When I joined the Irvine Foundation Board of Directors in 2003, we had a new president and CEO, and the Foundation was emerging from a period of change. Fast forward 10 years, and Jim Canales has become one of the most respected leaders in philanthropy, and the Irvine Foundation and our partners are improving prospects for California’s youth, expanding engagement in the arts, and making progress on state fiscal and governance reforms.
It’s that context that frames my reaction to Jim’s decision to accept the offer to become the first President of the Barr Foundation, starting in May 2014. On one hand, the Board of Directors will miss his exemplary leadership. On the other, Jim has had a remarkable tenure of 20 years at the Foundation and more than 10 years as CEO and, largely as a result of that leadership, he will leave Irvine in a very strong position.
During those 10 years, Jim led the Foundation’s three programs through significant strategic developments. He built a talented and experienced staff. And he helped build Irvine’s reputation as a valued collaborator and leader in California and the philanthropic field.So, on behalf of the Board of Directors, I’d like to congratulate Jim as he embarks on this exciting new adventure and express our gratitude to him for his service to the Foundation and for the care and skill with which he has stewarded Irvine’s resources.
As difficult as it will be to part ways with Jim, it is certainly made easier by the deep engagement the board has had in shaping the current direction of the Foundation, by the strength of our current staff — including a senior management team with significant tenure — and the trust and respect between board and staff. The entire Irvine community will miss him, but it is a positive reflection on both Irvine and, of course, Jim that an organization of the Barr Foundation’s stature and promise would seek out our exceptional CEO.
Among other common interests, Jim and I share a love of baseball. With that in mind, I am pleased to report that I have secured a commitment from Jim that, despite the allure of Fenway, he will remain a Giants fan. For that, and for the amazing imprint he has made on the Irvine Foundation, we will always be thankful.
Read a message from Jim Canales here.
Read the Irvine Foundation news release here.