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California Voters and the Media: A Matter of Trust

BY Catherine Hazelton
Catherine Hazelton
As a Senior Program Officer for the California Democracy program, Catherine is e
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| Aug 12, 2013 1

California voters have many opportunities, in fact, responsibilities, to participate in our democracy — from choosing candidates and considering ballot measures to sharing views with policymakers and holding them accountable. To do so effectively requires access to trustworthy, educational and culturally relevant information about public policy and civic issues. Yet, vast changes to the media landscape threaten to undermine access to the information voters need to make effective decisions. Further, the often negative, hyper-partisan tone of political discourse raises concerns about maintaining voter interest in policy issues.



In commissioning a survey of 3,500 California voters, the James Irvine Foundation set out to learn how, in the current media landscape, voters are learning about government and politics, as well as the extent of their interest in these topics. The study, conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates (FM3), and its accompanying infographic, provide useful insights into the consumption of public policy news by California voters, especially among our state’s diverse communities of color.

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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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In the News: July 2013

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

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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Linked Learning in Motion

BY Anne Stanton
Anne Stanton
As Director of the Youth program, Anne Stanton leads Irvine’s strategies to esta
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| Jul 23, 2013

I am excited to share with you Linked Learning in Motion, a new interactive infographic that illustrates the remarkable progress and growth of Linked Learning across California. With the launch of a new statewide pilot program that will bring Linked Learning to thousands more youth, and new evidence of Linked Learning's effectiveness, we thought this would be a good time to provide a snapshot of the great work of our grantees and other partners, and the exciting path ahead to prepare all of California's youth for success in college and career.

I invite you to review the infographic and share your thoughts and comments. If you are interested in hearing from students, teachers and parents, I encourage you to go the Voices page where you can watch video snippets from people who are experiencing Linked Learning first-hand.

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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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A Look Inside: How we Selected Grants for Arts’ Exploring Engagement Fund

BY Rick Noguchi
Rick Noguchi
Rick Noguchi has been with Irvine since 2008 and helps oversee many of the Found
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| Jul 15, 2013 1
One of the common criticisms that foundations hear from grantseekers is that we aren’t always clear about how we make decisions about grants. It can be frustrating for a grant-seeking organization to try to understand why they did not receive a grant, while similar organizations did. Foundation funding can be a critical source of income, particularly in the arts, so it’s understandable that arts nonprofits want better insight into our decision-making processes.

With that in mind, I would like to share some thoughts about grant decisions we made for one of our funds in the Arts Program here at Irvine, the Exploring Engagement Fund for Large Organizations (EEFLO). While each of our funds has unique considerations, these insights will give you a sense of how we make grant decisions regardless of the particular fund. (EEFLO is for a select group of arts organizations with annual operating budgets above $5 million.

The family of Exploring Engagement Funds falls within our Piloting priority. Piloting grants are designed to help organizations experiment with new ways of engaging Californians in the arts. Since experimentation can be daunting when financial resources are limited, EEFLO is designed to provide “risk capital” to allow arts organizations to take a risk, to experiment with project ideas that might engage more and different kinds of people than those who are typically drawn to their venue.

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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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Protecting and Improving the Right to Vote

BY Catherine Hazelton
Catherine Hazelton
As a Senior Program Officer for the California Democracy program, Catherine is e
User is currently offline
| Jul 03, 2013
As we celebrate our democracy this Fourth of July, it seems especially appropriate to recognize the many Californians protecting and improving one of our most cherished traditions: the right to vote. For the past two years, Irvine has been supporting about two dozen inspiring leaders working together to expand voter participation and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of California’s election systems.

Earlier this year, the groups participating in this initiative, known as The Future of California Elections (FOCE), published a list of priority goals for 2013. And just last month, the Irvine Board of Directors authorized nine grants totaling more than $3 million over two years to support FOCE Steering Committee members as they seek to achieve these ambitious goals. Irvine expects to make additional FOCE-related grants later this year.

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