The James Irvine Foundation and CORAL

Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society (Duke)



Case Study Sector


Communities Organizing Resources to Advance Learning (CORAL) was an eight-year, $60 million demonstration project of the James Irvine Foundation. The initiative was designed to improve the academic performance of low-income children in low-performing schools in five California cities. By late 2003, CORAL was halfway through its projected lifespan and had burned through more than half its budget. An independent evaluation reported that most sites offered little programming that had an educational component. Fewer children were being served than goals had called for. Programs in art, music, and sports predominated, alignment with classroom teaching was inconsistent, and most sites had failed to collaborate successfully with the public schools. In short, CORAL was floundering.
James Canales, president and chief executive officer of the Foundation, had met with staff both within the Foundation and at the CORAL agencies, gathering their input. Now he was preparing for a presentation to the Foundation’s board of trustees regarding the future of CORAL. He had to decide: What should he recommend to the board?



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