James Irvine Foundation: Grants for College Readiness

OVERVIEW: The James Irvine Foundation's main initiatives are the arts, civic participation, immigrant integration, linked learning and pay for success. Its linked learning program aims to improve college readiness in California.

IP TAKE: Irvine's linked learning initiative aims to make education more meaningful to high school students and thereby better prepare them for college. The program has been successful in California. This funder does not accept unsolicited proposals.

PROFILE: James Irvine, an agricultural and real estate pioneer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, founded the James Irvine Foundation in 1937 to “promote the general well-being of the citizens and residents of the state of California.” Based in San Francisco, the foundation continues to invest in economic and political opportunity for Californians through its arts engagement, civic participation, immigrant integration, linked learning and pay for success initiatives. The foundation also runs a leadership awards program and three exploratory initiatives: better careers, fair work and postsecondary success.  

The Irvine Foundation supports college readiness through its linked learning initiative. According to the foundation's website linked learning is "a successful approach to education based on the idea that students work harder and dream bigger if education is relevant to them." The approach has been used successfully in California since 2006, and in 2008, the Irvine Foundation established the Linked Learning Alliance, "a statewide coalition of education, industry and community organizations dedicated to improving California's high schools and preparing students for success in college, career and life." Irvine's linked learning grantees include Children Now, a research and advocacy organization that supports the inclusion of college readiness in K-12 accountability systems in California, and the National Academy Foundation, which involves business and industry leaders in the preparation of high school students for college and career success. 

The James Irvine Foundation’s grants range from $50,000 to $2 million, supporting organizations of every size. While the foundation’s main geographic focus in the state of California, some national research and policy initiatives have been funded. A database of grants is available on the foundation’s website.

The James Irvine Foundation does not accept unsolicited inquiries or proposals.

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