Irvine Unified School District Receives New $20 Million Education Enrichment Fund

Irvine Company Chairman Donald Bren announced Monday the creation of a 10-year, $20 million Excellence in Education Enrichment Fund for fourth through sixth grade fine arts, music and science programs in the Irvine Unified School District.

Mr. Bren’s gift will assure dedicated funding to support more than 30 distinguished “specialist teachers” in arts, music and science. Students in grades four through six will receive focused educational experiences beyond what is provided by their regular classroom teacher as required by California’s state education curriculum.

As a consequence Irvine schools for the next decade will offer the finest, most comprehensive and professionally driven enrichment curriculum for fourth through sixth grade students of any district in the state.

“A well-rounded education that prepares students to succeed and fully enjoy and appreciate life includes art, music and science,” said Donald Bren, chairman of The Irvine Company. “I live and work daily with many of the enrichment disciplines I learned during my academic career, realizing over time that what I had learned to appreciate had become a permanent part of my life, both personally and professionally. Many may not automatically associate those disciplines with the everyday business world, yet they are very important to the broadening of a student’s academics and they underscore why we believe enrichment programs are absolutely necessary to our children.”

“This is a truly historic moment for the Irvine Unified School District, which already is one of the best in the state because of the unique and productive relationship between administration, teachers, parents and The Irvine Company,” said Dean Waldfogel, superintendent, Irvine Unified School District. “Very few school districts are fortunate to receive the unmatched level of support and participation by businesses and parents that Irvine enjoys, as evidenced by today’s extraordinary announcement. With this support, I’m confident in saying that Irvine elementary students in grades four to six will receive the best and most comprehensive fine arts, music and science curriculum in the state, if not the country.”

This new commitment nearly triples the amount of funding allocated toward enrichment programs in the Irvine Unified School District. Despite being one of the lowest-funded school districts in California, Irvine Unified continues to rank among the finest educational systems in the nation. Irvine students consistently lead Orange County in SAT test scores that also rank among the best nationally, and more than 90 percent of their high school graduates attend college.

“Parents of students in Irvine should be elated,” said Tim Shaw, president, Irvine Public Schools Foundation. “This virtually guarantees that their students, for the next decade, will receive this enrichment curriculum — taught by specialized professionals that are experts in their field — and that those programs will not be vulnerable to budget cuts. This wonderful partnership will allow Irvine students to remain among the most gifted and talented in the nation. Our foundation endorses and supports this priority.”

“There is an undeniable correlation between the strong fine arts, music and science curriculum and the unmatched academic achievement attained throughout our district,” said Sue Kuwabara, president of the Irvine Unified School District Board. “By any measuring stick – test scores, graduation rates, students who move into higher education – the Irvine Unified School District is considered one of the finest in the state. This funding raises our curriculum, already at a level that very few school districts can match, to a much higher plane.”
The Irvine Company and the Donald Bren Foundation have a long history of consistent, generous and passionate support of education in Irvine. They have spent more than $200 million supporting students, teachers, principals, individual schools, school districts, universities and university scholars on The Irvine Ranch. Further, The Irvine Company’s innovative education philanthropy, public policy initiatives and comprehensive planning have helped create and sustain the most successful and highly recognized school districts in the State of California.

A shining example of the strength and excellence of the Irvine Unified School District, is reflected in the most recent statewide Academic Performance Index (API) test scores. All 32 schools in the district scored above the state standard of 800. To put that in perspective: 20% of the schools in California scored above 800 and 40% of the schools in Orange County scored above 800. 100% of the schools in IUSD scored above 800.

Educational excellence is the hallmark of schools on The Irvine Ranch, and a principal reason people choose to live on The Irvine Ranch. For more information about The Irvine Company’s investment in education, visit: