Our History and Mission

Since 1990, GCIR has sought to influence philanthropy to advance the contributions and address the needs of the country's growing and increasingly diverse immigrant and refugee populations. In so doing, we seek to promote effective grantmaking that not only improves the lives of newcomers but also strengthens communities.

GCIR works with a growing network of member foundations, as well as the greater philanthropic community, on a wide range of immigration and immigrant integration issues, including education, health, employment, civic participation, racial and economic justice, and other concerns affecting immigrant children, youth, and families. Some of our members have longstanding immigrant-specific funding initiatives, but most members incorporate immigrant and refugee issues into their core grantmaking programs. The majority of our members fund locally, regionally, or nationally in the United States, and a handful make migration-related grants in Latin America, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

"GCIR has a keen understanding of complex immigrant-related issues. I rely on their balanced perspective, sound judgment, and innovative ideas to guide my funding strategies."

- Geri Mannion, Program Director, U.S. Democracy and Special Opportunities Fund, National Program, Carnegie Corporation of New York

See our Annual Reports page for more information about our work in recent years.

Our Goals

We aim to:

  • Enhance philanthropy's awareness of issues affecting immigrants and refugees and their communities.
  • Deepen the field's understanding of how these issues are integral to community building in today's dynamic social, economic, and political environment.
  • Increase philanthropic support for grantmaking strategies that benefit newcomer populations and strengthen society.

Our Values and Vision

GCIR's work is guided by a fundamental belief in democratic values, equal opportunity and justice, and a recognition that communities thrive when all of their members have the opportunity to contribute to the economic, cultural, social, and civic fabric. As native birth rates continue to decline and as the Baby Boom generation begins to retire, immigrants and their children will play an even more critical role—as workers, taxpayers, consumers, and entrepreneurs—in ensuring our nation’s vitality. Within this context, GCIR's vision is that:

  • Immigrants and refugees, working with native-born Americans, play a central role in building secure, vibrant, and cohesive communities.
  • Philanthropic institutions can help shape fair and humane immigration policies and promote the integration of immigrants and refugees.
  • With support from philanthropy, a diverse range of organizations—from community centers to think tanks and immigrant-led groups to legal service providers—can address the needs and promote the contributions of newcomers in communities across the globe.

Our Strategic Priorities

GCIR's strategic plan seeks to engage philanthropy in improving the lives of immigrants and refugees. The plan focuses principally on children, youth, and young adults as members of families across immigrant generations, with particular attention on those living in poverty and/or who are part of the low-wage workforce. In executing the plan, GCIR strives to play a strategic, value-added, and high impact role, particularly at the local, state, and regional levels. 

Our plan is guided by our theory of change, among other factors.