Our Approach/Strategy

Since our founding, The James B. McClatchy Foundation has invested intentionally and strategically along the two program areas of English Learners and The First Amendment. The James B. McClatchy Foundation has approached its grantmaking as a thoughtful partner to its grantees—listening and learning while the grant lives —and allowing our grantees to experience their programs as they unveil within their own community contexts.

This has built trust with key allies in the community to learn from, work with, and iterate our collective work. As we move forward, we plan to intentionally dig deeper in this strategy as The James B. McClatchy Foundation develops its sunset strategy and creates lasting impact in the Central Valley.

1. Listen & Learn

This is our relationship development phase. Here we learn what is happening, who is doing the work, and earn trust with key partners.

2. Identify Bright Spots

This iterative process allows for both the grantee-partner and The James B. McClatchy Foundation to learn and maximize resources at hand – both grant dollars and leveraged dollars – to achieve the greatest impact.

3. Plan, Implement & Evaluate

Here we begin to assess likely partners we want to support – either helping to grow their work, offering them supports they need to lift off great ideas and practices, or establish proven strategies in a high area of need or opportunity.

4. Listen & Learn

Being a participant-observer-listener-partner with our grantees allows us to continue to build strong relationships. This helps to create meaningful grantee-funder experiences as partners, but also informing the Foundation in how it can improve its strategic grantmaking, community engagement, and underscore our impact work to lift communities in the Central Valley.  

Program Areas

The key purpose of the Growing Strong Learners Pre-K initiative is to ensure English Learners in the Central Valley have access to quality educational opportunities and programs in order to help close the school-readiness gap. 

We are also just launching the LIFT pilot initiative for First Amendment. This initial phase will support the formation of local story collaborations that intend to create systems change for years to come.


Unlike most Foundations, The James B. McClatchy Foundation commissions its grants and invites selected organizations to apply competitively. Our approach is to develop partnerships with grantees and begin a relationship based on trust, dialogue, and iterative program planning, implementation, and learning.