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In the News: August 2014

BY Thuy Nguyen Kumar
Thuy Nguyen Kumar
As Communications Project Manager, Thuy provides project support for a broad ran
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| Sep 02, 2014

In August 2014, the following published articles mentioned the work of the Foundation or our grantees:

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In the News: June 2014

BY Thuy Nguyen Kumar
Thuy Nguyen Kumar
As Communications Project Manager, Thuy provides project support for a broad ran
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| Jul 01, 2014

In June 2014, the following published articles mentioned the work of the Foundation or our grantees:

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From the President: Learning from Our Stakeholders

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Nov 05, 2012

Dear Friends,

I described in my last letter some of the institutional planning work underway at the Irvine Foundation this year. Related to that effort, and as part of our continuing commitment to learning from the Foundation’s various stakeholders, we conducted a stakeholder assessment survey to receive feedback about our work. I am using this quarter’s letter to share more about this survey as well as what we learned from it.

In-depth, confidential interviews were conducted by a third-party consultant with more than 60 leaders in our fields of work, the nonprofit community in general, and philanthropy. The interview questions focused on awareness and perceptions of the Irvine Foundation; the perceived impact of our work, broadly and in our program areas; and feedback on direct experience and interactions with the Foundation. We also asked questions about the challenges and opportunities facing California.

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Irvine at 75: A Look Back, A Look Ahead

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Sep 10, 2012 1

By Jim Canales

In 1937, California’s population was approaching six million residents, the most iconic bridge in the world made its grand debut and a wealthy agricultural pioneer decided to give back much of his fortune to Californians by founding The James Irvine Foundation. As the Irvine Foundation marks its 75th anniversary this year, we naturally look back on our decades of grantmaking with a sense of pride in the accomplishments of our grantees who have worked so hard to help improve the lives of Californians. But we also use the occasion to look ahead and explore what is possible for this great state and how we might continue to play a role in expanding opportunity for the people of California.

We commemorate our 75th anniversary with a new timeline of significant moments in the history of the Irvine Foundation and our grantees, including photos that capture the role of Irvine grantees in responding to some of California’s biggest challenges. Take a look and let us know what you think — we hope you are inspired by the impact our grantees have had on a diverse range of issues over time, representing the freedom that James Irvine provided to the Foundation’s trustees to adapt and evolve the organization’s focus based on the changing needs in California.

What strikes me about the timeline is how it documents our evolution from a somewhat insular institution that funded causes close to home, to a strategic partner to our grantees, working with them to tackle the biggest issues of the day. This transition mirrors the century-long evolution of private philanthropy as the sector has recognized the opportunity and the responsibility to be bolder in our aspirations and to take a strategic approach to solving societal problems. For Irvine, the days are long gone when our Board of Directors would decide which organizations to fund based largely on personal connections or institutional profile.

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A Blueprint for Community Foundation Impact

BY Anne Vally
Anne Vally
Anne Vally was with The James Irvine Foundation from 2000 to 2013, last serving
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| Aug 06, 2012 1

One of the most fundamental values we hold at Irvine is to share what we’re learning. We want our colleagues — both nonprofits and other funders — to be able to apply the most promising ideas, approaches and strategies to their work – and to also avoid the ones that aren’t working. We will be putting this value into action at the upcoming Council on Foundations 2012 Fall Conference for Community Foundations.

We know that all community foundations want to grow assets and create positive changes in their communities, and Irvine will be hosting a special workshop to share strategies on how to make this happen. The workshop is built around the lessons and approaches developed over six years of intensive work to help a set of emerging community foundations in California become stronger leaders in their communities as part of our Community Foundations Initiative II. Between 2005 and 2011, this group grew their collective assets 12 percent annually (from $73 million to $131 million), compared to 7 percent for their peers nationwide. At the same time, they increased their grantmaking, awarding $4 million more in grants each and every year for projects in their communities.

We began sharing some of the lessons and tools from this work in 2007, with our Growing Smarter report, and over the years, we have hosted sold-out webinars and conference programs in partnership with the Council on Foundations to disseminate this knowledge to the field.

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Investing in Creative Placemaking

BY Josephine Ramirez
Josephine Ramirez
As Arts Program Director, Josephine is leading the implementation of a new grant
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| Jun 13, 2012

A new wave of creative placemaking is underway as part of ArtPlace, an innovative partnership model of foundations, corporations and government agencies that supports community building through the arts. Irvine is pleased to support this unique program for the second year in a row, having contributed $2 million to ArtPlace to support California-based projects among those supported nationally by the initiative.

ArtPlace was created in 2010 as a partnership among 11 foundations, six banks and eight federal agencies (including the National Endowment for the Arts) to transform urban and rural communities throughout the country by using the arts as an economic driver. To date, the initiative has raised more than $50 million in support of the various projects. The most recent cycle of grants, announced Monday, provides $15.4 million in support of 47 projects that were chosen out of more than 2,200 letters of inquiry. Six of those 47 projects will take place in California.

The approach being taken by ArtPlace, known as “creative placemaking,” has emerged over the past 20 years as a promising way to increase the vitality of communities and help them grow. Irvine is pleased to support this partnership because of ArtPlace’s resonance with our belief that the arts create meaningful ongoing “bridging and bonding” connections among Californians, fostering a vibrant, inclusive society. In 2011, the National Endowment for the Arts built on its two decades of work in creative placemaking by announcing the first grants in its new Our Town program, designed to support public-private partnerships to strengthen the arts while energizing the overall community. ArtPlace takes this movement a step further, as the first major public-private partnership to encourage creative placemaking across America.

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The Power of Storytelling

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| May 04, 2012

Having just returned from the Council on Foundations’ annual conference this past week in Los Angeles, I was able to join with 1,300 of my colleagues in philanthropy to discuss the challenges and trends we are seeing. Not surprisingly, there was a great deal of conversation about the economy, growing income disparities, the effects of federal and state budget cuts, increasing polarization in our public discourse and other issues of shared concern. At the same time, there were some important, common themes that emerged and that serve as good reminders for how we can continue to enhance philanthropy’s contribution to addressing these various challenges.

One particularly resonant theme throughout the conference related to the power of storytelling. Good stories can shine a spotlight on our grantees’ successes and on the issues we care most about. Most importantly, stories might be the most effective way to encourage others to join us in forging solutions. The power of stories was evident in the conference’s opening video of rebuilding and recovery in Los Angeles, New Orleans and Detroit, showing the central role that philanthropy can play in rebuilding after crises and strengthening communities in the process.

I was reminded of the video’s images of communities working together when PolicyLink’s Angela Glover Blackwell spoke in Tuesday morning’s session on America’s vanishing middle class. Angela is a powerful voice in the national discourse on social justice and she dramatically advocated for society to see the widening gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” as the nation’s problem: “What happens to the people who the country has been too comfortable leaving behind will shape the future of our country,” she remarked, an important reminder of the need to include the disadvantaged in our ongoing narrative about the changing economy. (Please watch a video of Angela commenting on her panel, along with other Irvine grantees who were interviewed about the conference.)

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Small Calif. Community Foundations Get Big Results

BY Anne Vally
Anne Vally
Anne Vally was with The James Irvine Foundation from 2000 to 2013, last serving
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| Apr 16, 2012 2

Over the past six years, I’ve had the privilege of working closely with a set of small, young community foundations in under-resourced parts of California as they aim to grow faster, smarter, and increase the positive impact they are having in their communities. With Irvine’s Community Foundations Initiative II (CFI II), I have learned one indelible lesson from these small but mighty organizations: take a deep breath and try it.

The “it” can be whatever you see that has the potential to change your organization and your community. Try new ways of engaging donors. Be bold and ask board members to give more. Bring people together to talk about thorny issues. Experiment with social media.

Through CFI II, we invested $12 million over six years in the growth and leadership of seven small California community foundations, with impressive results. Between 2005 and 2011, the group grew their collective assets 12 percent annually (going from $73 million to $131 million), compared to seven percent for their peers nationwide. At the same time, they increased their grantmaking, awarding $4 million more in grants each year for projects in their communities.

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Highlights of Leadership Award Media Coverage

BY Alex Barnum
Alex Barnum
Alex Barnum was a Communications Officer at The James Irvine Foundation from 200
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| Mar 01, 2012

Media coverage of this year’s Leadership Awards included three op-ed articles by or about award recipients in some of California’s largest newspapers. These leaders are addressing critical challenges for California, and the coverage provided an opportunity to highlight their successful approaches for a broader audience, including state policymakers. After all, our goal for the Leadership Awards is not just to recognize good work and inspiring leadership, but to help expand their approaches for the benefit of more Californians.

  • Health reform’s missing link – nurse practitioners (Los Angeles Times, 2/22/12)
    Award recipient Patricia Dennehy, director of the nurse-managed GLIDE Health Services center in San Francisco, calls for an expanded role for nurse practitioners under federal health care reform. With millions more Californians expected to seek care under health care reform and a growing shortage of primary-care physicians, she argues nurse practitioners can - and should - fill the gap.
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California School Network Readies Students for College and Career

BY Daniel Silverman
Daniel Silverman
A native Californian, Daniel Silverman leads the Foundation’s communications wor
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| Jul 01, 2011
This article first appeared in Education Week, June 9, 2011. Reprinted with permission from Editorial Projects in Education.

To the national debate about whether students should pursue career and technical education or college preparation, a California program wants to add an emphatic declaration: Yes.

The refusal to choose between one instructional emphasis or the other symbolizes the work being done to build career pathways in nine school districts as part of Linked Learning, an initiative cited as a national model of career and technical education.

One of the places the project is unfolding is in a cluster of high schools in the Porterville Unified School District, which serves a predominantly Latino, low-income community here among the San Joaquin Valley’s olive and orange groves.

At one school, a half-dozen students huddle around big desktop computers. The complex formulas they’re calculating and programming into the computer will tell a robot how to restack blocks of blue and red cubes. When they give the robot the command, the job comes off perfectly. Barely old enough to drive, these students are learning to negotiate the real-world engineering that shapes manufacturing.

A few hallways away, teenagers master the high-tech tools of the performing arts world. Aspiring musicians sit at rows of electric pianos, listening through headsets to the music they create as it is automatically notated on computer screens. At another school, students juggle computers and soundboards to produce a morning broadcast.

When they’re not in classrooms, students from these schools are out in the community, working in local engineering companies, staging musicals with preschoolers, or helping design sound for a street concert.

The point, leaders of the work say, is to create a more relevant, engaging school experience for young people by blending the rigorous core academics they need for college with the career and technical education that prepares them for good jobs, and to do it in an applied, hands-on way that includes real-life work experience.

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Why Would a Foundation Tweet?

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Feb 23, 2011

From Philanthropy 2173 blog, February 22, 2011

A few days ago I checked my Twitter stream and saw several items tagged #JIFLAB. I could tell that these tweets were coming from staff of The James Irvine Foundation. I pinged the people I knew and asked "What's #JIFLAB? What's going on?"

I've been asked the question "Why should my foundation tweet?" at least 1,000 times. My usual answer has to do with listening. Chances are some of the people you want to learn from are using Twitter. Chances are they are using it to be part of interesting/important/relevant/useful/ thought-provoking conversations. If your job requires you to know what the key people in a certain field are talking about, then listening to and being part of the conversations on Twitter is part of that.

One of the people in the#JIFLAB conversation was the Foundation's CEO, Jim Canales. I asked Jim (on Twitter, of course) if I could interview him for this blog on why the Foundation was tweeting and what they hoped to learn.

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Sacramento Bee: Californians can seize rare chance to reform government

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Feb 06, 2011
California Congress
The following op-ed article by Jim Canales, Irvine's President and CEO, ran in the Sacramento Bee on February 6, 2011.

To some, the stage might appear to be set for the same disenchanting story. A new governor has arrived in Sacramento, only to find the state facing another enormous budget shortfall – $25 billion over the next 18 months. As always, the governor's proposed budget is provoking disagreements. Sides are chosen, lines are drawn, positions harden, and billions in potential spending cuts and taxes are once again the talk of the town.

But this time, for those of us who firmly believe we can find a way to make our government work more effectively, there is a much rarer commodity that is cropping up in the Capitol: hope.

It's difficult to speak of hope when it comes to fixing our state government without sounding naive. Yet, we see before us a confluence of forces that is creating one of those unique – perhaps once-in-a-generation – opportunities to rise above the political fray and shape the future of our state.

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California Mayors Roundtable To Address Education Issues

BY Daniel Silverman
Daniel Silverman
A native Californian, Daniel Silverman leads the Foundation’s communications wor
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| Jan 22, 2009

Shortly after taking office in 2006, Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster invited the local school superintendent, Christopher J. Steinhauser, to his home for lunch. The newly elected mayor had no official role in the Long Beach schools, but he wanted to get the superintendent's support for a program Foster proposed to prepare high school students for careers in the fast-growing building industry.

During that first meeting, the superintendent and the mayor talked more than they ate, Steinhauser recalled, and agreed to create the ACE Academy, which opened last year on an existing high school campus. The academy offers students job training and hands-on experience in architecture, construction and engineering along with other rigorous high school course work. It seeks to prepare students for apprenticeship programs after graduation and careers in architecture and engineering.

California Mayors' Education Roundtable

"With the roundtable, we can encourage more effective governance by amplifying the voices of the people who run our cities every day."

– Anne Stanton, director of the Irvine
Foundation's Youth program

Steinhauser made the academic arrangements, while Foster lined up support from the building trades and began raising the $500,000 in private donations he'd promised to help pay for the new academy. "This program worked remarkably well," Foster said. "We have 54 students now, and we will have more than 400 students over a four-year period."

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An Interview with John McGuirk

BY Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado was with The James Irvine Foundation from 2006 to 2013, last serving
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| Mar 22, 2007
Although arts organizations throughout California face an array of challenges on many fronts, those challenges can be viewed as great opportunities to adapt and innovate. So says John McGuirk, the new Arts Program Director at The James Irvine Foundation.

McGuirk joined Irvine in October and brings more than 15 years of substantive experience with arts organization and in arts philanthropy. McGuirk has worked as a Program Officer for Performing Arts at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and as the Director of Grants Programs for Arts Council Silicon Valley. He also worked for seven years at the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View, and held positions at both the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Opera. A graduate of Grove City College, McGuirk earned his masters degree in public management at Carnegie Mellon University, with a concentration in arts management.

Arts Program Director John McGuirk (Photo by John Blaustein)

"Despite the critical issues facing the nonprofit arts sector, I remain optimistic," said John McGuirk, Arts Program Director for the James Irvine Foundation. "We have many opportunities to innovate and adapt. California will continue to be one of the most dynamic and generative environments for arts and culture in the nation and in the world."

He recently sat down with Irvine Quarterly to discuss his views on the importance of arts within California and how his background as an artist helped steer him to his current position at Irvine.

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Irvine Grants Assist Farmworkers Left Jobless by January Freeze

BY Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado was with The James Irvine Foundation from 2006 to 2013, last serving
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| Mar 22, 2007
Last January's sub-freezing temperatures caused more than $1.4 billion in damages to Californias oranges, lemons, avocados and other signature crops. It was a disaster for many farmers and resulted in higher prices for consumers. But it has also become a broader human emergency.

Tens of thousands of farmworkers, packers and truck drivers — who play an integral role in the success of California agriculture — now face weeks and even months of unemployment because of the freeze. Many have been left without enough money for food, rent or mortgage payments, utilities, and other essentials.

Orange trees in Exeter, Calif., damaged by Januarys sub-freezing temperatures (AP photo)

"More than two months after the freeze, we are seeing needs increase, not decrease, in our community," said Mary Panesar, Executive Director of the Desert Community Foundation in Palm Desert. "These grants will provide immediate relief in response to this human crisis by providing much-needed assistance to local farmworkers and their families."

The impact has been hardest among communities in the east San Joaquin Valley, the heart of the state's citrus growing industry. But the effects are also being felt in the Coachella Valley and the Central Coast, and among workers who tend a range of crops, including strawberries, lettuce, artichokes, and others.

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Irvine Sponsors Governors Summit on Preparing Students for College and Career

BY Daniel Silverman
Daniel Silverman
A native Californian, Daniel Silverman leads the Foundation’s communications wor
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| Mar 22, 2007
California leaders in education, business, labor, and government came together for an historic summit meeting in March to strategize about how career and technical education can help transform Californias high schools and maintain the states competitive edge in the global economy.

The summit, held in a cavernous sheet-metal manufacturing plant in Torrance, was called by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has made career and technical education (CTE) a centerpiece of his education policy agenda. He challenged the more than 100 people in attendance to use the event as a launching pad for an ambitious effort to expand CTE across the state.

Youth Program Director Anne Stanton at the Governors Summit on Career and Technical Education

"Irvine is strongly committed to CTE reforms essential for California's children," said Anne Stanton, the Foundation's Youth Program Director. "We look forward to working with the Governor, the Legislature, and other key public policy leaders on helping shape this issue critical for the future of our state."

"This summit is, of course, the beginning. It will open up the dialogue," said Gov. Schwarzenegger, who himself is a product of career and technical education in his native Austria. "I'm looking forward to hearing all the different proposals so we can create a long-term blueprint, and really move forward and expand career tech education."

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The Fielding Institute: Graduate-Level Training for Nonprofit Professionals

BY Daniel Silverman
Daniel Silverman
A native Californian, Daniel Silverman leads the Foundation’s communications wor
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| Mar 21, 2004
In today's competitive funding environment with accountability being key, nonprofit organizations must demonstrate that they efficiently and effectively manage programs. A new educational resource for professionals in the nonprofit sector can help participants develop the skills to meet that challenge. If you conduct or manage evaluations, consult for nonprofits, or work as a corporate trainer or change agent, you could benefit.

With support from the Irvine Foundation, Fielding Graduate Institute (FGI) offers a 12-week graduate certificate program through its Center for Innovation in the Nonprofit Sector that assists nonprofit executives, board members, philanthropists, and consultants to develop their skills in designing and conducting evaluations of program effectiveness that support organizational learning and change.

Having found that such evaluations contribute to increased knowledge about best practices, organizational effectiveness, and policy development, the Irvine Foundation has partnered with Fielding Graduate Institute to strengthen the professional skills of program evaluators and organizational development consultants to strategically design and use evaluation for organizational learning and improvement.

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Irvine's Morris M. Doyle Conference Rooms

BY Daniel Silverman
Daniel Silverman
A native Californian, Daniel Silverman leads the Foundation’s communications wor
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| Mar 22, 2003
Most philanthropic organizations, such as foundations like The James Irvine Foundation, exist primarily to award grants, but there are additional resources that they may provide to the communities they serve and to advance their mission and programmatic priorities.

As an extension of Irvine's grantmaking approach and mission to serve the people of California, the Foundation has designated 2000 square feet of its offices in San Francisco to meeting space (the Foundation also has offices in Fresno and Los Angeles). Named in honor of former long-time Chairman Morris M. Doyle, these conference rooms were designed to provide maximum flexibility and accommodate groups up to 50 people at a time. While the facility is used for meetings initiated and planned by the Foundation, it also is available for use by Foundation grantees and other outside groups. More information about the Doyle Conference Rooms and the policies that govern their use are available in the brochure "Conference & Meeting Space at The James Irvine Foundation: Sharing an asset with the community" (pdf file | 292 KB).

Another benefit is that the space allows the Foundation to help organizations and projects that we would not otherwise be able to support given our focused areas of funding and finite resources. In 2003, Irvine provided the space to both grantees and non-grantees, such as:

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Film as the Centerpiece of Community Engagement

BY Alex Barnum
Alex Barnum
Alex Barnum was a Communications Officer at The James Irvine Foundation from 200
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| Sep 22, 2002

The new film Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet—which will premiere on PBS on December 18—is already garnering attention across the country through a unique collaboration with the producers of Muslims, which will be rebroadcast nationally on PBS's FRONTLINE on December 19th. Together, the programs form the centerpiece of an extraordinary community engagement campaign and educational outreach effort known as The Islam Project. According to the campaign's organizers, Active Voice, the project is having an unprecedented impact.

These two films are part of an innovative new approach by groups in San Francisco and Los Angeles to address the often daunting gap between Muslims and non-Muslims in California. The Islam Project, a community engagement campaign launched in early 2002, uses these PBS documentaries-IPF/FRONTLINE'S Muslims and UPF/Kikim Media's Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet—as springboards for strategic community building, public awareness campaigns, and educational efforts on the subject of contemporary Islam, which is the fastest growing religion in the United States.

A pilgrimage (or hajj) to Mecca represents one of the peak experiences in the life of a Muslim.

Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet tells the story of the 7th century prophet who changed world history in 23 years, and continues to shape the lives of more than 1.2 billion people. Remarkably, this story that plays an increasingly vital role in world affairs remains virtually unknown to most Americans. Muhammad will create a lively, thorough, and honest portrait of Muhammad, the person and the prophet. It takes viewers not only to ancient Arabian sites where Muhammad's story unfolded, but into the homes, mosques and work places of some of America's seven million Muslims to discover the many ways in which they follow Muhammad's example.

Along with the films, The Islam Project hopes to continue its work in providing powerful new tools to help us understand each other, build bridges, and imagine a productive and harmonious multicultural and religiously diverse future. The forums and materials help create safe places for people to grapple with challenges and fears, and also provide an opportunity and tools to educate our leaders, teachers and public servants, so that they may begin to set a new tone.

The community component of The Islam Project is being spearheaded by Active Voice, a non-profit, San Francisco-based team of communications professionals who believe that stories, particularly those culled from high quality and emotionally gripping documentary films, can be used as ice-breakers, conversation triggers and "sensitizers" in a range of diverse settings. Active Voice specializes in identifying this content, and serving as an interface between filmmakers and the community-based organizations that could benefit from this work. They propose to create-in collaboration with these stakeholders-the modules, training materials and workshops that trainers can employ and replicate well into the future.

"The fact is that many of us non-Muslims know very little about Islam," says Ellen Schneider, executive director of Active Voice. "Powerful visual stories told in both Muslims and Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet enable viewers to not only learn, but also to identify with the Muslim experience and connect emotionally to individuals portrayed in the films. These connections have sparked animated and enthusiastic discussions and personal discoveries by viewers-providing a powerful opening for dialogue. We're helping guide those conversations toward action, like coalition building, anti-bias work and sensitivity training."

Implemented nationally, the project has already taken root in 10 communities. Community leaders have particularly embraced the flexible, educational, and strategic approach of the campaign. For example, in Cleveland, community partners decided to use the materials as professional development tools, organizing an event for school superintendents. In Boston, partners like the Public Conversations Project, the Islamic Society of Boston, and the International Institute of Boston are using The Islam Project as a catalyst for at least four strategic initiatives involving faith leaders, civil rights advocates and educators. In Detroit, plans are underway to use the materials as sensitization tools for youth enrolled in a year-long anti-hate project. This national effort, bringing together filmmakers, public officials, activists, community leaders, and the general public for substantial discussion and education, offers a number of solutions to the challenges facing Muslims and their neighbors in cities and towns across America.

Links:

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