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From the President: Hope and Opportunity

BY Don Howard
Don Howard
Don Howard was appointed Interim President and Chief Executive Officer in Februa
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| Feb 18, 2014

Colleagues,

I’m feeling hopeful. I’m hopeful that addressing inequitable and unsustainable gaps in opportunity is truly emerging as a priority in our nation, as evidenced by the President’s “Opportunity Agenda,” and here in California, where I see a growing recognition of the ever-widening disparities between socio-economic groups and between our inland and coastal regions. This recognition is a tribute to the tenacious and creative efforts of social sector leaders and their communities who have brought attention and solutions forward to our profound opportunity gaps. Even though we still live in a state and country where your zip code can predict your social mobility and life expectancy, I’m hopeful that expanding access to opportunity will have broad enough importance and urgency across ethical, economic, and political lines to become a shared goal.

Perhaps, I’m hopeful because we at the James Irvine Foundation, like so many of you, have committed ourselves to this very goal for Californians. We see the insidious and unfair effects of opportunity being inaccessible to so many people. We also see, in the work that so many of you do, the tremendous potential for proven approaches and innovative solutions to improve access to opportunity and to strengthen individuals, families, communities, and society.

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From the President: With Thanks

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Feb 04, 2014

Dear Friends,

In a few weeks, I will conclude what has been an enormously satisfying tenure as Irvine’s CEO since 2003. Since the announcement of my appointment as President of the Barr Foundation, I have found myself reflecting a great deal upon gratitude. Therefore, I’d like to use this final President’s Message to offer my thanks to several groups of people, who have been essential to the progress that the Irvine Foundation has made and who have personally contributed to my growth and learning as CEO.

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What was the Buzz in 2013?

BY Joyce Sood
Joyce Sood
As Digital Communications Officer, Joyce Sood leads Irvine's social media and di
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| Dec 26, 2013

2013 was a big year for Irvine — from moving our San Francisco office to announcing a leadership transition to launching a new strategy in our California Democracy program. Here’s a look back at some of our biggest moments trending on Twitter this past year:

President and CEO Jim Canales blogged about transparency in philanthropy.

 

We refined our work in California Democracy.

 

Jim announced he will be stepping down as Irvine’s CEO.

 

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From the President: A Region Vital to our Future

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Oct 16, 2013

Dear Friends,

One of the opportunities afforded to institutions such as the Irvine Foundation is the ability to take a long-term view. As a perpetual institution dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California, the Irvine Foundation needs to look at not only today’s challenges, but also must understand the trends and forces that will shape the California of the future.

For the past decade, our work has been informed by the realization that the inland parts of California — particularly the San Joaquin Valley along with Riverside and San Bernardino counties — are increasingly vital to the future of our state. The population of those regions continues to grow at rates far beyond California’s overall growth. In fact, between 2010 and 2030, it is projected that fully 46% of the state’s total population growth will occur in those regions alone.

It is this reality that led us to hold our quarterly board meeting in October in Riverside and San Bernardino, to provide our board members with an opportunity to hear directly from leaders and residents of the region regarding the assets and opportunities in their two counties. (We conducted a similar board visit to the Fresno region in 2010). There is simply no substitute for such visits; they provide the opportunity to listen and to learn and to have our strategies informed and shaped by the authentic experience of people who live there.

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In the News: September 2013

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, 2013

In the News: August 2013

BY Daniel Silverman
Daniel Silverman
A native Californian, Daniel Silverman leads the Foundation’s communications wor
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| Sep 06, 2013

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

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From the President: Building A Field

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Aug 07, 2013

Dear Friends,

A few weeks ago, we shared an interactive infographic on the progress of Linked Learning in California, an initiative in which Irvine has invested significantly over the past several years. Linked Learning seeks to prepare young people for success in college, career and life through an education reform that integrates work experience and professions with relevant and rigorous academics. Through the infographic, we shared voices from many of the players involved in Linked Learning, as well as preliminary data from an evaluation that shows promising and successful results.

As we released the report, I reflected upon what it takes to get to this level of coordinated work, with a diverse set of partners working together toward one goal. Obviously, clarity of strategy helps. So does a commitment to collaboration. But, in considering our work with Linked Learning, I’m reminded of an important tool that foundations can employ to create and sustain change: building a field. It has been our commitment to a field-building approach that, we believe, has been critical to the progress thus far.

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A Look at 2012 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 05, 2013

Editor’s Note: The following letter from Irvine Foundation Chief Investment Officer John Jenks appeared in Irvine’s 2012 Annual Report.

The calendar year of 2012 was a very good year for the Foundation’s investment portfolio. In the long-term, Irvine’s investment portfolio is a claim on increased global economic activity and the business profits that can come from that activity. But the year demonstrated that in the short-term anything can happen. While the 2012 experience was one where market returns were much better than economic activity might suggest, it was a good reminder of the possibility that things can go in either direction. 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 when the opposite scenario arises — when market returns deviate negatively from economic activity.
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Engagement and the 2012 Annual Report

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Jul 29, 2013

When people engage in their communities, in their work, in their state, good things can happen. At The James Irvine Foundation, where our mission is to expand opportunity for the people of California, this idea of engagement – and working to improve Californian’s prospects to engage – has often been core to our work, no matter the program area. This seemed more so than ever in 2012, during our 75th anniversary as a foundation.

Today, we release our 2012 Annual Report in a digital format that we hope you will find interactive. Through photographs, charts, videos, and highlights, we aim to reflect on each of our program areas, the work we have supported with our resources, and the impact we seek to achieve.

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Rethinking Philanthropy’s Approach: A Q&A 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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| Jul 19, 2013

Editor’s Note: Irvine Foundation President and CEO Jim Canales gave a keynote address at the Social Impact Exchange conference in New York City in June, 2013. You can view a video of that speech here. Following the conference, Cynthia Massarsky of the Social Impact Exchange at Growth Philanthropy Network interviewed him about his thoughts on philanthropy’s ability to have impact. The Q&A ran in the July issue of the Scaling Report and is reprinted here.

SIE: Jim, you gave a great keynote last month at the Social Impact Exchange’s Annual Conference on Scaling Impact – and made the bold statement that philanthropy is underperforming. You quoted the cartoon charter Pogo who said, “We have met the enemy and he is us!” What did you mean by that?

Canales: I wanted to suggest that as we consider why philanthropy is underperforming, we need to look first at ourselves. I do think that we can be our own worst enemy. Our intentions are certainly good, but how we do our work can often inhibit our ability to have impact, and that’s what I wanted to explore at the Social Impact Exchange’s annual conference.

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Opportunity for an Exchange

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Jul 11, 2013

During my first few years as Irvine’s CEO, the tools available to me for communications were far more limited than today. I gave speeches, which often involved standing behind a podium and delivering a prepared text that had gone through multiple iterations. I wrote annual report letters which, at that time, represented one of the very few opportunities to communicate with a broader audience about the Foundation’s activities and our learning. Many of the forms of communication I used were both formal and designed to be one-way in nature, with little opportunity for interaction or exchange.

Today, the nature of communications has evolved and, with it, the importance of adapting to new modes and styles. For example, TED Talk formats frequently replace formal speeches, tweeting and blogging provide ample opportunities to share ideas in real time, and technology offers multiple channels to reach many different audiences and to engage with them at practically any time.

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Yes, Foster Collaborations, But How?

BY Amy Dominguez-Arms
Amy Dominguez-Arms
As Director of the California Democracy program, Amy leads strategies aimed at i
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| Jun 25, 2013

The following is a blog post Amy Dominguez-Arms wrote for the Social Impact Exchange blog during the organization’s recent conference on Scaling Impact, on June 18-20 in New York City.

I was re-inspired by my fellow panelists and other speakers at the Social Impact Exchange Conference this week about the many ways philanthropy can contribute to social good. At the same time, I was struck by the complexities involved in how we select and exercise different roles.

During our panel discussion on “When is Philanthropy
(Ir) Relevant?” Sam Karp of the California HealthCare Foundation described his foundation’s leadership of an eleven-state, cross-sector collaborative to develop a standardized user-friendly interface for health care enrollment connected to implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Sharon Alpert of the Surdna Foundation talked about Surdna’s work to support and network city officials across the country and others dedicated to implementing sustainability strategies. And, at the opening luncheon on Wednesday, Rip Rapson shared the Kresge Foundation’s impressive multifaceted effort to reinvigorate Detroit’s economy. In each case, funders had identified an opportunity to tackle a critical issue by pulling together creative cross-sector partnerships.

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Irvine In The News: May 2013

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

A Transparency Mindset in the Foundation Boardroom

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| May 22, 2013

In an essay this week for the Center for Effective Philanthropy blog, Irvine President and CEO Jim Canales addresses three questions that we should be asking to bring greater transparency to foundation boardrooms. The essay is reprinted here:

With its recent report, Foundation Transparency: What Nonprofits Want, the Center for Effective Philanthropy examines the nonprofit perspective, outlining the benefits of foundation transparency to the partners we support. As we continue to explore the merits of greater transparency in philanthropy, I propose we add another dimension to the discussion by asking: What about transparency in foundation boardrooms?

In my view, one of the fundamental duties of a foundation CEO is to construct time with the board in ways that engage trustees in substantive ways and that add value to the work of the foundation. Information sharing certainly deserves its place on board meeting agendas, but it should not comprise the majority of the board’s time together. Rather, we should be building into our board agendas opportunities for strategic dialogue, robust engagement, and, yes, even debate and disagreement. And, as we do so, a transparency mindset is essential.

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Irvine In The News: April 2013

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

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

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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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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
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| Mar 01, 2013

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

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From the President: Transparency 2.0

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Feb 13, 2013 5

Dear Friends,

Within the past few weeks, I have read with interest the observations of a number of active bloggers in the arts field whom I have come to respect and admire: Nina Simon, Diane Ragsdale, Clay Lord and Barry Hessenius. Each of them has blogged on aspects of the Irvine Foundation’s new arts strategy and, in doing so, has contributed to a robust dialogue that has played out on their respective blogs as well as on Twitter.

And that’s what prompts my contribution to this discussion: I will comment only lightly on the substantive issues they have raised related to our Arts strategy as my colleague, Josephine Ramirez, who directs our Arts program, plans to post a more substantive comment on those issues in the next week or so. There is another aspect of this discussion that I do want to comment upon and invite others to engage on with me and my colleagues in philanthropy.

From my early days as Irvine’s CEO, and with great support from our Board of Directors, I have placed a premium on transparency, both with regard to our work at Irvine and for the broader field of philanthropy. I have certainly not been alone in this quest (Brad Smith at the Foundation Center is probably our field’s leading champion), and I think it’s a fair observation to say that the field has come a long way in the past decade.

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Irvine In The News: January 2013

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

ArtPlace Honors Oakland

BY Ted Russell
Ted Russell
Ted Russell has been with Irvine since 2005 and helps oversee many of the Founda
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| Jan 29, 2013

Last week, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan joined ArtPlace director Carol Coletta in touring the Oakland neighborhood that was designated one of America's Top 12 ArtPlaces. As she announced the award at the press conference, Carol made the point of saying this award was data-based and in fact entirely statistical. Since it’s not biased or subjective, the selection carries even more weight for many in the Oakland community.

Mayor Quan proudly accepted the award on behalf of the city that has become, in her words, "cooler than San Francisco!" And she emphatically credited a public-private-nonprofit partnership for the incredible turnaround of several depressed neighborhoods ranging from Old Oakland to Uptown. It's clear that the vibrancy brought to the areas by the emergence of arts nonprofits, in conjunction with for-profits, had economic and human impacts.

ArtPlace, an initiative of national and regional foundations, federal agencies and major banks to accelerate creative placemaking, identified the top ArtPlaces in the nation’s largest U.S. metropolitan areas. An array of data and other factors were considered in selecting the neighborhoods, which were successful at combining art, artists and venues for creativity and expression with independent businesses, retail shops and restaurants, and a walkable lifestyle to make vibrant neighborhoods. Other California neighborhoods that joined Oakland in the Top 12 were San Francisco's Mission District and Central Hollywood in Los Angeles.

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Aaron Pick
2 post(s)
"As Senior Program Officer of the Youth program, Aa..."
Alex Barnum
57 post(s)
"Alex Barnum was a Communications Officer at The Ja..."
Amy Dominguez-Arms
14 post(s)
"As Director of the California Democracy program, A..."
Angela Glover Blackwell
"Angela Glover Blackwell is the founder and CEO of ..."
Anne Stanton
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"As Director of the Youth program, Anne Stanton lea..."
Anne Vally
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"Anne Vally was with The James Irvine Foundation fr..."
Catherine Hazelton
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Chris Henrikson
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Connie Malloy
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"Connie Galambos Malloy is Senior Program Officer f..."
Daniel Silverman
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"A native Californian, Daniel Silverman leads the F..."
Don Howard
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"Don Howard was appointed Interim President and Chi..."
Doug Chapin
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"Doug Chapin directs the Future of California Elect..."
Ekta Chopra
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Greg Avis
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Jennifer Ortega
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Jim Canales
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John Jenks
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Josephine Ramirez
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Joyce Sood
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"As Digital Communications Officer, Joyce Sood lead..."
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Reshma Shamasunder
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Stephen Levy
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Ted Russell
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Thuy Nguyen Kumar
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