Inland Action meets with Jason Cordova, The James Irvine Foundation

On May 7, 2024 members of Inland Action met with Jason Cordova, Senior Program Officer with the James Irvine Foundation.

The James Irvine Foundation is no longer associated with the Irvine Family but is a private foundation. It has a $3.2B endowment and grants between $160M and $180M each year. They have two restrictions: their grants will not supplant government funding and grants must benefit Californians. Their mission is to expand economic opportunity for the people of California. Their singular goal is for all California low-income workers to have the power to advance economically. Their grantmaking initiatives support better careers, fair work, just prosperity and priority communities. They also focus on housing affordability and leadership awards.

A 2022 report from the UC Berkeley Labor Center found that:

  • Almost one out of every three Californians earns low wages. That translates to 4.3 million low-wage workers.
  • 30% of California workers earned less than $18.02/hour in 2021.
  • Workers of color constitute more than 75% of California’s workforce earning low wages.

Californians are struggling:

  • 5 million California families — 97% of which have a working adult — were not paid enough to meet basic needs in 2021.
  • In 2020 California’s top 10% of earners made 12.3X the income of the bottom 10%.
  • About 60% of Latinx and Black households in California lost earnings during the pandemic as of late 2020.

The Foundation works to find solutions for this issues and more.