California Dignity for Families Fund Announces $2.8M Investment in California Non-Profits

Wednesday, October 6, 2021



October 6, 2021

Contact: [email protected]


California Dignity for Families Fund Announces $2.8M Investment in California Non-Profits 

Fund Providing Humanitarian Aid to Migrants at the Border and in Resettlement Communities Expands to Include Support for Afghan and Haitian Migrants

 PETALUMA, CA - In partnership with California philanthropy, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) is announcing the California Dignity for Families Fund’s first round of grantmaking investments. The Fund, launched in May as part of a public-private partnership with the State of California, mobilizes philanthropic dollars to provide urgent humanitarian relief to migrants at the Southern California border, ensure due process for asylum seekers, and support their integration into receiving communities across the state. In August, GCIR expanded the Fund’s purpose to include support for families and individuals from Afghanistan and Haiti arriving in California. 

The Fund welcomes contributions from both institutional and individual donors. Visit the Fund’s website to learn more and donate. 

Led by GCIR and fiscally managed by Tides Foundation, the California Dignity for Families Fund supports non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in providing a humane and effective alternative to detention and surveillance. Through humanitarian relief, legal services, and case management, these NGOs assist migrants when they arrive at the border or other ports of entry and support their settlement in destination communities. Assistance also supports unaccompanied children and youth after they are released from federal care and reunited with family or placed with a sponsor in California. This reduces trauma for children and families, facilitates their stabilization, and supports Americans in welcoming new members to their communities. The California Dignity for Families Fund aims to establish vital long-term infrastructure that can address the needs of migrants now and in the future, helping to ensure that all Californians thrive no matter where they were born.

The Fund is guided by an advisory committee with deep movement, community, government, and philanthropic experience, and members are charged with setting the Fund’s grantmaking strategy and selecting the partner organizations to receive grants. Committee members include Dulce Garcia (Border Angels / San Diego Immigrant Rights Coalition), Mitzie Perez (California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance), Odilia Romero (Comunidades Indígenas en Liderazgo (CIELO)), Ola Osaze (Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project (BLMP)), Dan Torres (Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund), Rosie Arroyo (California Community Foundation), Megan Thomas (Catalyst of San Diego and Imperial Counties), and Marissa Tirona (GCIR).

So far, the Fund has raised $8.6 million towards an initial $20 million funding goal to complement the $25 million committed by the State of California. Of this first set of investments, totaling nearly $2.8 million, nearly $1.1 million is concentrated in San Diego and the border region, with the remainder of investments distributed across Los Angeles, the Bay Area, the Central Coast, Sacramento, and the Central Valley. 

The selection of this first round of investments prioritized opportunities that are time-sensitive; organizations that balance state and local government strategies; and solidarity with migrant communities often excluded from grantmaking priorities, such as Black, Indigenous, Muslim, Latinx, LGBTQIA+ and womxn serving organizations. These early investments support legal services; indigenous language and cultural support capacities; flexible support at the border for services, including services for those arriving at non-official points of entry; and support for organizations that will welcome and resettle Afghan and Haitian newcomers.

The first round of proposed grantees for the California Dignity for Families Fund includes:

Supporters of the California Dignity for Families Fund include The James Irvine Foundation, Sunlight Giving, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, The California Endowment, Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, California Community Foundation, Weingart Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, Emerson Collective, The Grove Foundation, Stupski Foundation, The California Wellness Foundation, The Rosenberg Foundation, and Unbound Philanthropy.  

“I am thrilled that we are expanding the purpose of the Fund to include support for newly arriving Afghans and Haitians,” said Dan Torres, Program Director for Immigrant Rights at the Evelyn and Walter, Haas, Jr. Fund and advisory committee member. “It is essential that an effort like this be able to adapt quickly to rapidly unfolding developments, and this expansion recognizes that what is happening at the southern border is deeply related to the experiences and needs of Afghan and Haitian families seeking refuge.” 

“It is exciting that the Fund is investing strategically in a powerful set of organizations on the ground, groups with deep community relationships that are uniquely positioned to address these urgent needs,” said Rosie Arroyo, Senior Program Officer at the California Community Foundation and advisory committee member. “I am proud that 100% of the organizations in this docket are led by Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Muslim, LGBTQIA+, and women leaders, and that 100% of the staff and leadership of those organizations represent the communities they serve.” 

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GCIR galvanizes philanthropy to advance immigrant justice and belonging. In the past four years, GCIR worked with California philanthropy to deploy $327 million in response to anti-immigrant federal policies. In 2020, GCIR launched the California Immigrant Resilience Fund, which raised over $50 million to provide relief to more than 80,000 undocumented immigrant households experiencing severe economic hardship as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. GCIR also co-founded and managed the UndocuFund for Disaster Relief in Sonoma County, which raised over $7 million to provide direct cash assistance to almost 8,000 undocumented immigrants and their families who were affected by the 2017 wildfires. Nationally, since 2012, the organization has worked with funders in 19 states to deploy nearly $80 million to build local capacity for immigration legal services, advocacy, and organizing.