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Press Release

Ms. Brenna Butler Garcia and Ms. Teresa Matsui Join The James Irvine Foundation Board of Directors

December 13, 2021

Vaishalee Raja,
Senior Communications Officer

SAN FRANCISCO (December 13, 2021) — The James Irvine Foundation announced the appointment of two new members of its Board of Directors, who will begin their terms in January 2022. Ms. Brenna Butler Garcia, of Stockton, is the Vice President of Community Relations for A.G. Spanos Companies. Ms. Teresa Matsui, of Salinas, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Matsui Nursery, Inc., and head of the Matsui Foundation.

“I am excited and grateful to welcome Brenna and Teresa to the board,” said Kafi D. Blumenfield, Chair of the Irvine Foundation Board of Directors. “They have an impressive track record of working to better their communities, and their leadership, expertise, and dedication will benefit Irvine and the people of California.”

Ms. Butler Garcia and Ms. Matsui both hail from cities located in the Foundation’s Priority Communities. The Foundation’s seven-year, $135 million initiative in Fresno, Salinas, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Stockton aims to create and protect more good jobs that offer family-sustaining wages, benefits, and advancement opportunities for workers in low-wage jobs — and support communities as they create economies that work for all residents.

“This is a pivotal moment for California, both in terms of how we rebuild and who has a seat at the table for determining our economic future,” said Don Howard, President and CEO of the Irvine Foundation. “Support for and leadership from inland California communities is critical, making it vital to have leading voices from our priority communities on our Board of Directors.”

In Stockton, Ms. Butler Garcia works with regional nonprofits, elected officials, and community leaders to support the philanthropic and community goals of A.G. Spanos Companies, a family-owned builder of multi-family housing and master planned communities that are committed to enhancing and supporting the communities where they build. Ms. Butler Garcia was previously the Chief Executive Officer of the San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (SJCHCC), and she continues her service to the Latino business community as a SJCHCC board member and an at-large director of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce.

“For generations, A.G. Spanos Companies has been committed to the investment of a vibrant and thriving Stockton,” said Ms. Butler Garcia. “We are pleased to see the involvement of The James Irvine Foundation with our city. It is an honor to represent the company and my community by contributing to the leadership of an organization with the mission of economically advancing the lives of all Californians.”

Ms. Matsui heads Matsui Nursery, Inc., a $30 million potted orchid producer founded by her father. She also leads Matsui Foundation, a private foundation that has disbursed over $8 million in scholarships to local underserved students enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, and vocational programs in the Salinas Valley and Monterey County.

Previously, Ms. Matsui led enterprises in real estate and hospitality.

“As we collectively navigate our post-COVID world, I am grateful for the opportunity to bring my perspective and voice as an agricultural employer and member of a priority community to the Board of The James Irvine Foundation,” said Ms. Matsui. “I am eager to serve the organization’s efforts to rebuild California’s economy so that it works for all Californians – with resilience, justice, and inclusion.”

Both Ms. Butler Garcia and Ms. Matsui will serve a four-year term, with the opportunity for up to two additional terms. The Irvine Foundation is governed by an independent Board of Directors, which is responsible for ensuring that the Foundation manages its finances, operations, and grantmaking programs to advance its mission and goals.

Learn more about Ms. Butler Garcia and Ms. Matsui