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Reflections on 2017

I’m excited to share our annual Year in Review, which highlights the work of our partners and grantees in 2017. Below is an excerpt from my letter. You can view the full letter here.

For many Californians, 2017 was a difficult – even traumatic – year. Immigrants lived in fear of deportation, disastrous wildfires raged across the state, four in 10 Californians lived in or near poverty, and divisive rhetoric and policies coming out of Washington sowed tension and animosity.

But it was also a year when Californians came closer together, with greater common purpose, acts of heroism small and large, and hopes for a brighter future.

I’m proud and grateful, as I look back on 2017, that Irvine had the privilege of supporting amazing nonprofit leaders who provide frontline support, strengthen the fabric of our communities, and advance opportunity for all Californians.

Our work is anchored by a simple premise: All Californians — no matter who they are or where they live — should be able to create a better life for themselves and their families. Californians should have the opportunity to earn a living, provide for their families, participate in their communities, and have a real voice in the decisions that affect their lives.

Let me share a few highlights of what we did in 2017 to advance those goals:

  • We launched two new grantmaking initiatives – Better Careers and Fair Work – to ensure build better paths to family-sustaining careers and to ensure fair pay for work. Our board approved investing up to $200 million over the next six years for these two initiatives combined.
  • We provided fast and flexible funding to leaders who are protecting our immigrant communities and who are responding to natural disasters.
  • We supported field leaders and their organizations in areas where Irvine support is coming to an end, enabling them to sustain their important work.

Our grantees make me hopeful and optimistic that, in spite of the challenges we face, we can build a better future for the people of California. This look back on 2017 shares just some of their achievements.

Thank you to all of our grantees and fellow funders for your leadership and partnership in 2017. I also want to express my great appreciation for the staff here at Irvine and their commitment to making an impact in our state.

I’m looking forward to the year ahead — a year of action, learning, and progress toward a California where all workers and their children are set up for success.

Don Howard

Read the full Year in Review here.