The James Irvine Foundation is a California non-profit donor organization with a history of donations to left-of-center labor union activist organizations such as the National Employment Law Project, left-of-center immigration advocates such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and anti-energy organizations such as the Liberty Hill Foundation.   It has given grants well in excess of $1 million to at least 20 such organizations, and smaller amounts to many others. 
The James Irvine Foundation was created by James Irvine, an agricultural landholder in Orange County, California, in 1937. Irvine’s company, the Irvine Company, saw its landholdings grow in value as southern California experienced suburban growth in the 1940s and 1950s; when James Irvine died in 1947, the Foundation began receiving the full proceeds from his holdings. 
The James Irvine Foundation has given nearly $1.9 billion in grants since 1937, with a historical giving focus on non-profits in California. Total grants for 2018 equaled $95.9 million. 
As of 2015 its total net assets exceeded $2 billion. 
Present Advocacy Grantmaking
In January 2016 Irvine Foundation leadership announced the organization would focus its giving on poverty alleviation and increasing the political influence of low-income Americans.  Its grants to public policy advocacy organizations often fall into three general categories:
- Organizations involved in left-of-center labor union activism, such as the National Employment Law Project, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Partnership for Working Families, the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy and the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United. 
- Organizations involved in left-of-center immigration advocacy, such as the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. 
- Organizations involved in opposition to energy production, such as the Liberty Hill Foundation, and the Center on Race, Poverty, and Environment.  
Large Left-of-Center Recipients
At least 20 left-of-center advocacy organizations have received total grants in excess of $1 million from the Irvine Foundation since 1998.
- PICO National Network – $8.3 million since 2005. 
- Liberty Hill Foundation – $6.7 million since 1999. 
- Partnership for Working Families – $5.8 million since 2007. 
- Tides Foundation and Tides Center – combined $6 million since 1998. 
- Common Cause and Common Cause Education Fund – combined $5.8 million since 2005. 
- Immigrant Legal Resource Center – $4 million since 2005. 
- Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE) – $4.7 million since 2005. 
- National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) – $3.75 million since 2017. 
- Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA) – $1 million since 2016.  (MUA is one of 12 organizations that created NDWA). 
- National Employment Law Project – $3.6 million since 2016. 
- Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) – $3.2 million since 2006. 
- Center on Race Poverty & Environment – $3 million since 2006.  (This is an anti-energy organization that seeks to end hydraulic fracturing).
- PolicyLink – $2.9 million since 2005.  (This is a left-leaning organization that promotes rent control).
- Movement Strategy Center – $2.7 million since 2013. 
- Working Partnerships USA – $2.6 million since 2005. 
- Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund – $2.5 million since 2011. 
- League of Women Voters of California Education Fund – $2.4 million since 2005.  (This is the California affiliate of the League of Women Voters).
- Chinese Progressive Association – $1.6 million since 2016.  (This organization has advocated for left-of-center policies such as higher income taxes in California).
- Restaurant Opportunities Centers United – $1.4 million since 2016. 
Don Howard is president and CEO of the Irvine Foundation; he is a career strategic consultant to corporate and non-profit clients, having worked for the Bridgespan Group, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Scient Corporation. 
The Irvine Foundation board includes a number of prominent liberal figures, including California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu, Monterey County Superior Court Judge Lydia Villarreal, former Liberty Hill Foundation president and CEO Kafi Blumenfield, former MacArthur Foundation board chair Robert Denham, and retired Service Employees International Union officer Eliseo Medina.