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Irvine Unified receives $2 million contribution for arts and science education

A conductor stands in front of music students in Irvine.
Every fourth- through sixth-grader in Irvine Unified takes two 40-minute music lessons per week by a specialized instructor. The Irvine Co. has donated $2 million to Irvine Unified.
(Courtesy of Irvine Unified)

Declining budgets and the coronavirus pandemic have generated problems for public schools but Irvine Co.’s ongoing financial support aims to provide some consistent arts and science education for the Irvine Unified School District.

The company donated $2 million to Irvine Unified as part of a 20-year $45-million commitment through the Excellence in Education Enrichment program. The program started in 2006, and the funding goes toward technology, supplies and teachers that advance arts and science education.

“This commitment is essential in helping IUSD address the challenges brought on by the pandemic and helps maintain our specialized programming in the arts, music and science,” district Supt. Terry Walker said. “The support and partnership of Irvine Company really is a symbol of what makes our community great.”

Instruction includes two one-hour science lessons per week, two 40-minute music lessons per week and six art lessons per year taught by a specialized instructor to every fourth- through sixth-grader in the district. Without the funding, classes would only be available to secondary students.

A student at Playa Vista Elementary school in science class.
A student at Playa Vista Elementary school in science class.
(Courtesy of Irvine Unified)

“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,” Jeff Davis, Irvine Co. vice president, said.

According to the website, Irvine Co. has been one of California’s largest landowners since 1864, which evolved from a ranching and farming operation to a real estate investment company.

Some of its past philanthropic contributions to education include donating 1,000 acres to create the UC Irvine campus, endowing more than 60 permanent professor chairs at the University of California and California Institute of Technology and founding one of the nation’s first graduate level environmental schools at UC Santa Barbara.

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