaders are harnessing the valley’s longstanding creativity and resilience, making instrumental strides towards a better future for the region. We see a unique opportunity to support these new leaders to bring the kinds of changes and social benefit they envision for the San Joaquin Valley. To do this, we are pleased to announce the launch of The James Irvine Foundation New Leadership Network.

As a long-time supporter and champion of the San Joaquin Valley, I’d like to offer some personal observations on what makes the New Leadership Network different.

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Irvine Board Approves $3.2 Million in Grants

BY Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado was with The James Irvine Foundation from 2006 to 2013, last serving
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| Mar 19, 2013
Our Board of Directors approved $3.2 million in grants at its quarterly meeting last week. Of the 10 approved grants, one is in the Arts, six in California Democracy, two in our Youth program, and one in Special Initiatives. I’d like to highlight some of the grants that we are excited about:

MapLight — Our California Democracy program is supporting MapLight with a $400,000 grant to produce a comprehensive online voter guide, Voter’s Edge, with information through 2014 about state legislative candidates and state and local ballot measures. Voter’s Edge will include daily updates about state ballot measures, including arguments for and against each measure, lists of endorsers, links to commercials and media coverage and data about campaign contributions. MapLight plans to expand its site to provide such information about ballot issues in 50 California cities and counties, and also will provide nonpartisan information about candidates for state legislative and constitutional offices.

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Maximizing Philanthropic Impact: An Interview with Jim Canales

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Mar 12, 2013
What does the Irvine Foundation learn by regularly gathering feedback from grantees and other constituents? And how do we integrate those lessons into our work?

How does the Foundation think about “risk” in the context of its grantmaking strategies?

What is the proper role of government in social innovation?

In an interview last week on the Social Velocity blog, Irvine President and CEO Jim Canales discussed these and other questions with Social Velocity President Nell Edgington. The interview is one in a series of monthly discussions that Edgington conducts with leaders in the nonprofit sector. The interview is reprinted here:

Nell: One of the four grantmaking principles of the Irvine Foundation is “Invest in Organizations,” meaning that you are committed to providing grants to build nonprofit organizations (evaluation, operating support, infrastructure). This is a pretty radical idea for most foundations. What do you think holds other foundations back from this kind of investment and what will it take to get more of them to embrace the idea of organization building as opposed to just supporting direct programs?

Jim: This question of general operating support versus project support has been an ongoing debate in the nonprofit sector, and I’d like to suggest that we may be creating for ourselves a false dichotomy that may not be helpful. I’d suggest we focus on the end goal, not the means. Let’s start by asking the question: How can we maximize impact toward the shared goals of a foundation and its grantees? By asking the question in that way, we naturally have to explore whether we are investing sufficient resources, in the right ways, so that our grantee can have the impact we both seek.

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Media Coverage Spotlights Leadership Awardees

BY Alex Barnum
Alex Barnum
Alex Barnum was a Communications Officer at The James Irvine Foundation from 200
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| Mar 07, 2013

The 2013 Leadership Award recipients are making headlines. In the month since the awards were announced, media outlets across the state have been spotlighting the work of these extraordinary individuals who are advancing innovative solutions to some of California’s biggest challenges.

Vida en el Valle, a weekly Spanish language paper serving the San Joaquin Valley, profiled recipients Aida Cardenas (Building Skills Partnership, Los Angeles) and José Quiñonez (Mission Asset Fund, San Francisco), noting that both "have dedicated a substantial part of their lives helping others build their own."

The San Francisco Chronicle featured an op-ed by Quiñonez describing how Mission Asset Fund, through its Lending Circles program, helped a low-income family establish a credit score, build assets and start a small business.

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Irvine In The News: February 2013

BY Thuy Nguyen Kumar
Thuy Nguyen Kumar
As Communications Project Manager, Thuy provides project support for a broad ran
User is currently offline
| Mar 01, 2013

In February 2013, the following published articles mentioned the work of the Foundation or our grantees:

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Continuing the Dialogue on Our Arts Strategy

BY Josephine Ramirez
Josephine Ramirez
As Arts Program Director, Josephine is leading the implementation of a new grant
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| Feb 26, 2013 1

A number of compelling conversations have been taking place over the last several weeks as a result of some very thoughtful blog posts about our Arts grantmaking strategy. (Nina Simon kicked it off with this post and then linked to related posts here.) What I find most exciting about all of this is the fact that a range of thoughtful leaders are engaging with ideas that are obviously important to Irvine, and their engagement will help make our grantmaking better. I’d like to take the opportunity to add to the dialogue as well as clarify a few points about our Arts strategy that were raised in the conversation so far.

Irvine has funded the arts since our inception because we care deeply about the importance of a healthy arts ecosystem that connects people and builds communities. We have an interest and an obligation in strengthening the arts system as a whole and we believe that the system will thrive if it focuses on engaging Californians who so far have largely been absent as audiences, visitors and donors. In becoming an adaptive, relevant and responsive field, we become more able to address the fact that the majority of Californians don’t engage with our system---not responding to this situation is clearly not the answer. Our response then, the core focus of our grantmaking that launches later this year, will be to support sustainable, core operational shifts as arts organizations expand engagement.

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New Arts Grants Explore Engagement

BY Josephine Ramirez
Josephine Ramirez
As Arts Program Director, Josephine is leading the implementation of a new grant
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| Feb 19, 2013
Late last year, our board approved 19 new grants as part of our statewide Exploring Engagement Fund and another five grants as part of our more targeted Exploring Engagement Fund for Priority Regions (focused on the Inland Empire and San Joaquin Valley). We now have 52 grantee partners that are providing an array of exciting new arts engagement opportunities for Californians.

What I find most exciting about this latest round of grants is that it creates fresh possibilities for the field to learn about how to effectively engage more Californians in the arts. Our goal of promoting engagement can only be successful if there is a robust, nimble, responsive group of nonprofits that are actively exploring how they can engage audiences and visitors. “Business as usual” has not been working for many arts organizations that are experiencing declining audiences and revenues, and it’s gratifying to see so many groups primed to learn more about engaging their communities through these grants.

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Aaron Pick
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Alex Barnum
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