IUSD and IPSF Share a Unique Partnership


The Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF) was established in 1996 by a group of dedicated parents who wanted to help ensure all schools in the Irvine Unified School District had the resources they needed to provide students with the best education possible.  In the years that have followed, IPSF and the District have shared a unique partnership focused on supporting every student in every school.

IUSD is known for being one of California’s highest achieving school districts.  However, many may not know that IUSD is also one of the lowest funded school districts in California.  Under the state’s Local Control Funding Formula, IUSD per pupil funding is less than the state average by approximately $1,800, resulting in a $63 million fund gap with an average national funding gap of $115 million.

In addition to efficiently and effectively maximizing its limited resources, IUSD collaborates with community partners, such as IPSF, to augment support for students.  Collaboration with IPSF is a prime example that has become a model for school districts around the country.

One of IPSF’s top priorities is to ensure all students — regardless of their ability to pay — can pursue their passion and achieve their potential. One in three IUSD students falls under what the state considers a disadvantaged group (English learners, low income or foster youth).

IPSF gives more than $4 million each year through grants, donations and student programs.

It awards up to $10,000 to each school that implements new curriculum or projects such as new labs, school gardens, robotics and virtual reality. Irvine’s CubeSat STEM Program, which has successfully launched two nanosatellites built by students, started as an IPSF grant program.

Northwood High School received an IPSF grant in 2020 to start a chapter of Hope Squad, a nationally acclaimed peer-to-peer suicide prevention program. The school used the money to provide curriculum and training for staff advisors and students who counsel their peers. The squad has helped more than 100 students in just two years.

IPSF also provides summer classes and camps to help students avoid learning loss. It runs after-school programs, such as musicals and chess, so that students can pursue their passions or discover new interests.

“For more than a quarter century, IPSF has been committed to providing educational enrichment for every IUSD student in every school, including science, technology, engineering, art and music programing,” said Superintendent Terry Walker.  “IPSF’s support helps our District continue to advance student achievement, while developing the whole child.”

Current President and CEO Neda Eaton joined the organization in 2009. 

“When I came on board, it was my focus to bring in corporate partners,” says Eaton, who graduated from University High and moved back to Irvine after college to raise her own family.

IPSF epitomizes how IUSD’s success is made possible by support from the broader community or as we often say, the “US” at the center of IUSD.

“The relationship with IUSD and IPSF has never been stronger,” Eaton says. “It’s just a special relationship. We’re here to support IUSD, and we want to make sure that we are aligned as much as possible. We couldn’t be more proud to be their partners. They do such an incredible job for students in our community that they make it easy to want to support them.”

For more information on IPSF, visit ipsf.net.