Insights & News

James Irvine Foundation Contributes Initial $5 Million to New Funding Partnership with College Futures

College Futures Foundation and The James Irvine Foundation have formed a new partnership to leverage funding that will create greater educational opportunities for California’s diverse students.

The James Irvine Foundation plans to make an initial contribution of $5 million to deepen College Futures’ investments in organizations, institutions, and leaders focused on closing equity gaps to college completion and increasing student success. The partnership may include additional investment from Irvine after the first two years. Both foundations have co-funded programs in the past, but the new arrangement will help streamline grantmaking and maximize impact.

Statewide, more than 50% of ninth graders will enroll in a public college or university right after high school, but fewer than 25% will graduate with a bachelor’s degree within six years. The majority of California’s K–12 students are low-income and young people of color, but these students are a minority of graduates from California’s public universities. By 2025, well over 1 in 3 of jobs in California will require college-educated workers, yet the projected shortfall of workers with some college education is nearly 1.5 million.

“Ensuring the college success of students facing the most formidable barriers will help all of us—our families, community, and state—thrive economically and socially. Realizing this goal requires more of organizations like ours,” said Monica Lozano, President & CEO of College Futures Foundation. “That means encouraging creativity and innovation, forming new and stronger partnerships, and tapping a wider range and deeper pool of resources.”

College Futures Foundation partners with organizations and leaders across California to catalyze systemic change, increase college degree completion, and close equity gaps so that the vision of a seamless, student-centered educational opportunity becomes a reality—and one that’s available to every student, regardless of zip code, skin color, or income.

“We greatly appreciate our long-standing relationship with The James Irvine Foundation and are excited about the opportunity to leverage their resources to achieve more,” said Lozano.

The James Irvine Foundation supports efforts to give all low-income workers in California the power to advance economically. This work includes exploring ways to remove the systemic barriers that prevent too many Californians from achieving financial stability and political influence.

“College Futures Foundation is a trusted, proven leader in creating opportunity for students and more equitable outcomes in higher education in California,” said Don Howard, President and CEO of The James Irvine Foundation. “As Irvine focuses on our main goal—every low-wage worker having the power to advance economically—College Futures is the perfect partner for directing funds toward student baccalaureate success and efforts to put students at the center of changing college systems.”

Leadership and partnership are essential to the strategy that College Futures Foundation is evolving to ensure more young people can achieve success in college and in life. That strategy comprises student-centric practices in institutions of public education, influential leadership for equitable student outcomes, and higher education finance and college affordability.

“We have high hopes and high expectations for California’s incredibly talented and diverse young people. We are ambitious about igniting systemic change in higher education on their behalf. When we work together with partners like Irvine and our passionate and tirelessly student-focused grantees, powerful possibilities open up,” Lozano said.

The majority of Irvine’s funds—more than 90%—will be regranted to other organizations and institutions. The first round of grants by College Futures under the new co-funding partnership will be made this month.