6 Ways Family Foundations Can Make a Difference in Immigrant and Refugee Lives

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

With all the changes in the political climate over the past year, I’ve been especially concerned for immigrants and refugees. Many families in my city and community have been affected by the new executive orders and administrative actions, and I’ve read stories about many others across the country that are at risk. This can feel overwhelming when I think about the impact on people I know. The issues we’re dealing with are daunting and complex; it makes me wonder how I can be most helpful.

You may believe that it would take massive investment to have even a minor impact in this climate. But the truth is, we can all make a difference. Family foundations are no exception.

In fact, family philanthropy is critically important in this moment. Private resources can help ensure the stability of organizations facing sharp city, state, and federal budget cuts. Unlike governments, family foundations have a pool of resources that can be allocated flexibly and quickly to help nonprofits adapt to emerging threats. With fewer bureaucratic structures than other philanthropic institutions, family foundations can provide emergency funding where and when it’s needed most.

As a Consultant at TCC Group, a 40-year-old social impact consulting firm, I partner with foundations of all kinds – including family foundations – to help them advance their social missions. Several of our family foundation clients have been asking how to get involved in supporting immigrant and refugee communities – many for the first time. They want to know how to source and support impactful organizations, how best to leverage their resources, and how to tailor funding most effectively to existing grantees.

Based on our client work and years in the field, here are six essentials we encourage funding partners to keep in mind.  While these ideas are particularly relevant to addressing the challenges facing immigrant and refugee communities, they are also applicable in responding to other complex and timely issues.