2012 GCIR National Convening

Convening Overview

GCIR's 2012 National Convening, Global Trends, National Implications, Local Innovations, June 13-15 in Portland, Oregon, brought together a community of grantmakers who share a commitment to helping immigrants become full and active members of our society.  It offered funders an opportunity to learn from one another’s experiences and expertise, and uplifted a range of perspectives, strategies, and innovations from some of the field’s most inspiring leaders, thinkers, activists, and advocates. Participants:

  • Learned about the latest demographic trends and policy issues and what funders can do to improve the well-being of immigrant workers and families.
  • Explored cutting-edge innovations that advance the social, economic, and civic integration of immigrants.
  • Sharpened grantmaking skills in the areas such as capacity building and evaluation.
  • Deepened knowledge on wide-ranging issues from ESL to civic participation—and wide-ranging strategies from direct services to leadership development. 

"What really struck me was how many different kinds of funders from different parts of the country are involved in immigration…this was an opportunity for me to meet people who have more expertise, making the experience really valuable."

‐‐ Past participant from a private family foundation

Session Highlights

  • Plenary sessions that presented the big picture, raised provocative questions, and invited new ways of thinking.
  • Workshops that delved deeply into specific issues or strategies—or built grantmaking skills.
  • Roundtable dialogues that facilitated learning, interaction, and in-depth discussions among grantmaking peers.
  • Learning tours that uplifted the innovations of local organizations.


As a priority region for GCIR, the Pacific Northwest was the site of our signature biennial conference in 2012. The convening showcased the rich body of work in the region—rural, suburban, and urban—to promote immigrant rights and integration and build alliances across communities. The region’s diverse arts and cultural heritage were integrated to enhance participants’ learning and experience.

The 2.5-day convening allowed participants to delve deeply into various issues along multiple tracks.  There was a mix of plenary sessions, issue-based conversations, learning tours, and skills- and knowledge- building workshops. Sessions emphasized a peer-based, interdisciplinary approach to learning, lively discussion, and authentic relationship building. 

Participants came away with a deeper understanding of best program and policy models, particularly those from the Pacific Northwest; effective grantmaking strategies; and opportunities for leverage and collaboration.

View the agenda here!