Enriching Children’s Lives… One Ripple at a Time
Irvine Company’s Commitment to Art, Music and Science
In a very real sense, the art, music and science lessons that Irvine elementary school students receive are like the proverbial pebble tossed into a pond: The impact causes a ripple effect in the lives of the children who are exposed to them. Unlike pond ripples, however, the ripples created by Irvine’s high-quality enrichment lessons continue to spread, leading to positive lifelong benefits.
From 2003 to 2005, the Irvine Company made major annual financial gifts to support these programs. Then, in 2006, the company and Donald Bren Foundation announced an unprecedented $20 million gift that established the Excellence in Education Enrichment Fund in the Irvine Unified School District. Since then, thousands of fourth- through sixth-graders have received quality instruction in art, music and science from specialist teachers.
In announcing the gift, Irvine Company Chairman Donald Bren expressed dismay that enrichment programs are so often the first to go when school budget cuts occur. Yet a growing body of evidence, he noted, is showing strong correlations between enrichment programs and success in children’s other academic studies – and, in fact, in their overall personal growth and success in life.
District officials emphasized the programs’ ripple effect on Irvine’s students, saying the programs are “among the cornerstones” of the district. “The depth and spread of these programs have transformed our schools and changed the way our students interact with other subject areas.”
The successful enrichment programs through the years have benefited from a true community partnership. In addition to the Irvine Company and Donald Bren Foundation, participants have included the Irvine Public Schools Foundation, and, of course, parents.