SAN FRANCISCO, California, June 18, 2009 — The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) announced today that it has received a $1 million grant from the Donald Bren Foundation to support its research and engagement in economic development, education, governance, and public finance. The gift will fund a fellows program in these policy areas over the next five years. PPIC named economists David Neumark and Julian Betts as its first Bren Fellows.
“At a time when there is an urgent need for PPIC’s work, the Donald Bren Foundation’s generous gift will significantly boost our efforts to address the state’s formidable challenges in these critical areas,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO.
The Donald Bren Foundation is a private philanthropic organization chartered by Donald Bren, chairman of the Irvine Company. He has endowed 50 professorships for distinguished faculty at many universities, including the University of California, where he has created more endowed chairs than any other individual donor.
“PPIC is widely recognized for its independent, objective, nonpartisan research on major issues facing the state,” Bren said. “We’re pleased to support this important work at such a critical time for California.”
Neumark is a senior fellow at PPIC whose research focuses on economic development at the state and local level. He is a professor of economics at the University of California, Irvine, and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Before joining PPIC in 2002, he held appointments at Michigan State University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Federal Reserve Board. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.
Betts, an adjunct fellow at PPIC since 1998, is an expert on K–12 education. He is a professor of economics at the University of California, San Diego, where he is chair of the Department of Economics. He is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Queen’s University in Canada.
The Public Policy Institute of California is dedicated to informing and improving public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research. The institute was established in 1994 with an endowment from William R. Hewlett. As a private operating foundation, PPIC does not take or support positions on any ballot measure or on any local, state, or federal legislation, nor does it endorse, support, or oppose any political parties or candidates for public office.