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Guest Post: What Happens “When the People Draw the Lines”?

BY Raphael J. Sonenshein
Raphael J. Sonenshein
Raphael J. Sonenshein is the Executive Director of the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Ins
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| Jun 12, 2013

By Raphael J. Sonenshein, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs at Cal State Los Angeles

Back in 2008, California voters narrowly approved a ballot measure to turn the state’s redistricting process upside down. Instead of Sacramento’s incumbent elected officials (and sometimes judges) drawing the lines, the job would be handed over to a citizen commission. Two years later, the voters added congressional districts to the commission’s charge. By 2011, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission was up and running.

The League of Women Voters of California and The James Irvine Foundation asked me to research and write an independent assessment of this new redistricting process. The result is the report issued this week, “When the People Draw the Lines.”

I found that the citizen redistricting process was essentially successful. At the same time, it was clear that the commission faced some organizational obstacles that need to be corrected in time for the next citizen redistricting commission.

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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

Strengthening College Connections

BY Kenji Treanor
Kenji Treanor
Kenji Treanor has worked at Irvine since 2004 and helps oversee Youth program gr
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| May 24, 2013
Educators have been working to extend the impact of Linked Learning by strengthening connections between high school and community college, sharing practices and data as part of the California Community College Linked Learning Initiative (CCCLLI). Earlier this month, as I attended a CCCLLI event in Sacramento, I found myself excited by some early results.

The initiative is showing promising signs of improving students’ success. Specifically:

  • At Pasadena City College, the overall grade point average of students in the CCCLLI-supported program was 3.31 compared to 2.74 for non-program students.
  • At Sacramento City College, 93% of students in the CCCLLI-supported program completed at least 13 units in their first semester compared to just 21% of non-program students who completed 13 units within six semesters.

These early outcomes from within the initiative – which includes high school and community college educators from eight sites across the state – are very encouraging as Irvine strives to strengthen Linked Learning students’ transition into college and attainment of credentials. All of the CCCLLI sites are using five strategies toward this objective:

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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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Recognizing the Value of Public Participation

BY Amy Dominguez-Arms
Amy Dominguez-Arms
As Director of the California Democracy program, Amy leads strategies aimed at i
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| May 21, 2013 1

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 on public participation and are interested in exploring new strategies to engage the public in decisions affecting their future

A new study, commissioned by the Irvine Foundation, shows that public officials and civic organization leaders have much more in common in their views of public engagement in local decision-making than we might assume. In the study of more than 900 elected and nonelected public officials and more than 500 leaders of civic and community-based organizations across California, Public Agenda found the following:

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USC Report: Immigration Reform Could Boost California Economy

BY Amy Dominguez-Arms
Amy Dominguez-Arms
As Director of the California Democracy program, Amy leads strategies aimed at i
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| May 08, 2013
The USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration just released a new report titled What's at Stake for the State: Undocumented Californians, Immigration Reform and Our Future Together. Funded in part by the Irvine Foundation, the report calculates the potential economic gains to California overall and in specific regions through national immigration reform. The researchers provide as a conservative estimate that the state’s economy could grow by $4.5 billion annually once undocumented residents have access to the greater educational and economic opportunities afforded by authorization and citizenship. The report authors call for California to plan ahead and to learn from existing regional cross-sector collaborations for effective integration of all residents into our society. One of the report authors, Dr. Manuel Pastor, made the case for reform in a compelling op-ed column in the Sacramento Bee. Here is the beginning of Dr. Pastor’s column:

 

Viewpoints: Why immigration overhaul matters to state
By Manuel Pastor

Reprinted from The Sacramento Bee, May 7, 2013

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Measuring the Impact of Social Media

BY Kevin Rafter
Kevin Rafter
As Manager of Impact Assessment and Learning, Kevin oversees evaluation efforts
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| May 03, 2013
Last week the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation invited a diverse group of foundation staff, evaluation professionals and social media experts to talk about measurement and evaluation of social media. You can get a feel for some of the topics and ideas that were shared by reading the Twitter activity captured by the hashtag #SM_RE. RWJF has also captured and organized the material related to this meeting on its website.

I found the meeting quite productive and helpful for those of us who think about evaluating our communications efforts and putting those evaluations in the context of our broader organizational goals. And although this subject might appear to be a bit too “in the weeds” for those who aren’t engaged in the evaluation of communications efforts, I would like to share some of the more interesting points that came up at the meeting.

A primary goal for the meeting was to identify how best to measure social media indicators for a common set of outcomes identified by the participants. The common outcomes were:

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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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From the President: Which Way California?

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Apr 25, 2013 2

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 at the sunbaked barbarians, even wish them ill. But you should not fail to see in their fledgling renaissance another chapter in the American experiment, no less daring than the Golden Gate Bridge or the castle that Hearst erected at continent’s edge.”
Timothy Egan column, The New York Times, March 28

“The more powerful message is where people are going when they leave states like California and New York, two states ranked among the “least free” in a recent study by the Mercatus Institute. They are going to red states where, according to Mercatus, there is greater individual freedom, less government regulation and lower taxes. Earth to Jerry Brown: California, you have a problem.”
David Davenport column, Forbes.com, April 11

“But, in the end, Brown has done little but slap a temporary, inadequate patch on a dysfunctional system of financing and service provision that needs a fundamental rethink if California is to build a better future.”
Matt Miller column, The Washington Post, April 4

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New Look, New Location

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Apr 20, 2013 4

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 location at 575 Market Street to One Bush Street, at the intersection of Market and First streets. This relocation was motivated by several factors. We wanted to secure a long-term lease during a time of steadily increasing rental rates and decreasing inventory in the San Francisco commercial marketplace. In addition, this move will enable us to consolidate our San Francisco staff onto a single floor (the 8th floor at One Bush) as opposed to being spread out across two floors, thereby creating more opportunities for internal collaboration as well as operational efficiency.

Our new building, the Crown-Zellerbach Building, is an historic 1959 building that was the first significant downtown structure erected after the Great Depression. It has historic landmark status and is recognized as an environmentally friendly building. The new office remains centrally located, which was a key priority for us, so our visitors will still be able to use all forms of public transportation to reach us (our location provides convenient access by BART to both the Oakland and San Francisco airports).

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