NCRP's Leadership on the Pro-Immigrant and Refugee Movement

“Imagine an America that is socially, culturally and economically flourishing because all our communities are strong and secure, and no community is left behind.”

When immigrants thrive, we all thrive

Dear Colleagues,  

We share a dream of a just and thriving future for everyone in our communities; one that celebrates our diversities of race, ethnicity, religion and other identities. That future is possible, but is increasingly in peril.

To reach it, funders have a unique opportunity to confront the demonization and criminalization of immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees. Funders also need to invest in the transformational power of these communities alongside people of color, women and girls, LGBTQI and other marginalized people.

Immigrants’ cultures, histories, talents and perspectives helped form this nation and continue to shape and strengthen it today.

For decades, a campaign of racism and fearmongering against immigrants coupled with a tepid response from much of the civil society sector has been weighing down our country.

And in the past 2 years, we have seen an increase in abhorrent, inhumane policies and practices that are part of a white nationalist agenda: gut-wrenching federally-sponsored child abuse and family separation, the enshrinement of religious discrimination against Muslims as national policy, mass deportation, gutting of long-standing protections for individuals fleeing violence and more.

Pro-immigrant, refugee and asylum seeker movements are at the front lines of responding to this crisis as families are plunged into poverty, mental health needs skyrocket and community stability is put into peril. As these organizations are responding to the moment, they are also growing in strength and number to counter this hatred, repair the hole that has been ripped in the fabric of our society and continue our shared journey of creating a new, more equitable America.

With the right resources, the pro-immigrant and refugee movement can fight back, amplifying the power of the most impacted communities through crisis response, advocacy, organizing and civic participation, and move us toward a better future.

This future depends on your support.

Through NCRP’s new Movement Investment Project, beginning with the State of Foundation Funding for the Pro Immigrant Movement brief, we’re providing funders and donors with actionable insights and recommendations for how they can invest in social justice movements and the future that we hope to achieve.

Two images: 1. Hands reach up against a blue background. The text reads: "Imagine... an inclusive, vibrant future where all communities thrive is within our reach." 2. The text reads "5 essential practices for donors to support the pro-immigrant movement: 1. Give long term. 2. Fund organizing and services. 3. Help grantees access 501c3 funding. 4. Work with other funders to fund the movement ecosystem. 5. Support beyond the grant.

Ten years ago, NCRP released Criteria for Philanthropy at Its Best, a seminal report that offered aspirational goals for funders who want to maximize their impact. In that report, we noted that from 2004-2006 only 1% of grants from the Foundation Center 1000 (the country’s 1,000 largest foundations) were intended to benefit immigrants and refugees.

In the intervening decade, that number has barely budged.

From 2011-2015 barely 1% of total grant dollars from the FC 1000 was intended to benefit immigrants and refugees. Power-building and grassroots strategies that actually shift culture and address the root causes of inequities and injustice have received a mere fraction of even that deeply insufficient amount.

Clearly, philanthropists can do better – from more funding to improved practices in support of frontline efforts by immigrant communities and allies. 

We are grateful to the movement leaders and funders who have generously shared their time, perspectives and experiences that inform this project. With their help, we were able to identify concrete ways that grantmakers and donors can be more effective in doing their part to support movements that are critical to ensuring our democracy and future.

When immigrants thrive, we all thrive.

Discover how you can invest in a future where all people  
and communities flourish in the 
State of Foundation Funding for the Pro-Immigrant Movement. 

If you’re a funder who has been supporting the pro-immigrant movement, boost your giving by using this research to identify critical gaps in funding that you can fill and bring other funders to the table.

If you’re a funder that already funds base-building to address issues such as health, education and economic disparities, strengthen your giving by using our recommendations to bring an immigrant justice lens to your work.

If you’ve been providing critical services to immigrant communities, discover how investing in pro-immigrant movement organizations that are accountable to immigrant communities will help address the root causes of these urgent needs.

Be inspired by stories of exemplary funding practices that are already making a difference. We hope to one day share your story, too.

Imagine an America that is socially, culturally and economically flourishing because all our communities are strong and secure, and no community is left behind.

Foundations and individual donors are essential in making this a reality through bold and responsive investments in this movement moment.

Join us.  

In solidarity,  

Cristina Jiménez
Founder and Executive Director, United We Dream Network
And NCRP Board Member

Aaron Dorfman
President and CEO


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