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Exploratory Grantmaking

Irvine makes exploratory grants in areas that have the potential to become priorities for the Foundation.

Listening to and learning from working Californians, grantees who serve them, and other leaders is key to how we develop our grantmaking priorities and approach. This is true of our exploratory grantmaking, which supports effective organizations and solutions while also allowing Irvine, over time, to better understand how we might play a role in these spaces.


It is unsustainable and inequitable for working Californians to spend more than 30%, on average, of their paychecks on housing.

In 2018, Irvine began exploring how our investments could address California’s housing crisis. Since then, we have made more than $9 million in grants to learn about the complex issues surrounding housing affordability.

We will not make any further investments in housing affordability through 2021 as we learn from these exploratory grants and determine the scope of new investments we are making related to racial equity and the economic fallout of COVID-19.

Statewide impact

For all low-income workers in Californians to have the power to advance economically, we need public systems and policies — as well as employer policies and practices — that are inclusive and equitable.

Irvine makes a range of investments to influence conditions at the state level, from grantee efforts within our initiatives to funding advocacy coalitions, civic engagement, media and journalism, research, and cross-sector partnerships. This includes exploring how worker and grantee voices can inform policy solutions, improve policy implementation, and shift employer and industry practices to support the economic advancement of low-income workers. These efforts build on prior Irvine investments to inform and empower Californians.

We are exploring how these investments can contribute to a cohesive strategy for statewide impact that complements our current initiatives, identifies new partnership opportunities, and helps create a fair and inclusive economy that works for all Californians.