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Press Release

Irvine Board Approves More Than $12 Million in Grants on October 5, 2016

The James Irvine Foundation Board of Directors approved $12.29 million in grants in October. The grants include investments within the Foundation’s new area of focus (increasing economic and political opportunity for Californians who are working but struggling with poverty) while also fulfilling commitments to current grantees. (To learn more about our new direction, visit here.)

Three of the grants are part of the Voice and Influence initiative, an area we are exploring to increase the ability of low-wage workers to engage on the economic and political decisions that affect their lives and communities, and foster partnerships that can lead to tangible gains for workers. Another grant is under Career Readiness and Living-Wage Work, an emerging Foundation initiative to ensure that low-income, working Californians can secure and succeed in family-sustaining jobs. These grants are designed to expand effective efforts in the field as well as to inform future grantmaking under our new focus. Highlights of this current round of giving include:

Career Readiness and Living-Wage Work


A two-year grant of $1 million to expand LeadersUp’s capacity as a talent development intermediary, creating a shift in business practice to improve the hiring and retention of young people in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area who are neither in school nor working.

Immigrant Integration

Mobilize the Immigrant Vote

A two-year, general operating grant of $400,000 to support the organization’s efforts to close the gap in representation of low-income immigrants and new Americans of color in California’s electorate.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles

A two-year grant of $600,000 to strengthen immigrant rights across the state, through an entity such as the California Immigrant Policy Center.

Linked Learning

Stanford University

A two-year grant of $444,000 to investigate and report how school and district leaders in California are advancing integrated student supports for youth in Linked Learning pathway programs.

Alliance for Excellent Education, Inc.

A two-year grant of $600,000 to increase national awareness of Linked Learning, align federal policy, and expand the Alliance’s engagement with Linked Learning practitioners.

Postsecondary Success

California State University, Long Beach Research Foundation

A two-year grant of $546,000 to support a regional partnership effort between California State University Long Beach (as the lead), Long Beach City College, Long Beach Unified School District, and the City of Long Beach to bridge the gap between educational systems and improve student transitions from high school to postsecondary institutions.

Voice and Influence

National Employment Law Project

A three-year grant of $3.4 million to strengthen partnerships and policy initiatives that improve labor and industry standards in California, ensuring that they promote greater economic security and opportunity for all California workers.

Partnership for Working Families

A three-year grant of $3 million to support low-wage immigrant workers through organizing and leadership development, while strengthening the Partnership for Working Families network in California to collectively raise standards for workers and expand access to quality jobs.

Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC) Inc.

A three-year grant of $1.4 million to support low-wage restaurant workers in California by enhancing the occupational skills, leadership development, and civic participation opportunities of workers while partnering with employers, policymakers, and consumers to improve industry standards.

Voter and Civic Engagement

Community Water Center

A $400,000 general operating support grant to support efforts to increase the number of San Joaquin Valley residents engaging in local, regional, and state-level policymaking processes to advocate for safe, affordable drinking water.

Research and Development


A one-year grant of $500,000 to support the PolicyLink Reserves and Growth Capital Fund, allowing PolicyLink to weather funding fluctuations and increase its capacity to rapidly respond to opportunities. This grant will also enable the Foundation to learn more about the use of data to drive an agenda for inclusive economic growth.