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Irvine in the News: October 2010

BY Thuy Nguyen Kumar
Thuy Nguyen Kumar
As Communications Project Manager, Thuy provides project support for a broad ran
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| Nov 01, 2010

In October 2010, the following published articles mentioned the work of the Foundation or our grantees:

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Irvine Announces $21.4 Million in New Grants

BY Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado was with The James Irvine Foundation from 2006 to 2013, last serving
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| Oct 06, 2010

San Francisco The Board of Directors of The James Irvine Foundation has approved 31 grants totaling nearly $21.4 million in support of the Foundation's mission of expanding opportunity for the people of California to participate in a vibrant, successful and inclusive society. (For a list of approved grants, click here.)

Improving Sustainability of Leading Arts Organizations

Grants approved as part of the Arts program include nearly $3.8 million to 12 leading organizations in the Central Valley that are participating in phase two of the Arts Regional Initiative. Each grantee proposes projects that would address the dual challenges of building organizational capacities and financial stability, while improving programs to increase cultural participation. These grants are aligned with the goal of Irvine’s Arts program, which seeks to promote a vibrant and inclusive artistic and cultural environment in California.

Advancing Reforms to Improve California’s State Governance and Fiscal Systems

Grants approved as part of the California Democracy program include a $6 million renewal grant to California Forward that provides support for the organization to advance reforms to improve California’s state governance and fiscal systems. California Forward is a bipartisan organization bringing Californians together to advance governance and fiscal reforms that lead to a more responsive, effective and accountable government in California. The grant is aligned with Irvine’s California Democracy program, which seeks to advance effective public policy decision making that is reflective of and responsive to all Californians.

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Twelve Central Valley Arts Institutions Receive $3.8 Million to Expand Audiences and Increase Financial Sustainability

BY Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado was with The James Irvine Foundation from 2006 to 2013, last serving
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| Oct 05, 2010
San FranciscoThe James Irvine Foundation today announced $3.8 million in grants to 12 arts institutions in the Central Valley that are committed to broadening and diversifying their audiences and strengthening their financial sustainability. The organizations selected this year for the Arts Regional Initiative are planning to use the grants to advance financial sustainability within a challenging economic environment and to increase cultural participation from underrepresented communities. While each institution is developing specific plans, initiative participants are updating their strategic plans to recalibrate for the current economy, strengthening and diversifying board leadership, and developing culturally relevant artistic programs to attract diverse audiences and deepen existing ones.

“The Central Valley has been hit harder than most California regions by the recession, so it is more important than ever that we emphasize our commitment to these regional arts organizations as they explore new ways of achieving financial sustainability and attracting culturally diverse audiences,” noted Jim Canales, the Irvine Foundation’s President and CEO.

The organizations represent a mix of artistic disciplines, including music, dance, opera, theater, visual arts and multidisciplinary arts. The grants will be awarded over three years and grantees will share resources, best practices and lessons learned. A complete list of grantees follows:

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From the President: Engaging Our Partners

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Oct 01, 2010
Jim Canales, President & CEO

Dear Friends,

Many ingredients contribute to effective philanthropy, but one of the more important approaches is an authentic commitment to listen and learn from the communities and institutions we support. While we at the Irvine Foundation can certainly do more in this regard — a theme I will turn to later in this letter — I wanted to share some recent activities we have undertaken to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to this approach.

For me, this commitment must start with the governing board. Irvine has built a board that both brings a range of perspectives and experiences to its leadership role and that broadly represents the rich diversity of our state. In addition, for each of the past four years, we have focused one of our quarterly board meetings on opportunities for board members to engage directly with community leaders and to see first hand the work of our partners.

Last year, our board met in Los Angeles, where we explored the challenges and opportunities facing arts organizations in the context of that region’s vibrant arts economy. The previous year we met in Sacramento, where our board heard from our partners in the public policy arena and observed through a site visit the power of the Linked Learning approach to high-school education. And just this year, in early October, we traveled to Fresno, with the goal of deepening the board’s collective understanding of both the challenges and opportunities facing the San Joaquin Valley. This region has been a priority for our funding in recent years based on its rapidly growing population and shifting demographics, a high proportion of low-income residents, and a history of being underserved by traditional philanthropy.

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A Conversation with John Jenks, Irvine’s Chief Investment Officer

BY Alex Barnum
Alex Barnum
Alex Barnum was a Communications Officer at The James Irvine Foundation from 200
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| Oct 01, 2010

Managing a $1.5 billion endowment is not for the faint of heart, particularly during one of the largest market upheavals in recent history. But then John Jenks, Irvine’s treasurer and chief investment officer since 2002, has some experience with outsized challenges.

From 1999 to 2002, John served as chief investment officer for the state of Alaska, guiding a $25 billion investment portfolio that included the state’s public employee and teacher pension funds as well as its general fund. And when he wasn’t managing state assets, he enjoyed braving the notoriously foul weather of the Inland Passage to catch 40-pound salmon.

Since joining Irvine, John has overseen important changes to the Foundation’s investment program. Under his direction, the Foundation has adopted a new, long-term strategic investment plan, significantly diversifying its portfolio and increasing investments in alternative assets.

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Irvine in the News: September 2010

BY Thuy Nguyen Kumar
Thuy Nguyen Kumar
As Communications Project Manager, Thuy provides project support for a broad ran
User is currently offline
| Oct 01, 2010

In September 2010, the following published articles mentioned the work of the Foundation or our grantees:

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Irvine in the News: August 2010

BY Thuy Nguyen Kumar
Thuy Nguyen Kumar
As Communications Project Manager, Thuy provides project support for a broad ran
User is currently offline
| Sep 01, 2010

In August 2010, the following published articles mentioned the work of the Foundation or our grantees:

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Irvine in the News: July 2010

BY Thuy Nguyen Kumar
Thuy Nguyen Kumar
As Communications Project Manager, Thuy provides project support for a broad ran
User is currently offline
| Aug 01, 2010

In July 2010, the following published articles mentioned the work of the Foundation or our grantees:

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San Francisco Chronicle: Linking Courses to Careers Improves Grad Rates

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Jul 25, 2010

When Cynthia Gutierrez arrived four years ago at Skyline High School in Oakland, she was neither an academic superstar nor someone who struggled with school. Like most kids, she says, she was "somewhere in the middle." Bored with her classes, she'd left behind a trail of C's and D's, and with some bad luck, she might have even lost interest in school altogether. "I didn't know what I was doing," she says.

Instead, Gutierrez had a stroke of good fortune. During her freshman year, a teacher told her about Skyline's education academy, a small school within the school centered around careers in education. When she heard the program included regular field trips, she signed up. Gutierrez and 25 of her classmates spent the next three years taking classes together on education-related topics like child development and how people learn, combining a rigorous college-prep curriculum with student-teaching trips to local elementary schools. In the close-knit environment of the academy, Gutierrez found new motivation, and she discovered a love of teaching.

"Before, I couldn't really connect with my teachers all that well," she says. "But in the academy, it was different." Gutierrez's grades improved, even with a more demanding course load that qualified her for admission to the state university system. Her teachers say she blossomed into a leader. And in June, she earned something that far too many of California's young people do not: a high school diploma.

Students like Gutierrez are far from the exception in California's public schools, but they aren't nearly as much of the rule as California needs. Over the past 10 years, while graduation rates at high schools across the country have been climbing, many of California's high schools have gotten worse. One out of 3 students in our state still doesn't graduate from high school, severely limiting career options - and sending negative consequences rippling across the state's economy. Barely a third of those who do, meanwhile, are considered "college ready." For students of color and those from low-income households, these numbers are even worse, but for years, education experts have been struggling to find a way to close this widening achievement gap.
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Audacious Ideas: 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 20, 2010
From the Tactical Philanthropy blog, July 19, 2010

Bill and Melinda Gates along with Warren Buffett recently announced their commitment to devote the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. Perhaps more notably, they are encouraging other billionaires to pledge a similar commitment, and a new website, www.givingpledge.org, has been launched to encourage their peers to follow suit and to document these pledges.

This is certainly audacious. And it got me thinking about what similar “pledges” those of us privileged enough to work within organized philanthropy should be thinking about. Obviously, each of our foundations effectively makes a pledge by deciding where to focus our grants, whether on issues of education, health, economic development, the environment or the arts.

But, I’d suggest there are other commitments we should consider related to how we as foundations engage in our work in addition to what we do with our resources. The big-dollar pledges that foundations can make are certainly compelling, but the ways in which we engage with our grantees deserve as much attention as what we fund. Our ability to create positive social impact through our grantmaking is directly related to our capacity to be effective and thoughtful partners with the organizations we are privileged to support.

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