CA Dignity for Families Fund - About

The California Dignity for Families Fund helps migrant families and unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and newly arriving Afghan and Haitian migrants receive urgent humanitarian relief and assistance as they request asylum and resettle in communities throughout the state.

Many migrants have arrived at the southern U.S. border fleeing persecution, violence, poverty, and the devastating impacts of climate change. Under the previous federal administration, they were forced to wait in Mexico in harsh and dangerous conditions. They, along with more recent migrants, are now arriving in the United States in record-breaking numbers. An astounding number are children traveling alone. The California Dignity for Families Fund honors the courage and humanity of these migrants and seeks to restore dignity to the asylum process.

The California Dignity for Families Fund is part of a public-private partnership with Governor Gavin Newsom, who made an aligned investment of $25 million for services to unaccompanied youth and children in support of the safety and well-being of families, especially newcomer youth as they settle and integrate into California communities.

Launched in 2021, the Fund aims to:

  • Ensure due process for asylum seekers
  • Support the integration of migrant families and unaccompanied children into receiving communities
  • Build the power of migrants historically excluded from philanthropy and other critical decision-making spaces

GCIR is the lead organization guiding the Fund’s strategic direction, fund development, and implementation.

 What Makes This Fund Unique?

CDFF is guided by a set of principles intended to influence how philanthropy engages with migrant communities and to inform how it redistributes resources. These principles are grounded in trusting relationships among diverse stakeholders and in centering the expertise of movement leaders. 

Valuing the knowledge and listening to the experiences of immigrant justice movement leaders allows us to gain a deeper understanding of the needs of migrants at the border and the needs of the non-profits doing the work to serve and advocate for them. By doing so, we can build an effective and sustainable support infrastructure that will address and engage the challenges facing migrants as they arrive in the U.S.

The CDFF Principles:

  • Establishment and commitment to a clear set of values that guide CDFF and are in alignment with principles held by the Advisory Committee, particularly movement leader members of the committee
  • Intentional and purposeful formation of an Advisory Committee largely composed of field leaders and movement experts representing diverse organizations, perspectives, and experiences
  • Inclusion of a grantmaking consent process that honors the diversity of opinion of the Advisory Committee and welcomes generative conflict and positive tensions
  • Adoption of practices that uplift “grantmaking in a networked way” including (1) following the lead of those closest to the ground; (2) deep commitment to inclusive learning and sharing knowledge with key stakeholders, serving as a network connector; and (3) rapid and equitable distribution of funds to strengthen movement infrastructure over the longer term

CDFF sees the following priorities as fundamental:

  • Necessary transactional services that meet the immediate humanitarian and legal needs at the border and into the initial migration cities
  • Coordinated and transitional care that offers holistic case management and helps expand legal services into the destination regions of migrant families and unaccompanied children
  • Transformative opportunities that strengthen the immigrant justice movement infrastructure over the long term
  • Flexible funds that supplement overall strategy investments and incorporate knowledge of migrant communities often excluded from grantmaking priorities

CDFF Resources:

To learn more, please contact [email protected].


“California’s diversity makes us a more vibrant and resilient state, and we are a better place because of our immigrant communities. I am grateful to our philanthropic partners raising an additional $20 million to support newly arrived migrant families, including newly arrived children and youth, through the California Dignity for Families Fund,” said Governor Newsom.

“We feel compelled to invest in this crucially important and urgent effort to reimagine support services to migrants in California and to restore dignity to the asylum process,” said Don Howard, President and CEO of The James Irvine Foundation. “Those who are arriving in California need this assistance and, at the same time, we can pilot a better system for welcoming immigrants into this state.”

Top PhotoBruno Nascimento/Unsplash License
Bottom Photo: Omar Lopez/Unsplash License