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Mike Smith

Director of Communications

Mike joined the Irvine Foundation as Director of Communications in January 2016. He directs the Foundation’s use of strategic communications to achieve its goal: a California where all low-income workers have the power to advance economically. This includes communications strategy and planning, messaging and narrative-shifting efforts, an active online and social media presence, trainings, and more.

Previously, he served as the Director of Communications and Administration at Californians for Safety and Justice, a nonprofit working to replace criminal justice system waste with solutions that create safe, healthy communities. There he led public education campaigns and other communications efforts to change the understanding of who experiences crime, what they want from the justice system and what approaches more effectively address drivers of crime.

Prior to that, Mike was a Vice President at Fenton Communications, a public relations firm focused on social change clients. Over his 10-year tenure, he provided branding, media relations and strategic counsel to various foundations, state and national nonprofits, and public interest campaigns. Mike has also held public relations and marketing positions at the Horn Group,, and Odwalla Juice, and he wrote and developed advertising campaigns at the Onion Newspaper. He graduated from Colorado College with a B.A. in English and a minor in African studies.