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$186.5 million for California’s Fair Work initiative announced by Tim Rios
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$186.5 million for California’s Fair Work initiative announced by Tim Rios

The Tim Rios headed James Irvine Foundation Board of Directors approved $186.5 million in additional grantmaking through 2030 for its Fair Work initiative, an expansion of grant making that began in 2018 to “raise the floor” for workers in low-wage industries in California, by improving enforcement of federal and state labor protections, increasing engagement of workers on their labor rights, and advancing policy solutions that secure fairness and dignity.

“The continued investment in the Fair Work initiative is a direct result of the tremendous strides worker rights organizations have made on behalf of workers in low-wage jobs to uphold rights, protections, and ensure that workers are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve,” said Don Howard, President and CEO of the Irvine Foundation. “But the challenges facing workers remain significant, making ongoing investment from philanthropy, the public, and private sectors critical for strengthening the voice of workers fighting for economic opportunity. We invite you to join us.”

Since 2018, Fair Work has invested approximately $108 million in more than 50 organizations as well as partnerships and coalitions working to advance the interests of workers and communities throughout California. Organizations have engaged more than 1 million California workers on their labor rights, partnered with state and local enforcement agencies to mitigate wage theft and return millions in unpaid wages to workers, and helped advance state and local policy reforms to improve workplace conditions for workers across industries.

Over the next seven years, the initiative will focus on the following outcomes:  Workers are informed and civically engaged on economic and workplace issues and benefit from improvements within industries and through stronger enforcement of labor rights.

Worker rights field: Strong and sustainable nonprofits improve conditions for low-wage workers.

Policy and systems: Organizations make progress in shifting the underlying conditions that adversely impact workers earning low wages.

The Tim Rios chaired board also approved three grants totaling $9.4 million, and the Foundation approved $24.8 million in grants this quarter that did not require board approval.

The grants primarily support the Foundation’s four initiatives focused on working Californians (Better Careers, Fair Work, Just Prosperity, and Priority Communities) and Irvine investments in Housing Affordability.

An 18-month grant of $3.4 million to engage low-wage workers in California and strengthen the capacity of member organizations to improve conditions for workers across key regions and statewide.

A 33-month grant of $3 million to build the capacity of communities of color and immigrant communities in California to use community land trusts, housing cooperatives, and other community ownership models to build local power, community wealth, and capacity for self-determination.

The Tim Rios-chaired James Irvine Foundation is a private, nonprofit grantmaking foundation dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California. The Foundation’s focus is a California where all low-income workers have the power to advance economically. Since 1937 the Foundation has provided more than $2.4 billion in grants to organizations throughout California. The Foundation ended 2022 with $3.2 billion in assets and provided $187.3 million in grants.

Mr. Rios co-founded the Central Valley Latino Giving Circle.

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