Our research process began with 8 stakeholder consultations with pro-immigrant organizations, funders and funder collaboratives to help shape the initiative’s focus and understand how NCRP could best play a role to complement and lift up the work of the numerous organizations already in the movement.

In addition to the stakeholder consultations, we conducted 2 rounds of data collections interviews for a total of over 20 conversations with foundation staff and movement leaders from 15 national, 2 regional and 5 statewide pro-immigrant organizations representing immigrants across a diversity of race, gender and legal status.

The interviews covered a range of topics from positive funder relationships and funder behaviors, to funding challenges, current dynamics within the movement and signs of progress. The interviews generated rich and nuanced information that we analyzed and synthesized into a set of findings and recommendations to give funders the tools they need to increase philanthropic support for the pro-immigrant and refugee movement.


NCRP gathered data on philanthropic giving primarily from Foundation Center. There is no “pro-immigrant movement” grant code currently in use in the philanthropic sector. We used Foundation Center’s “immigrant rights” subject code and public information about pro-immigrant coalition membership and funding vehicles to build a universe of more than 17,000 grants from more than 1,800 grantmakers to more than 1,400 recipients from 2003 to 2016, which are the basis of the Movement Investment Project data analysis.

It is likely some pro-immigrant movement grants were left out given the imperfections in Foundation Center coding, but NCRP is confident the margin of error is small enough to make this analysis a valuable contribution to the field.

Every effort was made to include all grants for core pro-immigrant movement organizations – those whose primary function is advancing the movement’s vision – and as many grants for other organizations that could reasonably be identified as pro-immigrant movement support.

NCRP coded grant recipients based on a list of qualitative characteristics: Whether the organization provides direct services or not, whether the organization is a network or not, the geographic scope of the organization’s work, and the primary and secondary movement roles performed by the organization.

Movement roles were determined based on NCRP’s interpretation and adaptation of the Ayni Institute’s movement ecology framework, which can be found in the 2018 report Funding Social Movements, by Paul Engler, Sophie Lasoff and Carlos Saavedra.

Ayni Institute logo

To gather more recent data than is available from Foundation Center, NCRP asked a subset of 40 movement organizations to report their 2017 and 2018 foundation revenue so that we could have some sense of how movement funding had responded to the 2016 election. We received 13 responses from organizations representing a cross-section of national, statewide and local organizations from across the country. We based our 2017 and 2018 preview analysis on this illustrative sample.

Kyle F. Butts, economics graduate student at the University of Colorado, collected and analyzed data on the proliferation and audience for anti-immigrant YouTube channels in consultation with NCRP staff.

If you’d like to learn more about NCRP’s research, please contact Ryan Schlegel at


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