James B. McClatchy
Founded in 1994 as the Central Valley Foundation, Susan and the late James B. McClatchy envisioned an organization that would address two issue areas important to California: the needs of English Learners and the protections of the First Amendment in free speech, freedom of expression, and a free press. Since then, the Foundation has made grants across its footprint in the Central Valley, and strives to make bold investments for long lasting impact.
Our Vision Statement
We believe in the strength of the Central Valley’s rich culture and community and will fight to protect the dreams and hopes of its people.
- Drives to examine its own biases and honors diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Believes authentic relationships are essential to serving our communities and achieving our mission
- Fosters an open and honest dialogue in all its work in the Central Valley
- Strives to shape the future with responsible actions today
- Values compassion with courage
A Foundation is Established
The Central Valley Foundation was founded in 1994 with funding at inception from the personal assets and contributions of Susan and the late James B. McClatchy. It is formed as a supporting organization, a unique nonprofit structure, that allows for flexibility in its grantmaking and programming. The supported organizations are the Sacramento Region Community Foundation and the former Fresno Regional Community Foundation, now known as the Central Valley Community Foundation.
The Central Valley
The Central Valley Foundation issues its first education grants to programs, which are mostly aimed at determining how best to support English Learner students, classrooms, schools, parents, and teachers. First Amendment grants are initially focused on existing organizations whose mission James believed in – First Amendment Coalition and Committee to Protect Journalists. Over time, the Foundation’s first amendment grantmaking evolved to local journalism collaborations and news access for under-resourced communities. Along the education pillar, systems grants with an emphasis on program development and evaluation are made to small rural school districts and allied organizations.
A Legacy is Cemented
Realizing James' Dreams
The passing of James B. McClatchy in 2006 spurs the Foundation to ensure his wishes and dreams for the Central Valley are realized. Grantmaking increases with a laser focused effort to fund greater understanding and best practices for English Learners. By 2008, the James B. McClatchy Professorship at Stanford University School of Law, (his alma mater), an endowment— is established to focus on contemporary issues in politics, law, and the first amendment.
Becoming the James B. McClatchy Foundation
California’s Central Valley faces many critical challenges requiring significant resources. The pressing nature of these challenges is compelling: they should be addressed sooner rather than later.
In 2019, the board voted on changing its name to better reflect the vision that our founder James B. McClatchy established. Moving forward, our focus remains unchanged in the areas of English Learners and the First Amendment as The James B. McClatchy Foundation strategizes for greater community impact across the Central Valley.