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Irvine Co. Excellence in Education Enrichment Fund Donates $2 Million to Irvine Unified School District

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The Irvine Co. donated $2 million to the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) in support of their art, music and science programs on Jan. 19. The donation was done in pursuit of their commitment to fund $45 million to the IUSD over 20 years. This promise, dubbed the Excellence in Education Enrichment Fund, was established in 2006. This year marked their 15th installment; to date the Irvine Co. has donated $30 million as stated by the IUSD on Facebook

The Irvine Co. is a real estate company founded in 1864 with headquarters in Newport Beach, with Donald Bren as the Chairman of the Board of Irvine Co. Born in Los Angeles, Bren has a history of supporting numerous causes from education and scientific research to environmental preservation. 

“Business Week recognized Bren’s philanthropic giving to be in excess of $1.4 Billion,” the Irvine Co. shared on their website.

This year, Irvine Co. Vice President Jeffrey Davis presented the check during the IUSD’s first Board of Education meeting of 2021.

“Education has always been at the core of our planning efforts in Irvine and today’s contribution continues our Company’s decades-long partnership with IUSD, students and families to support enrichment programs in science, art and music. These programs have helped create one of the highest performing districts in California,” Davis said.

Donations from the Irvine Co. throughout the years have helped more than 100,000 students hone their skills and pursue careers in art, music and science. IUSD educates about 36,000 students from six high schools, four K-8 schools, six middle schools, 24 elementary schools and one early childhood learning center. The donations fund lessons for 4th to 6th grade students and classroom supplies, such as innovative educational platforms and technology, as stated by IUSD. 

“Students receive two 60-minute science lessons per week, two 40-minute music lessons per week and six hour-long art lessons per year, all taught by highly qualified instructors,” IUSD stated. 

With the support received, 2019 Advanced Placement statistics reported that IUSD students had surpassed other students in the state and nation in sciences and music theory. 

IUSD Superintendent Terry Walker assured that “[t]his commitment is essential in helping IUSD address the challenges brought on by the pandemic and helps maintain our specialized programming.”

In previous years, the Irvine Co. has also donated to other educational programs such as Think Together, an after school program that helps 200,000 students in 400 Californian schools. In 2008, the Irvine Co. donated $8.5 million to expand the program to reach Southern California.

“[The Children] will be our enduring legacy. They are the leaders of the future, and the quality of education they receive today will directly [affect] the success and prosperity of our communities tomorrow,” Bren said.

Liliana Huerta is a City News Intern for the 2021 winter quarter. She can be reached at lshuerta@uci.edu.