The James Irvine Foundation
Increase individual giving to the arts and build the ability of participating community foundations to exercise leadership in the arts.
Working with several community foundations across California, Irvine created the Communities Advancing the Arts (CAA) initiative to increase individual giving to the arts, committing more than $9 million to this effort from 2004 to 2011. About half of this investment is for community foundations to regrant to small and midsize arts organizations in their regions. The remaining portion will enable the community foundations to increase their outreach to individual donors in order to raise permanent assets for the arts.
The initiative is being assessed by Irvine staff based on data from the community foundation grantees.
To measure each community foundation’s progress at: Raising new dollars dedicated to the arts, typically in the form of an endowment Increasing the number of donors that give to the arts through the community foundation Increasing the total grants made to the arts
Phase one was from 2004 to 2007; phase two is from 2008 to 2011.
Phase one of this initiative involved 13 community foundations. Phase two offered continued funding to seven of these community foundations and invited two new community foundations to join the cohort. The participants are:
For this evaluation, Irvine program staff collect administrative data in order to measure progress against asset development and goals for arts giving. These data are collected routinely by community foundations and are reported to Irvine each year, along with qualitative narrative reports.
The initiative, which began in 2004, has unfolded amid dramatic economic changes, as a robust economy rapidly shifted into a recession. At the end of 2007, the original 13 community foundation grantees had increased arts assets by $36 million, and their collective annual grantmaking to the arts was $5 million greater than at the initiative’s start. In this environment, Irvine awarded renewal funding to seven of the original 13 grantees and invited two new community foundations to join the cohort.
In 2008, as the stock market lost more than 30 percent of its value, community foundations found that recently acquired arts assets also lost a significant portion of their value at the same time that new donor giving slowed down, which in turn slowed the progress of the initiative. Reflections on 2008 activity are: