Philanthropy Responds to Inhumane Family Separation and Detention Policies

Nearly 200 philanthropic institutions from across the country have signed onto this joint GCIR statement in support of children and families seeking refuge in the United States. 

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Statement

In an effort to punish immigrants crossing the Southern border of the United States, the current administration adopted a so-called “zero-tolerance” policy against those seeking entry, resulting in the separation of children from their parents. This policy is the latest in a series of actions over the past year-and-a-half that have altered how we treat migrants seeking refuge at our borders and reversed our historical role as a beacon of hope and freedom for the world’s most vulnerable people.

 

In response to widespread public outcry, the administration recently issued an executive order that would allow it to detain family members together indefinitely. Detaining children indefinitely—either with or without their parents—not only violates existing law, but it also runs counter to long-established best practices and norms in the child welfare arena as well as basic tenets of morality and human decency.

 

As of this statement’s publication, more than 2,300 children have been taken from their parents, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s own statistics. These parents are still languishing in immigration detention without information about the whereabouts of their children, including many under the age of four, while others are at risk of permanently losing custody after being deported without their children against their will. The newly issued executive order on family detention does nothing to reunite these separated children with their parents.

 

Family separation is causing profound trauma for both children and parents rising to the level of a “crisis of sorrow.” Mothers have described hearing their children’s screams from the next room after being separated, and at least one parent has committed suicide after his child was taken away from him. The United Nations considers the practice “a serious violation of the rights of the child,” the American Bar Association calls it “inhumane,” and the American Psychological Association believes it is “needless and cruel.” The American Academy of Pediatrics condemns the practice, explaining that the resulting fear and stress can harm children’s developing brains as well as short- and long-term health.

 

We, the undersigned, stand united in our belief that separating families, as well as detaining them together indefinitely, is morally unacceptable and traumatic for parents and children. We have a collective responsibility to act with compassion when responding to the needs of those who come to our country seeking protection. We urge our grantmaking colleagues to join us in speaking out, shifting the public discourse locally and nationally, boldly taking action, and responding generously and swiftly to on-the-ground needs.

 

Together, we stand firm in shared values of fairness, compassion, and family integrity that underpin our work in philanthropy and our very identity as a nation.

Signatories

Eileen Coogan, President & CEO
Allegany Franciscan Ministries
Palm Harbor, FL 

James D. McDonough, Executive Director
Alphawood Foundation Chicago
Chicago, IL

Amy Mandel, Founder & Chief Visionary Officer
The Amy Mandel and Katina Rodis Fund 
Asheville, NC

Jason McGill and Annette Lanjouw, Co-Executive Directors
Arcus Foundation 
New York, NY and Cambridge, UK

J. Bob Alotta, Executive Director
Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice 
New York, NY

James E. Canales, President & Trustee
Barr Foundation
Boston, MA

Gary D. Bass, Executive Director
Bauman Foundation 
Washington, DC

Peter Long, President & CEO
Blue Shield of California Foundation 
San Francisco, CA

Paul Grogan, President & CEO
The Boston Foundation 
Boston, MA

Nan Schwanfelder, President
Brindle Foundation
Santa Fe, NM 

Cecilia Clarke, CEO
Kaberi Banerjee Murthy, VP of Programs
Brooklyn Community Foundation
Brooklyn, NY

Jennifer Ford Reedy, President
Bush Foundation 
St. Paul, MN

Christopher Punongbayan, Executive Director
California ChangeLawyers (formerly California Bar Foundation)
California

Antonia Hernandez, President & CEO
California Community Foundation
Los Angeles, CA

Robert K. Ross, MD, President & CEO
The California Endowment
California

Sandra R. Hernández, MD, President & CEO
California Health Care Foundation 
Oakland, CA

Judy Belk, President & CEO
The California Wellness Foundation
California

Tom Chavez, President & CEO
Chavez Family Foundation 
San Francisco, CA

Helene D. Gayle, President & CEO
The Chicago Community Trust 
Chicago, IL

K. Sujata, President & CEO
Chicago Foundation for Women
Chicago, IL

Mailee Walker, Executive Director
Andrea Bretting, Senior Program Officer
Karen Race, Grants & Communications Manager
The Claneil Foundation
Plymouth Meeting, PA

Cynthia G. Addams, Chief Executive Officer
The Collins Foundation
Portland, OR

Karen McNeil-Miller, President & CEO
The Colorado Health Foundation
Denver, CO

Ned Calonge, MD, MPH, President & CEO
The Colorado Trust
Denver, CO

J. Clinton Mabie, President & CEO
Jan Lesher, Board Chair
Community Foundation for Southern Arizona 
Tucson, AZ

Ellen Friedman, Executive Director
Compton Foundation 
San Francisco, CA

Monica George, President
Leslie Ramyk, Executive Director
Conant Family Foundation 
Chicago, IL

Peter Laugharn, President & CEO
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation 
Agoura Hills, CA

Yanique Redwood, President & CEO
Consumer Health Foundation
Washington, DC 

Rev. Mary K. "Kaki" Friskics-Warren, Executive Director
Dan and Margaret Maddox Charitable Fund
Nashville, TN

Carol S. Larson, President & CEO
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation 
Los Altos, CA

Lukas Haynes, Executive Director 
David Rockefeller Fund 
New York, NY

Jennifer Leith, Executive Director
The Douty Foundation
Philadelphia, PA

Joe Goldman, President
Democracy Fund 
Washington, DC

Cheryl L. Dorsey, President
Echoing Green 
New York, NY

Esther Morales, Strategic Initiatives Consultant
The Emergent Fund* 
San Francisco, CA

Antony Chiang, President and Sarah Lyman, Executive Vice President
Empire Health Foundation
Spokane, Washington

Damon Hewitt, Executive Director
Executives’ Alliance for Boys and Men of Color 
Washington, DC

Nicky Goren, President & CEO
Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation
Washington, DC

Monique B. Jones, President & CEO
Evanston Community Foundation
Evanston, IL

Jennie Lehua Watson, President
Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund
San Francisco, CA

Sandor Straus, President
Firedoll Foundation
Walnut Creek, CA

Kim Belshé, Executive Director
First 5 LA 
Los Angeles, CA

Tref Borden, Executive Director
Larry Fish, Chairman
The Fish Family Foundation 
Boston, MA

Suzette Brooks Masters
Flower Hill Fund at the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation 
Sheffield, MA

Darren Walker, President
Ford Foundation 
New York, NY

Nicky McIntyre, CEO
Foundation for a Just Society 
New York, NY

Jacqueline Jones, President & CEO
Foundation for Child Development 
New York, NY

Flozell Daniels, Jr., President & CEO 
Foundation for Louisiana 
Baton Rouge, LA

Judith G. Salerno, Executive Director
Foundation for MetroWest 
Natick, MA

Geoff Green, CEO
Foundation for Santa Barbara City College 
Santa Barbara, CA

Anita Khashu, Director
Four Freedoms Fund 
New York, NY

Ed Whitfield and Marnie Thompson, Co-Managing Directors
Fund for Democratic Communities 
Greensboro, NC

Marcos Vargas, Executive Director
Fund for Santa Barbara 
Santa Barbara, CA

Dimple Abichandani, Executive Director
General Service Foundation
Berkeley, CA

Amy Goldman, CEO & Chair
GHR Foundation 
Minneapolis, MN

Barbara and Tom Sargent, Advisors
The Global Whole Being Fund - Caring for Humanity on the Move
San Rafael, CA

Ramón Murguía, Board Chair
The Greater Kansas City Hispanic Development Fund 
Kansas City, MO

Vanessa Daniel, Executive Director
Groundswell Fund 
Oakland, CA

Leslie Dorosin and Rebekah Saul Butler, Co-Executive Directors
The Grove Foundation 
Los Altos, CA

Jay Williams, President
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
Hartord, CT 

David Nicholson, Executive Director
Headwaters Foundation for Justice
Minneapolis, MN

Kristen Keely-Dinger, President & CEO
The Healing Trust 
Nashville, TN

Bridget McCandless, MD, President & CEO
Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City 
Kansas City, MO

Grant Oliphant, President
The Heinz Endowments
Pittsburgh, PA

Deanna Gomby, President & CEO
Heising-Simons Foundation 
Los Altos, CA

Nat Chioke Williams, Ph.D., Executive Director
Hill-Snowdon Foundation 
Washington, DC

Ron Gonzales, President & CEO
Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley 
San Jose, CA

Ana Marie Argilagos, President & CEO
Hispanics In Philanthropy 
United States & Americas

Roger Doughty, President
Horizons Foundation 
San Francisco, CA

Ann B. Stern, President & CEO
Houston Endowment
Houston, TX

Kate Vickery, MPA, MSCRP, Executive Director
Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative 
Houston, TX

Randy Newcomb, President & CEO
Humanity United 
San Francisco, CA

Jocelyn Sargent, Executive Director
The Hyams Foundation 
Boston, MA

Phyllis Glink, Executive Director
Irving Harris Foundation
Chicago, IL

Don Howard, President & CEO
The James Irvine Foundation
California

Michael Lerner, President
Jennifer Altman Foundation 
San Francisco, CA

Christine James, Executive Director 
The John Merck Fund
Boston, MA  

Melanie Havelin, Executive Director
John M. Lloyd Foundation 
Los Angeles, CA

Jonathan C. Logan, CEO & Board President
Jonathan Logan Family Foundation
Berkeley, CA 

Carrie Pickett-Erway, President & CEO
Kalamazoo Community Foundation
Kalamazoo, MI

Rip Rapson, President & CEO
The Kresge Foundation
Troy, MI

Jacqueline Martinez Garcel, CEO
Latino Community Foundation 
San Francisco, CA

Carlos Martinez, Executive Director
Latino Community Foundation of Colorado
Denver, CO

Gilda "Gigi" Pedraza, Executive Director
Latino Community Fund Georgia
Atlanta, GA

Meg Coward, President
Hez Norton, Interim Executive Director
Laughing Gull Foundation
Durham, NC 

Caitlin Davis, Executive Director
Legal Foundation of Washington
Seattle, Washington

James S. Farley, President & CEO
Leichtag Foundation 
Encinitas, CA

Shane Goldsmith, President & CEO
Liberty Hill Foundation 
Los Angeles, CA

Crystal Hayling, Executive Director
The Libra Foundation
San Francisco, CA

Luz Vega-Marquis, President & CEO
Marguerite Casey Foundation 
Seattle, WA

Justin Maxson, Executive Director
Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation 
Winston Salem, NC

Wendy Lewis, Executive Director
McCune Charitable Foundation 
Santa Fe, NM

Amber French, Executive Director
amalia deloney, Program Director
Media Democracy Fund 
Washington, DC

Gayla Brockman, President and CEO
The Michael Reese Health Trust
Chicago, IL

R.T. Rybak, President & CEO
The Minneapolis Foundation
Minneapolis, MN 

Jeannie Blaustein, Ph.D., D. Ministry, President
Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation
Baltimore, MD

Sharon Alpert, President & CEO
The Nathan Cummings Foundation 
New York, NY

Nick Donohue, President & CEO
Nellie Mae Education Foundation 
Quincy, MA

Michele Lord, President
NEO Philanthropy 
New York, NY

Maria Mottola, Executive Director
New York Foundation
New York, NY

Molly de Aguiar, Managing Director
Jenny Choi, Associate Director
News Integrity Initiative
New York, NY

Kevin F. Walker, President & CEO
Northwest Area Foundation
St. Paul, MN

Nichole Maher, President & CEO
Northwest Health Foundation 
Portland, OR

Pamela Shifman, Executive Director
NoVo Foundation 
New York, NY

Victoria Peattie Helm, Executive Director 
NW Children’s Foundation
Seattle, WA  

Kathleen Cravero-Kristoffersson, President
Oak Foundation
Geneva, Switzerland

Judy Wright, Executive Director
Ohio Transformation Fund
Cleveland, OH

Stephen King, Partner; Global Lead, Governance & Citizen Engagement
Omidyar Network
Redwood City, CA

Patrick Gaspard, President
Open Society Foundations 
New York, NY

Valerie Kind-Rubin, Managing Trustee
The Patricia Kind Family Foundation
Philadelphia, PA

Ada Sanchez, Executive Director
Peppercorn Foundation 
Tampa, FL

Aly Richards, CEO
The Permanent Fund for Vermont's Children
Burlington, VT

Laura McCargar, President
Perrin Family Foundation 
New Haven, CT

Pedro A. Ramos, President & CEO
The Philadelphia Foundation
Philadelphia, PA

Ann Marie Healy, Executive Director
Philadelphia Health Partnership 
Philadelphia, PA

Bill Somerville, President
Philanthropic Ventures Foundation
Oakland, CA

Hanna Mahon, President
Pink House Foundation
Washington, DC

Michael Kollins, Lisa Kollins, and Judy Wright, Trustees
Pinnacle Gardens Foundation
Seattle, WA

Gillian Darlow, Chief Executive Officer
Polk Bros. Foundation
Chicago, IL

Kris A. Hermanns, Chief Executive Officer
Pride Foundation 
Seattle, WA

Paul Di Donato, President & CEO
Proteus Fund 
Amherst, MA

Brenda R. Sharpe, President & CEO
REACH Healthcare Foundation 
Merriam, KS

Pamela Petre Reis, President
The Reis Foundation 
Rolling Hills, CA

Jennifer Sousae, Executive Director
RHE Charitable Foundation
San Francisco, CA

Peter and Healther Mithoefer, Trustees
Robert T. Keeler Foundation 
Cincinnati, OH

Wes Moore, CEO
Robin Hood 
New York, NY

Timothy Silard, President
Rosenberg Foundation
San Francisco, CA

Alfred L. Castle, CEO & Treasurer
The Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation 
Honolulu, HI

Sarah Martinez-Helfman, President
Samuel S. Fels Fund
Philadelphia, PA

Fred Blackwell, CEO
The San Francisco Foundation
San Francisco, CA

Joe Pyle, President
Scattergood Foundation 
Philadelphia, PA

John H. Jackson, President & CEO
Schott Foundation for Public Education 
Cambridge, MA

Ann Alpers, President
S. H. Cowell Foundation 
San Francisco, CA

Chet P. Hewitt, President & CEO
Sierra Health Foundation and The Center 
Sacramento, CA

Erica Wood, Chief Impact Officer
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Mountain View, CA

Arthur Sills, President
Deborah Iarussi, Trustee
Peter Sills, Trustee
Sills Family Foundation 
New York, NY

Amanda Cloud, President & CEO
The Simmons Foundation 
Houston, TX

Thomas Keith, President
Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina 
Columbia, SC

Mijo Lee, Executive Director
Social Justice Fund NW
Seattle, WA

Priscilla Kersten, President
Square One Foundation 
Chicago, IL

Molly Gochman, Founder
Stardust Fund 
Houston, TX

Cavin P. Leeman, MD, President
Stephen & May Cavin Leeman Foundation 
New York, NY

Alexis Sant, President
The Summit Foundation 
Washington, DC

Fo-Ching Lu, President
SYL Foundation
Redmond, WA

Kriss Deiglmeier, CEO
Tides Foundation 
San Francisco, CA 

Rye Young, Executive Director
Third Wave Fund 
Brooklyn, NY & Chicago, IL

Allan Oliver, Executive Director
Thornburg Foundation
Santa Fe, NM 

Kristin Rothballer, Trustee
Tyler Rigg Foundation
San Francisco, CA & National

Taryn Higashi, Executive Director
Unbound Philanthropy
New York, NY

Sigrid Lundby, President
Union Benevolent Association
Philadelphia, PA

Nancy Wiltsek, Executive Director
van Löben Sels/RembeRock Foundation
San Francisco, CA  

Jan Vilcek, Chairman & CEO
The Vilcek Foundation
New York, NY

Robert N. DiLeonardi, Executive Director
VNA Foundation
Chicago, IL  

Stacie Ma'a, President
Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation
Berkeley, CA

Ellen Dorsey, Executive Director
Wallace Global Fund
Washington, DC

Fred Ali, President & CEO
Weingart Foundation
Los Angeles, CA

Catherine Crystal Foster, Executive Director
Westly Foundation 
Menlo Park, CA

John Esterle and Pia Infante, Co-Executive Directors
The Whitman Institute 
San Francisco, CA

Regina McGraw, Executive Director
Wieboldt Foundation 
Chicago, IL

Lisa Graustein, Chair
R. David Addams, Executive Director
William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund
Hamden, CT 

Adam Gamoran, President
Vivian Tseng, Senior Vice President, Program
William T. Grant Foundation 
New York, NY

La June Montgomery Tabron, President & CEO
W.K. Kellogg Foundation 
Battle Creek, MI

Jo Ann Intili and Edward Kissam, Trustees
WKF Giving Fund 
Oakland, CA

Surina Khan, CEO
Women's Foundation of California 
Oakland, CA

Lee Roper-Batker, President & CEO
Women’s Foundation of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN

Grace Hou, President
Woods Fund Chicago
Chicago, IL

Robert Uyeki, CEO
Y&H Soda Foundation
Moraga, CA

Merryl Snow Zegar and Charles Zegar, Trustees
Zegar Family Foundation 
New York, NY

Allison Magee, Executive Director
Zellerbach Family Foundation
San Francisco, CA

Philanthropy-Supporting Organizations, Consultants, & Other Groups

Cora Mirikitani, President & CEO
AAPIP - Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy 
Oakland, CA

Janet Gumbs, Acting President & CEO
ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities 
New York, NY

Niamani Mutima, Executive Director
Africa Grantmakers' Affinity Group
Warrenton, VA

Phil Buchanan, President
The Center for Effective Philanthropy
Cambridge, MA & San Francisco, CA

Carly Hare, National Director/Coalition Catalyst
CHANGE Philanthropy 
Oakland, CA

Marcela Davison Avilés, Benjamím Juarez Echenique and Marisa Canales, Co-Founders
The Chapultepec Group & Camino Arts 
Alamo, CA

Dana Lanza, CEO
Confluence Philanthropy 
Oakland, CA and New York, NY

Karla Fortunato, President
Connecticut Council for Philanthropy 
Hartford, CT

Linda Franciscovich & Sue Murphy, Co-Chairs
Carol P. O’Donnell, Executive Director
Connecticut Early Childhood Funder Collaborative, a project of Connecticut Council for Philanthropy
Hartford, CT

Corrie Wallace, Founder/Lead Consultant
Corrie LLC
Evanston, IL

Tory Dietel Hopps, Managing Partner
Dietel & Partners 
Yarmouth, ME

Shannon L. Rudisill, Executive Director
Early Childhood Funders Collaborative 
Washington, DC

Eric Marshall, Executive Director
Funders' Committee for Civic Participation
Austin, TX

Kristina Wertz, Acting President
Funders for LGBTQ Issues
New York, NY

Denise Shannon, Executive Director
Funders for Reproductive Equity 
International

Patricia Smith, President & CEO
Tom Woiwode, Board of Directors Chair
Funders' Network for Smarth Growth and Livable Communities
Miami, FL

Claudia Jasso, Founder & Managing Partner
Jasso Development & Planning, LLC 
Tucson, AZ

Steering Committee and Staff
Justice Funders 
Oakland, CA

Aaron Dorfman, President & CEO
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
Washington, DC

Dennis Quirin, President
Neighborhood Funders Group 
Oakland, CA

Annmarie McLaughlin, Board Chair
Cathy Frey, Executive Director
New Mexico Association of Grantmakers
Santa Fe, NM 

Lori Villarosa, Executive Director
Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity 
National

Christine Essel, President & CEO (SCG)
Nancy Jamison, President & CEO (SDG)
Ellen LaPointe, President & CEO (NCG)
Philanthropy CA
California

Sidney R. Hargro, Executive Director
Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia 
Philadelphia, PA

Iimay Ho, Executive Director
Resource Generation
New York, NY

Susan Eaton, Director
Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy 
Waltham, MA

David Biemesderfer, President & CEO
United Philanthropy Forum 
Washington, DC

Richard Marker, Founder/Co-Principal
Wise Philanthropy Institute

Donna Hall, President & CEO
Women Donors Network 
San Francisco, CA

Cynthia Nimmo, President & CEO
Women's Funding Network 
San Francisco, CA

*The Emergent Fund is a partnership between the Solidaire Network, the Threshold Foundation, the Democracy Alliance, and the Women Donors Network.

Take Action

Wondering how you can make an impact through your grantmaking?

Review our draft funding recommendations:

Family Separation and Detention: Recommendations for Philanthropic Response

If you would like to learn more about specific organizations working on this crisis, please contact Aryah Somers Landsberger at aryah@gcir.org.

Join

GCIR invites your foundation or philanthropy-serving organization to join this statement.

Please email Michael Kavate with the name of your institution; the name and title of your signer (i.e., the CEO, the board chair, or both); and the city and state where your organization is located. 

Other Philanthropic Statements

Annie E. Casey Foundation: Policies Threaten Well-Being of Children in Immigrant Families

Blue Shield of California Foundation: Keeping Families and Futures Intact: Action Steps for Funders

The California Endowment: Father's Day Outrage

The Colorado Health Foundation: Families Belong Together: Separation Endangers any Chance for Lifelong Health

Emerson Collective: 7 Things You Can Do to Help Immigrant Families at the Border

First 5 LA: Bordering on Inhumanity: Trump's Policy of Forcibly Separating Migrant Families Deliberately Causing Trauma to Children

Foundation for Child Development: America Should Have Zero Tolerance for the Damage Being Inflicted on Immigrant Children

Funders for LGBTQ Issues: How LGBTQ Philanthropy Can Respond to the Ongoing Attack on Immigrants

Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities: 
Speaking Out: Reaffirming Our Values in the Face of Intolerance 
Silence is Not an Option

Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City: HCF responds to family separation and detention border policies

The Heinz Endowments: We Are What We Do

Hispanics In Philanthropy: 5 Ways You Can Stand Up for Immigrant Children & Families TODAY

Hyams Foundation: Statement on U.S. Immigration Policy; Muslim Travel Ban

Latino Community Foundation: Keep Families Together

Liberty Hill: Liberty Hill Statement on Family Separation

Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation: A Crisis of Humanity: Our Statement on the Treatment of Families Seeking Asylum

Philanthropy California: Philanthropy California Statement on Family Separations

The San Francisco Foundation: Restore Our Humanity

Silicon Valley Community Foundation: Statement on family separation at the U.S. border

Southeastern Council on Foundations: Family Separations are a Humanitarian Issue

United Philanthropy Forum: Stop Separating Families at the Border. Now.

Women's Foundation of Minnesota: Our Statement of Opposition to Policy of Separating Immigrant Families

Women's Funding Network: Joint statement by 36 women's foundations

Coverage

Foundations Break Their Grant Guidelines and Speed Cash to Immigrant Needs
July 19, 2018, The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Barr Responds to Family Separation Crisis With Grants, Gifts
July 13, 2018, Barr Foundation

Update: Supporting efforts to reunite, advocate for immigrant families
July 12, 2018, The James Irvine Foundation

Family Separation Crisis on U.S. Border: How Donors Can Help
June 27, 2018, The Center for High Impact Philanthropy

 

A special thanks to GCIR members and funders for their support in making this statement possible.

Photoybs/CC