Nike Irvin, The California Community Foundation

Twitter: @calfund

Nike Irvin is is the Vice President of Programs for the California Community Foundation.  In this capacity, she provides strategic leadership in priority program areas for the community foundation in arts, education, health care, and nonprofit sustainability.  The California Community Foundation manages more than $1.4 billion in total assets and manages nearly 1,600 charitable foundations, serving the dual role of community grant maker and trusted steward to individuals, families, and organizations. 

Nike previously served as the President of the Riordan Foundation for seven years. She has over 20 years of experience as a consultant and coach for nonprofits and foundations.  She serves on numerous boards of directors, and has received numerous fellowship awards. 

In this episode, Nike discusses the community foundation model, and the many roles that they play in supporting organizations and strengthening communities.  


In this interview, we discuss:

  1. Nike's own impressive background and how she came to be the VP of Programs for CCF. 
  2. Working with organizations in underserved and low income communities, and responding to their needs.  
  3. The most important elements of strong organizations, and the way agencies can improve. 
  4. How collaboration and partnerships are effective in improving everybody's work. 
  5. Why Program Officers are necessary conduits between the agencies doing the work on the ground and the general public who are interested in supporting these programs. 


"For people who really do want to practice love in an active, philanthropic way, giving human to human and organization to organization is still the best way to achieve it." 


  1. Learn more about the California Community Foundation and the work they do.
  2. The Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative is designed to support local nonprofits with capacity building.
  3. Compass Point provides great resources for nonprofits in communities of color. 
  4. LA N Sync is a partnership that brings together different sectors in the Los Angeles community to help local agencies win more philanthropic funding. 
  5. Nike Irvin named one of 100 Inspirational Alumni of the UCLA Anderson School of business.
  6. The book Whatever It Takes, Geoffrey Canada's quest to change Harlem and America.



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