Ensuring Workers Earn Fair Wages

Low-wage workers are critical to California’s economy, and yet they have limited influence on economic conditions that affect their families and communities. Beginning in 2016, the James Irvine Foundation administered pilot grants to 15 nonprofits specializing in worker organizing and policy to learn from a diverse array of strategies. 

Engage R+D partnered with the Foundation to answer the following questions:

  • How is the current economic and political environment affecting low-wage workers?

  • What are promising strategies to ensure that workers get paid the wages they deserve?

  • What capacities do nonprofits need, individually and collectively, to support workers?

To answer these questions, we conducted grantee site visits, analyzed nonprofit capacity needs, and facilitated internal reflection sessions. Our work helped staff identify several promising ideas for how the Foundation could best support worker organizing and policy. We tested these ideas and related hypotheses through a convening of grantees and field leaders. As a result, The Irvine Foundation launched a new initiative responsive to both worker and grantee needs.


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