James Vigil, professor emeritus of criminology, law and society, signed the first-ever UCI Founders’ Pledge in June 2017 for Aztlán, a mixed reality game he is creating with business partner Sergio C. Muñoz.
The UCI Founders’ Pledge gives students, alumni, faculty and staff an opportunity to include philanthropy in their startup ventures. Pledge signers make a commitment to give back to UCI when their company reaches marketplace success, and signers can control the amount, timing and designation of their future gift to UCI.
"I signed the pledge because I wanted to make a partnership with UC Irvine in what I expect to be a very successful project," said Vigil, whose research will fuel the game’s story.
A founders’ pledge is a natural fit for UCI, where programs like the Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Applied Innovation and ANTrepreneur Center provide mentoring, networking opportunities, seed funding and business plan development services to help transform Anteaters into entrepreneurs.
Founders’ pledges are becoming more prevalent at universities across the nation. Inspired by the introduction of the pledge at UCI, alumni David Ochi, executive director of the ANTrepreneur Center and longtime startup entrepreneur, and Robert Kollar, vice president and general counsel of Givsum Inc., have since stepped forward to sign the pledge.