WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?
LOCAL FOUNDATIONS, IMMIGRANTS & REFUGEE POPULATIONS
The recent coronavirus pandemic has put a spotlight not only on the longstanding inequitable cracks in the nation’s health care system, but also on the vast gulf in resources different communities have on hand to respond to immediate emergencies.
The personal health and economic impact of COVID-19 is felt most acutely by marginalized people, including the millions of immigrants and refugees that have been disproportionally impacted, unfairly scapegoated and, in many cases, excluded from relief packages.
The pandemic has exposed the deep-rooted inequities that have constituted an ongoing crisis for many communities in America. Many immigrants and refugees are people of color who are over-represented in the ranks of essential workers who are at highest risk of contracting and dying from the virus.
The unique vulnerability of these communities to the disease is directly related to years of increasing xenophobia in state, local and federal policies combined with historic levels of anti-immigrant rhetoric and violence since the election of Donald Trump.
We expect local charitable institutions to be first in line to service the needs of our communities and especially of the most vulnerable among us. One measure of local philanthropic responsiveness is the degree to which their grantmaking reflects local community demographics.
An NCRP analysis of the latest publicly available data shows that, as a whole, the largest local foundations are failing to provide financial support that is proportional to the number of immigrants and refugees in their states and the threats they face.
While immigrants and refugees represent 14% of the nation’s population, local foundations gave barely 1% of their total grantmaking to benefit these communities in 2017 and 2018. Furthermore, less than half of a percent of local funding is for pro-immigrant, pro-refugee movement groups engaged in organizing and advocacy. In fact, more than 50% of the largest local grantmakers of each state didn’t even fund one of these movement groups.
The numbers mirror what NCRP discovered last year in its first Movement Investment Project brief, the State of Foundation Funding for the Pro-Immigrant Movement. That brief reported that barely 1% of funding from the nation’s largest U.S. foundations went to organizations serving immigrants and refugees, with national networks and grassroots groups being particularly underfunded.
What this year’s analysis and accompanying data tool does is place that national trend in a state-by-state context, identifying just how much work local funders and leaders need to do to ensure that all communities get the support they need to thrive.