James Irvine Foundation

The James Irvine Foundation is a philanthropic nonprofit organization established to benefit the people of California. It seeks to promote social equity of America’s most populous state through its grants to expand economic and political opportunity for low-income Californians.[1]

The foundation was created in 1937 by James Harvey Irvine, Sr. (1867–1947), as a charitable organization to hold controlling stock in the Irvine Company, because his intended successor, James Harvey Irvine, Jr. (1894–1935) died of tuberculosis in 1935.[2] Since its inception, the foundation has awarded over $1 billion in grants to more than 3,000 nonprofit organizations.[3] Today it is the largest multi-purpose foundation focused exclusively on California.[4]

The foundation is based in San Francisco, with an office in Los Angeles.

GrantmakingEdit

In January 2016, the foundation announced it would focus its grantmaking on increasing the political voice and economic opportunity of low-wage workers in California.[5] The foundation previously made grants in three core program areas: Arts, California Democracy, and Youth.[6][7]

HistoryEdit

James Irvine's father was an Irish immigrant who arrived in San Francisco in 1849 during the California Gold Rush and established himself as a successful businessman. Later, he branched out geographically and acquired some 110,000 acres (450 km2) of land in what is now Orange County. Upon his father’s death, James Irvine inherited the land, which at the time was used as a stock ranch, and turned it into one of the largest, most productive agricultural enterprises in the state.[8]

In response to the Great Depression, James Irvine decided to establish a foundation in 1937 that would promote the "general well-being of the citizens and residents of the state of California."[9] The foundation became the primary stockholder of The Irvine Company, which owned the Irvine ranch. With the rapid growth of Southern California during the 1940s and 50s, The Irvine Company was under pressure to develop its property. But in contrast to the unplanned sprawl nearby, the company worked to ensure that development was well planned and included a range of uses on its property such as higher education and agriculture.[10]

Eventually, in the 1970s, the Irvine Foundation was forced to sell its shares in the company and diversify its holdings. When James Irvine died in 1947, his gift to the foundation was valued at $5.6 million. By 2007, these assets had grown to more than $1.8 billion.[11]

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ Mission Statement The James Irvine Foundation.
  2. ^ For the People of California: A History of the James Irvine Foundation, Heather G. Graham, 1991.
  3. ^ Assets and Financial Information Archived 2009-08-04 at the Wayback Machine The James Irvine Foundation
  4. ^ Brochure Archived 2009-08-04 at the Wayback Machine The James Irvine Foundation, 2008
  5. ^ Another Big Grant Maker Redirects Its Giving Toward Poverty Chronicle of Philanthropy, 2016.
  6. ^ Year in Review, 2013 The James Irvine Foundation, 2013
  7. ^ Foundation Annual Reports, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 2008.
  8. ^ For the People of California: A History of the James Irvine Foundation, Heather G. Graham, 1991.
  9. ^ For the People of California: A History of the James Irvine Foundation, Heather G. Graham, 1991.
  10. ^ For the People of California: A History of the James Irvine Foundation, Heather G. Graham, 1991.
  11. ^ Assets and Financial Information Archived 2009-08-04 at the Wayback Machine The James Irvine Foundation

External linksEdit