Kern Community Foundation receives $450,000 grant
Jun 25, 2008

The Kern Community Foundation announced today that it will receive a $450,000 grant from the James Irvine Foundation.  The three-year grant is part of Irvine's Community Foundations Initiative II (CFI II), begun in 2005 to strengthen local philanthropy in traditionally under-served areas of the state.

In the first phase of Irvine's initiative (2005-2008), the Kern Community Foundation received a grant of $425,000.  With this additional grant, it brings The James Irvine Foundations investment in our foundation to $910,000.

Designed to stimulate local giving, the new grant provides the Foundation with continued assistance through 2011.  Irvine funding provides support for core operations and for technical assistance that focuses on grantmaking skills, executive and board leadership development, financial sustainability, and visibility.

Kern Community Foundation will designate $135,000 for re-granting to Kern County arts organizations as part of the grant terms.  The goal behind the re-granting funds is that they will help cultivate broad local support for the arts by directly supporting local arts organizations while providing visibility to the local foundation.

The Foundation will construct the new arts re-granting program so that it concurrently builds an endowment for sustainable support of Kern arts and culture.  The endowment will be modeled on Kern Community Foundation's Women's & Girls' Fund.  Foundation Program and Community Partnerships Officer Amy Smith explains, "The Irvine grant allows us to experience the excitement of immediate grant making while developing a base of permanent funding.  Thanks to Irvine, we build automatic momentum."

CFI II evolved from Irvine's first Community Foundations Initiative (1995 - 2003), which benefited large California community foundations.  CFI II provides support to emerging community foundations with assets under $20 million to help stimulate new giving in their locales.  Nine community foundations, with assets ranging from $3 million to $17 million, were competitively selected to participate in the initiative in 2005.  Kern Community Foundation was among these.

New Irvine grants, totaling $4 million, provide continued assistance through 2011 to seven of these community foundations, including Kern Community Foundation, nearby San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation, and the Fresno Regional Foundation.

"This initiative is based on our belief that timely investment in a small community foundation's internal development and external programs can make a big difference with regard to accelerating asset growth, attracting donors and reaching new levels of impact," said James E. Canales, President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine Foundation.  "The Kern Community Foundation has demonstrated remarkable commitment and ability to build new resources for their communities.  We are pleased to continue working with them toward this end."

The announcement of expanded support comes on the heels of mid-term evaluation results that highlighted the success of the initiative in strengthening governance, sustainable growth and visibility.  Since entering CFI II in 2005, Kern Community Foundation increased assets from $5 million to $15 million and expanded its annual grant-making from $281,000 to $1,602,000.

"We are very pleased to be the recipient of this grant from the Irvine Foundation," Kern Community Foundation President Noel Daniells stated.  "We feel that we are ready to assume our planned role as the leader in community philanthropy in Kern County, and this funding will help us achieve this important goal."

In May, Irvine made an additional Flex Fund grant of $35,000 to the Kern Community Foundation.  Unrelated to CFI II funding, this award supports the Kern Community Foundation's planned transition to replace Daniells, who will retire at the end of 2008.  KCF officially announced last week that the CEO position is open.  A complete position description is available on the Foundation's employment site and complete information is also available from the search firm of Rusher, Loscavio & LoPresto.  Contact Bob Fisher at rfisher@rll.com.

To learn how the Kern Community Foundation is working to connect donors to causes that matter most in Kern County, visit our Giving page.

About The James Irvine Foundation

The James Irvine Foundation is a private, nonprofit grantmaking foundation dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California to participate in a vibrant, successful and inclusive society.  The Foundation's grantmaking is organized around three program areas:  Arts, Youth and California perspectives, which focuses on improving decision making on significant state issues.  Since 1937, the Foundation has provided over $1 billion in grants to more than 3,000 nonprofit organizations throughout California.  With current assets of over $1.8 billion, the Foundation expects to make grants of $81 million in 2008 for the people of California.

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