Anti-Blackness, neglect of Indigenous migrants are critical blind spots in immigrant and refugee justice philanthropy

Special edition of Responsive Philanthropy examines how funders can boldly support the pro-immigrant and -refugee movements.

Written by: NCRP

Date: June 18, 2019

Social justice movement organizations across the country continue their critical work of securing equity and justice in our communities. But the lack of philanthropic support for these efforts shows that many grantmakers and donors are missing the opportunity for real impact.

“We all have our blind spots,” wrote Timi Gerson, vice president and chief content officer of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) in a letter to the philanthropic community. “In philanthropy, this shows up in many ways, including the lack of support for grassroots social movement organizations led by people of color women and girls, LGBTQI people and other marginalized communities working the front lines.”

The new special edition of NCRP’s journal Responsive Philanthropy features articles that examine some of these blind spots in immigrant and refugee justice philanthropy and ways to overcome them.

Confronting the anti-Blackness in immigrant justice philanthropy

Daranee Petsod, chief executive of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, notes that funders oftentimes overlook organizations that serve and are led by Black immigrants. She identifies concrete ways that grantmakers can address anti-Blackness in their strategies and practices.

How philanthropy can help stop the invisibilization of Indigenous migrants in the U.S.

Migrant justice activists Odilia Romero and Xiomara Corpeño highlight philanthropy’s neglect and lack of understanding of Indigenous migrants as an example of continuing “systemic erasure” of Native people in the U.S. They ask funders to fund Indigenous-led migrant organizations, build their capacity and support Indigenous language interpretation efforts.

Divest/invest at the intersections: Immigrant justice and criminal justice reform

Lorraine Ramirez, senior program manager of Neighborhood Funders Group’s Funders for Justice, reminds funders of the connections between immigrant justice and other issue areas, particularly criminal justice reform. She invites grantmakers and donors to use the divest/invest approach as a way to end policies and practices that criminalize and marginalize immigrants, refugees and all people of color.

Funders and donors can build, share and wield power to bolster the pro-immigrant movement

NCRP’s Lisa Ranghelli, senior director of assessment and special projects, provides tips and discussion questions based on the Power Moves assessment guide for funders ready to start or boost their support for immigrant and refugee justice movements.

What’s the one thing you want funders to do differently to support the pro-immigrant and -refugee movement?

NCRP members’ actionable advice to funders will help foundations and donors identify specific ways they can help under-resourced movement groups succeed.