Eleven years ago, The James Irvine Foundation gave me the amazing opportunity to create a vision and strategy for improving college and career outcomes for California’s youth. My colleagues and I were given the resources, confidence, and support to implement that vision in partnership with amazing leaders across the state, and the time to watch the vision of Linked Learning take hold and become a reality for more and more young people.
Today there is a Linked Learning field that is vibrant, ready to meet the new and wonderful challenges of scale and impact, and positioned for long-term success and sustainability. It is an amazing and rewarding sight.
Given all that has been accomplished, I have decided that the best role I can play going forward will be to help steward the Linked Learning field’s transition to its next phase of development, and then to step aside, which I plan to do at the end of June 2015.
All of us at Irvine are committed to being thoughtful and purposeful about this evolution of the Foundation’s role. So, for the next seven months, I will be focusing all my attention on leading a planning process for achieving a Linked Learning Vision 2020 Plan, in partnership with my Youth Program colleagues and with other Linked Learning leaders. You will be hearing more from me in the coming weeks about that planning effort.
I’m delighted that my friend and colleague, Elizabeth González, will be taking over as Irvine’s Youth Program Director. As a Senior Program Officer at Irvine, Elizabeth is already an integral part of the Linked Learning field. She is a strategic thought partner and seasoned grantmaker who is ready to lead Irvine in this next phase of our support for Linked Learning.
As I develop my plans beyond these next seven months at Irvine, I am excited by the chance to build upon my experience, knowledge, and success in creating real options and opportunities for youth. They inspire me every day, as does the ongoing challenge of ensuring that all young people have an equal chance to succeed and thrive. I know there are other mountains to scale on their behalf, and I am looking forward to a new pair of climbing shoes!