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Jim Canales

Jim Canales

Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine Foundation from 2003 to February 2014.

From the President: With Thanks

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Feb 04, 2014

Dear Friends,

In a few weeks, I will conclude what has been an enormously satisfying tenure as Irvine’s CEO since 2003. Since the announcement of my appointment as President of the Barr Foundation, I have found myself reflecting a great deal upon gratitude. Therefore, I’d like to use this final President’s Message to offer my thanks to several groups of people, who have been essential to the progress that the Irvine Foundation has made and who have personally contributed to my growth and learning as CEO.

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A Personal Message from President Jim Canales

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Nov 20, 2013 1

Having marked in 2013 my 10th anniversary as Irvine’s CEO and my 20th year at the Foundation, I have decided it is time for a new professional challenge. In early spring, I will step down as Irvine’s CEO in order to become the first President of the Barr Foundation in Boston, beginning in May 2014.

It has been an enormous privilege to serve as Irvine’s CEO since 2003. I have had the pleasure of working with many talented and dedicated partners both within and outside of the Foundation; the honor of building upon a legacy of excellence and service for which Irvine has been well known; and the joy of observing the progress we have made toward our mission of expanding opportunity for the people of California.

I am excited about this next chapter in my professional life. I am honored to have been invited to join Barbara and Amos Hostetter as the third trustee of the Barr Foundation and to help shape the next chapter of that foundation’s work. The values of humility, excellence and rigor that the Hostetters bring to the Barr Foundation align so well with my own perspectives about how philanthropy can have greatest impact.

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From the President: A Region Vital to our Future

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Oct 16, 2013

Dear Friends,

One of the opportunities afforded to institutions such as the Irvine Foundation is the ability to take a long-term view. As a perpetual institution dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California, the Irvine Foundation needs to look at not only today’s challenges, but also must understand the trends and forces that will shape the California of the future.

For the past decade, our work has been informed by the realization that the inland parts of California — particularly the San Joaquin Valley along with Riverside and San Bernardino counties — are increasingly vital to the future of our state. The population of those regions continues to grow at rates far beyond California’s overall growth. In fact, between 2010 and 2030, it is projected that fully 46% of the state’s total population growth will occur in those regions alone.

It is this reality that led us to hold our quarterly board meeting in October in Riverside and San Bernardino, to provide our board members with an opportunity to hear directly from leaders and residents of the region regarding the assets and opportunities in their two counties. (We conducted a similar board visit to the Fresno region in 2010). There is simply no substitute for such visits; they provide the opportunity to listen and to learn and to have our strategies informed and shaped by the authentic experience of people who live there.

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Four Minutes With... Don Howard

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Oct 15, 2013 1
Four Minutes With… provides a chance to get to know Irvine board and staff members, as well as partners in our work to expand opportunity for the people of California.

In this episode of Four Minutes With…we profile Don Howard, Executive Vice President at Irvine. Don joined the Foundation in November 2012 after serving as a partner and head of the San Francisco office for The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit strategy consulting firm helping other nonprofits and philanthropists achieve breakthrough results. We’ve asked him to talk a little bit about this transition to philanthropy over the past year and his role at Irvine.


 

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Four Minutes With… Kenji Treanor

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Sep 20, 2013
We are inaugurating a new feature on our website in order to bring to life the people who animate the Irvine Foundation's work. Four Minutes With… provides a chance to get to know Irvine board and staff members, as well as partners in our work to expand opportunity for the people of California. These short videos are intended to humanize the work that we do and that we support across the state. We welcome your feedback and suggestions about future profiles.

In this first episode of Four Minutes With… we profile Kenji Treanor, who recently left Irvine having served in three different roles during his nine-year tenure with the Foundation. One of my many joys of leading the Irvine Foundation is working with these talented and dedicated colleagues. Inevitably, they will develop skills and experience at Irvine which position them well for their next professional opportunity beyond the Foundation. Kenji has been a wonderful colleague to all of us, and we will miss him very much. At the same time, we are excited about his new opportunity with the Sobrato Family Foundation. We’ve asked him to talk a little bit about his experience with us and his future.


 

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Transforming High Schools: Linking Academics and Real Life

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
User is currently offline
| Sep 18, 2013
Editor’s Note: The following post by Irvine Foundation President and CEO Jim Canales originally ran in the Huffington Post on September 16, 2013, and is reprinted here.

My first job out of college was as a high school English teacher in San Francisco. As a result, every fall brings with it hope and excitement, a combination of anticipation and aspiration. Sadly, today, for far too many high schools students in my state of California, such hope is not to be found. Too many of our young people's dreams go unrealized, and that has enormous consequences.

Put simply, our education system is not working for many students. Across California, nearly a quarter of students don't graduate from high school on time or at all. Graduation rates for Latinos and African Americans are even lower. And barely a third of the state's students who do graduate high school actually complete all of the courses needed for admission to a University of California or Cal State school. We're failing our students by not giving them the education they need.

The implications are clear: the economy suffers when our workers are not prepared. Unemployment among these youth is at a level not seen since the 1950s. Tens of billions of dollars are lost in wages and productivity as a result of dropouts, and our state's workers are not prepared for the jobs we do have and need filled.

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From the President: Building A Field

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
User is currently offline
| Aug 07, 2013

Dear Friends,

A few weeks ago, we shared an interactive infographic on the progress of Linked Learning in California, an initiative in which Irvine has invested significantly over the past several years. Linked Learning seeks to prepare young people for success in college, career and life through an education reform that integrates work experience and professions with relevant and rigorous academics. Through the infographic, we shared voices from many of the players involved in Linked Learning, as well as preliminary data from an evaluation that shows promising and successful results.

As we released the report, I reflected upon what it takes to get to this level of coordinated work, with a diverse set of partners working together toward one goal. Obviously, clarity of strategy helps. So does a commitment to collaboration. But, in considering our work with Linked Learning, I’m reminded of an important tool that foundations can employ to create and sustain change: building a field. It has been our commitment to a field-building approach that, we believe, has been critical to the progress thus far.

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Engagement and the 2012 Annual Report

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
User is currently offline
| Jul 29, 2013

When people engage in their communities, in their work, in their state, good things can happen. At The James Irvine Foundation, where our mission is to expand opportunity for the people of California, this idea of engagement – and working to improve Californian’s prospects to engage – has often been core to our work, no matter the program area. This seemed more so than ever in 2012, during our 75th anniversary as a foundation.

Today, we release our 2012 Annual Report in a digital format that we hope you will find interactive. Through photographs, charts, videos, and highlights, we aim to reflect on each of our program areas, the work we have supported with our resources, and the impact we seek to achieve.

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Rethinking Philanthropy’s Approach: A Q&A with Jim Canales

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Jul 19, 2013

Editor’s Note: Irvine Foundation President and CEO Jim Canales gave a keynote address at the Social Impact Exchange conference in New York City in June, 2013. You can view a video of that speech here. Following the conference, Cynthia Massarsky of the Social Impact Exchange at Growth Philanthropy Network interviewed him about his thoughts on philanthropy’s ability to have impact. The Q&A ran in the July issue of the Scaling Report and is reprinted here.

SIE: Jim, you gave a great keynote last month at the Social Impact Exchange’s Annual Conference on Scaling Impact – and made the bold statement that philanthropy is underperforming. You quoted the cartoon charter Pogo who said, “We have met the enemy and he is us!” What did you mean by that?

Canales: I wanted to suggest that as we consider why philanthropy is underperforming, we need to look first at ourselves. I do think that we can be our own worst enemy. Our intentions are certainly good, but how we do our work can often inhibit our ability to have impact, and that’s what I wanted to explore at the Social Impact Exchange’s annual conference.

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Opportunity for an Exchange

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
User is currently offline
| Jul 11, 2013

During my first few years as Irvine’s CEO, the tools available to me for communications were far more limited than today. I gave speeches, which often involved standing behind a podium and delivering a prepared text that had gone through multiple iterations. I wrote annual report letters which, at that time, represented one of the very few opportunities to communicate with a broader audience about the Foundation’s activities and our learning. Many of the forms of communication I used were both formal and designed to be one-way in nature, with little opportunity for interaction or exchange.

Today, the nature of communications has evolved and, with it, the importance of adapting to new modes and styles. For example, TED Talk formats frequently replace formal speeches, tweeting and blogging provide ample opportunities to share ideas in real time, and technology offers multiple channels to reach many different audiences and to engage with them at practically any time.

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