Across the state, we’ve heard from Californians about their aspirations, struggles, and frustrations. Now what?


listening to learn

Listening does not, on its own, solve big problems, but it is vital first step toward doing so. That’s why we listened to hundreds of California residents working yet still struggling with poverty — to better understand who they are, what they care about, why they continue to struggle, and what they want for their future.

Following the 2016 Community Listening Sessions, The James Irvine Foundation gave a grant to the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) to survey more than 3,300 California residents, including more than 1,000 who are working but struggling with poverty. The findings presented in the 2018 California Workers Report provide us a unique snapshot of California’s workforce and how the views of those working but struggling with poverty compares to workers who are economically secure.

At the Foundation, we are now committed to the important work of turning what we have learned into meaningful grantmaking — and change.


Next Steps

The James Irvine Foundation plans to use this work in several ways:


1. Inform our strategy and direction.

We will use our new understanding to shape and refine our strategy as a philanthropic organization. We will rely on common themes to inform our grantmaking, our learning, and future research efforts.


2. Create Multiplier Effects.

We will share this research publicly — with our grantees and partners in our own philanthropic networks, as well as with those who engaged in this dialogue with us. We hope that the results of our listening will have ripple effects throughout the public, private, and nonprofit sectors as we collectively gain a better understanding of who faces barriers to opportunity and how we can eliminate those barriers.


3. Continue to Listen and Learn.

Listening to gain empathy and understanding is something we will continue to do. We are eager to listen, learn, and see what kind of impact we can make over time.