Every day, organizations worldwide are engaged in a collective two steps forward, one step back march toward improved immigration services and policies. What hard-earned lessons are these nonprofits, and the foundations that support them, learning from their persistent efforts? This collection of evaluations, case studies, and lessons learned exposes and explores the nuances of effective collaboration, the value of coordinated messaging, the bedrock of ongoing advocacy efforts, and the vital importance of long-term and flexible funding.

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Stand Together: Cash Assistance Funds for Undocumented Immigrants in a Time of Crisis

October 1, 2021

Open Society Foundations and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees commissioned this report as part of a larger effort to make resources, knowledge, and infrastructure developed during the pandemic known to grantmakers responding to future economic disruptions. Stand Together describes Covid-19 direct relief funds for undocumented immigrants and records promising practices for crisis grantmaking in immigrant communities.

Philanthropic Strategies to Support Refugees and Asylum Seekers

June 1, 2018

This report profiles 10 donors' diverse approaches and strategies to supporting refugees and asylum seekers, and offers key lessons gleaned from their experience. These profiles are designed to provide a roadmap for supporting refugees, asylum seekers, and unaccompanied children seeking protection in the United States and abroad.The grantmakers profiled in this report differ in their structure, size, and geographic priorities. Some are responding to global crises (like the Syrian civil war and the arrival of asylum seekers across Europe), while others are addressing the needs of refugees and asylum seekers in the United States (including unaccompanied children and families from Central America). Still others are advancing national strategies, ongoing work in specific states, or very local interventions. As a group, they support a range of approaches – from systems and narrative change to advocacy and organizing, from capacity building to legal and direct service delivery.These case studies feature donors with programs dedicated exclusively to refugees, asylum seekers, and/or unaccompanied children, and that address newcomer populations more generally. They also highlight donors who assist these populations through the prism of education, workforce, economic development, capacity development, or legal services.

Dreamer Loan Programs: The Power of Partnerships with Community Development Credit Unions

August 15, 2014

This report provides an overview of five Dreamer Loan programs, identifies their common and distinguishing features, and underscores timely financial empowerment opportunities presented by DACA. In addition to helping individuals afford the DACA application fee, the programs' loan products help largely unbanked immigrants avoid predatory lenders, gain financial knowledge, and begin to establish credit and savings. This report also considers how philanthropy can help replicate such loan programs in various regions of the country. With the prospect of expanded administrative action on the horizon, as well as possible large-scale legalization through future legislation, DACA loans provide an important test-run for the effort that would be required to help upwards of 11 million immigrants along the path to legal status and citizenship, which is likely to include thousands of dollars in fines and fees.

Asset Building; Community-Based Outreach & Activity

Immigrants in Oregon and Washington: Creating an Inclusive and Dynamic Future for All

May 1, 2014

This 20-page report considers the impacts and opportunities presented by the growing number of immigrants in Oregon and Washington. The report includes overviews of newcomers' impacts on the two states' demographics, economics, and educational systems; a review of national policy implications for immigrants in the region; and a set of funding recommendations for local, state, regional, and national funders.

Immigrants in the U.S. South: Expanding Opportunities for Integration, Inclusion, and Economic Growth

November 1, 2013

The South's demographics are changing. Immigrant newcomers are transforming the region's economy and culture. This brand-new report examines the challenges and opportunities that these recent developments pose for local, regional, and national grantmakers.

The Art of Community: Creativity at the Crossroads of Immigrant Cultures and Social Services

July 15, 2013

These are case studies that give credance to the belief that respect for one's own artistic traditions is critical to the acculturation process. The essays contained here offer clear and shining examples of how paying attention to culture and creativity can build self-confidence, nurture a productive and valuable citizenry, and even save a life. Through these stories, we begin to see that encouraging the practice of cultural traditions and participation in arts activities will help newcomers spread their wings and fly.

Community-Based Outreach & Activity

The Chicago Community Trust: Investing in Public-Private Partnerships

January 15, 2010

In 2006, The Chicago Community Trust conducted an environmental scan to identify trends to inform its grantmaking in metropolitan Chicago. The Trust has long been responsive to the sizable immigrant population (18 percent) within the city limits, but the scan documenting booming immigrant populations in a number of suburban communities caught its attention.This GCIR case study highlights The Chicago Community Trust's three-year, $1.5 million immigrant integration initiative that was launched in response to the new demographic findings. A central strategy of the initiative was supporting local government leadership and public-private partnerships, including direct grants to three villages: Mount Prospect, Schaumburg, and Skokie (a fourth, Addison, would later be added).

Coalition Building & Collaboration; Staff & Leadership Development

Eliminating Language Barriers for LEP Individuals: Promising Practices from the Public Sector

January 1, 2010

While the focus of this report is on eliminating language barriers for limited English proficient (LEP) individuals, any strategy to improve communications with this population must also include English learning and address the shortage of high-quality English as a Second Language (ESL) courses for adults. State-administered ESL programs currently serve only about a million of the estimated 12.4 million LEP adults in the United States who need language instruction. The underfunding of ESL programs means that large numbers of immigrant adults who wish to learn English are unable to enroll in classes or face overcrowded classrooms. For instance, a 2006 national survey of ESL providers found that 57 percent of these programs maintained waiting lists -- ranging from a few weeks to more than three years -- and could not accommodate the high numbers of immigrants interested in learning English. Policy experts and organizations that work with adult English learners have proposed various strategies to increase the availability of high-quality ESL courses, but lack of political support at the national level -- coupled with the current fiscal crisis -- has weakened efforts to help immigrants improve their English skills.

Coalition Building & Collaboration; Communications & Media

Making Connections Oakland: A Case Study for GCIR

October 6, 2008

GCIR profiles Making Connections Oakland (MCO), a comprehensive initiative that helps newcomers gain an economic foothold and become full participating members of society. The program was designed to build united neighborhoods and stronger families through strategies that illustrate the cornerstones of GCIR's Immigrant Integration Framework: mutual responsibility, change and benefits; multi-sector involvement; and multi-strategy approaches. Each method has its unique strengths with regard to immigrant integration and is highlighted in this document. As the examples in this report demonstrate, foundations do not need to build an immigrant integration program from scratch. Grantmakers can use resources that already exist in their communities to continue supporting their funding priorities.

Community-Based Outreach & Activity

How Ten Stories About Immigrant Leaders Can Move a Community

October 6, 2008

This article discusses the Partnership between GCIR, the Endowment for Health, and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. These three agencies worked together to compile profiles of immigrant and refugee leaders. These profiles were mailed to 3,500 board members, donors, and perspective donors. The results of the distribution of this information are examined.

Communications & Media; Refugees & Asylum Seekers; Staff & Leadership Development

Building Capacity for ESL, Legal Services, and Citizenship

June 1, 2008

Provides a funders' guide to opportunities, strategies, and resources for promoting immigrants' civic integration by investing in a local infrastructure of services, including English instruction, legal services, and assistance with naturalization.

Capacity Building; Civic Engagement; Litigation/Legal Services

Investing in Our Communities: Strategies for Immigrant Integration

May 1, 2007

This report gives the historical context of U.S. immigration, its vital and unyielding role in shaping the US and how grant makers can help assimilate populations, social change and community building in the future. The toolkit provides grant makers with integration frameworks, case studies, funding examples and opportunities, information resources, strategic planning steps and evaluation platforms for several different arenas. These arenas include: health, education, civic involvement and language.

Civic Engagement; Community-Based Outreach & Activity; Research & Evaluation