SAN FRANCISCO and MENLO PARK, Calif. — The James Irvine Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation are providing more than $700,000 in grants to organizations that are cultivating the next generation of arts leaders in California through professional development, networking, and mentorships. Hewlett’s Board of Directors approved $400,000 in grants in support of such efforts in November, and Irvine’s Board of Directors approved $340,000 in grants last month, with additional funding possible.

Research conducted by both foundations found that the arts sector faces critical leadership challenges during the next 10 to 15 years as the “baby boom” generation of arts leaders enters retirement age. Although there is a good supply of midcareer arts managers who are able to fill the roles, most arts organizations lack the resources for training and other kinds of professional development that will better prepare these promising young leaders to become effective nonprofit executives, the research found.

To help address this issue, Irvine and Hewlett are supporting several professional networks of emerging arts leaders that are providing their members with seminars, workshops, networking opportunities, and other forms of professional development. Both Hewlett and Irvine provided grants to the San Francisco Bay Area Emerging Arts Professionals (through fiscal sponsor Intersection for the Arts) and GenArts Silicon Valley (through fiscal sponsor 1stACT Silicon Valley), as well as the Center for Cultural Innovation‘s Creative Capacity Fund, which offers arts professionals direct support for professional development. Irvine also provided a grant to the San Diego Foundation for its San Diego Emerging Leaders of Arts and Culture program.

“The sector’s future depends in part on its ability to retain and cultivate talented young arts professionals so that they can more effectively move into leadership roles in the coming years,” said James E. Canales, President and Chief Executive Officer at the Irvine Foundation. “This will require a commitment not just on the part of funders such as Irvine, Hewlett and, hopefully, others, but also on the part of arts organizations themselves to make leadership development among their highest priorities.”

“Offering up-and-coming leaders opportunities to develop is no less crucial for the arts than it is for any other field, particularly in these times of rapid change and economic challenges,” said Paul Brest, President at the Hewlett Foundation. “We hope others will join us in recognizing its importance.”

For more information about the research, please visit

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 focuses on three program areas: Arts, California Democracy, and Youth. Since 1937, the Foundation has provided over $1 billion in grants to more than 3,000 nonprofit organizations throughout California. With $1.3 billion in assets, the Foundation made grants of $67 million in 2009 for the people of California.

About The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has been making grants since 1967 to help solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. The Foundation concentrates its resources on activities in education, the environment, global development, performing arts, philanthropy, and population, and makes grants to support disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Ray Delgado
The James Irvine Foundation

Jack Fischer
Hewlett Foundation Communications Officer
(650) 234-4500 x5744