GCIR and Philanthropic Partners Announce Creation of California Immigrant Resilience Fund

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Private Fund Will Support Undocumented California Families Ineligible for Federal and State Relief in Midst of Coronavirus Crisis in Partnership with Public Fund Announced Today by Gov. Newsom

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - In partnership with California philanthropy, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) today announced the launch of the California Immigrant Resilience Fund, seeking to raise $50 million to provide cash assistance to undocumented Californians and their families, who are ineligible for COVID-19 federal relief and state safety-net programs. The Fund was set up as part of a public-private partnership with Governor Gavin Newsom, who today announced a separate $75 million state-financed immigrant relief fund, the first of its kind in the nation.  

Donations to the Resilience Fund can be made at www.immigrantfundca.org.

The Resilience Fund is seeded with more than $6 million in contributions. Led by Emerson Collective and Blue Shield of California Foundation, other supporters include The California Endowment, The James Irvine Foundation, Open Society Foundations, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, California Wellness Foundation, Sunlight Giving, the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, the Marin Community Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and the Akonadi Foundation. With the goal of raising an initial $50 million, the Resilience Fund will seek support from additional foundations, as well as corporate and major individual donors. It is also accepting online donations from the general public.

More than two million Californians are undocumented, and they and their families are among the most vulnerable to acute harm and suffering due to the coronavirus public health crisis, even while thousands are combating the coronavirus crisis on the frontlines as essential workers in healthcare, food and grocery supply chains, and sanitation roles. Undocumented Californians and their family members represent nearly 10% of California’s workforce. Annually, they contribute approximately $2.5 billion in state and local taxes and another $2 billion in federal taxes, but many work in low-wage sectors hit hardest by the pandemic, from caregiving and hospitality to food service and landscaping. Undocumented Californians who have lost jobs or are seeing reduced hours may have no other means of keeping a roof over their heads and putting food on the table, and they have purposefully been excluded from federal relief. 

The current crisis magnifies the inequities that undocumented immigrants in California already experience, and further economic instability could devastate generations of California families. While the Fund is being launched to help meet undocumented Californians’ immediate needs in response to the COVID-19 crisis, it will also establish vital durable infrastructure and a network that can be quickly mobilized to address future crises and opportunities. The Fund will deliver relief directly to undocumented families right now, while also supporting the well-being and resilience of immigrant communities over the long term. And it will help build a healthy, just, and equitable future for all Californians, no matter where they were born.  

“I want to thank our philanthropic partners for joining with California and committing to raise an additional $50 million to provide disaster relief support to this population through the California Immigrant Resilience Fund," said Governor Newsom.

“We’re incredibly grateful to Governor Newsom and our generous philanthropic partners for their leadership. This unprecedented partnership aligns public and private resources to help immigrant Californians and their families weather this devastating crisis,” said Daranee Petsod, President of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees. “The Resilience Fund will provide immediate relief to some of our most vulnerable neighbors right now, while building long-term support for California’s families and communities in the future.”  

"During this moment of national crisis, undocumented immigrants are risking their own health on behalf of the rest of us, saving lives as healthcare workers; caring for our loved ones; and growing much of the food we depend on," said Laurene Powell Jobs, Founder and President of Emerson Collective. “With the federal government and many states failing to provide undocumented immigrants the economic and health supports all Americans deserve, I hope that corporations, foundations and individuals across the country will join us in providing the emergency relief these members of our community need to weather this challenging time.”

“Immigrants are disproportionately impacted by this pandemic,” said Debbie I. Chang, MPH, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation, which committed $1 million to the Fund. “Immigrants are often considered essential workers, meaning they must risk their health and lives to harvest food, sanitize common spaces, and provide domestic services for low wages. The California Immigrant Resilience Fund is a critical investment because so many immigrant families have been left out of other aid packages, yet these residents face consequences to their health and safety that will be compounded across future generations.”

“Ensuring the health and safety of all Californians during this pandemic is critical,” said Dr. Robert K. Ross, President and CEO of The California Endowment. “We are proud to support the California Immigrant Resilience Fund and excited about our partnership with the Governor and State to ensure that our undocumented Californians also receive critical support at this uncertain time.”

“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on our state, particularly our fellow undocumented Californians who are excluded from federal relief and ineligible for many state safety-net programs,” said Don Howard, President and CEO of The James Irvine Foundation. The Irvine Foundation is proud to commit to this fund to support immigrant Californians and their families who are integral to our social, economic, and civic fabric.”

“The economic impact of COVID-19 on immigrant communities has been devastating, especially for immigrants without status who call California home. A large portion of our community —including farmworkers, domestic workers, and others who perform essential roles — have no access to federal relief funding or other forms of assistance,” said Mike Troncoso, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Vice President of Justice and Opportunity. “We thank Governor Newsom for his leadership and are grateful for the collaborative spirit in which partners across our state have responded to this enormous area of need; CZI is proud to support the California Immigrant Resilience Fund.”

“California is home to more immigrants than any other state. Ensuring the health and wellness of immigrants – whether documented or undocumented - is essential to our future,” said Judy Belk, president and CEO of The California Wellness Foundation. “When we protect the health of immigrants, we advance the wellness of our neighborhoods and communities. We know that COVID-19 does not discriminate, therefore we must not discriminate in our allocations of life saving services and cash assistance that will protect the health and wellness of our state’s residents. We proudly support the California Immigrant Resilience Fund and commend the governor for his leadership.”

"Everyone deserves to feel safe and to protect the health of themselves and their family during this crisis, regardless of immigration status,” added Tegan Acton, President of Sunlight Giving. “As Californians, we come together to care for our neighbors and communities in this extraordinary time and in service of building a more equitable future.​"

"Supporting the California Immigrant Relief Fund helps our vulnerable neighbors at a time of great need—and it’s good for all of California. We need to work together to make sure our immigrant families, our communities and our economy can stay strong and resilient through this crisis," said Cathy Cha, President of the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund.

“The social and economic vitality of California owes in large measure to the steady flow of immigration into our state,” said Dr. Thomas Peters, President and CEO of the Marin Community Foundation. “Now in this hour of extreme need, surely it is time to reciprocate the level of support, care, and contribution these new residents have always brought. The California Immigrant Resilience Fund offers the opportunity to respond to the current biological and financial crisis disproportionately affecting our immigrant neighbors and coworkers, and to do so with fairness and respect.”

“At least 300,000 of our neighbors in Silicon Valley are undocumented and will not qualify for federal assistance, despite the fact that many of them hold this region and nation together through their work. SVCF is proud to stand with our colleagues to ensure that those who have brought so much to our communities are supported in this time of need,” added Nicole Taylor, President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

“The devastating impacts of this pandemic are exacerbated in communities of color,” said Lateefah Simon, President of the Akonadi Foundation. “The Akonadi Foundation stands united with the California Immigrant Resilience Fund’s efforts to support the critical issues facing immigrant families and organizations.”

GCIR will bring its more than 30 years of experience as the nation’s only immigrant-focused philanthropic network to oversee the Resilience Fund. The Tides Foundation will act as the fiscal manager for the Fund, helping to receive, disburse, and manage these critical resources to get them to the undocumented Californians hit hardest by this unprecedented crisis.

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GCIR galvanizes philanthropy to advance immigrant justice and belonging. In the past four years, GCIR has worked with California philanthropy to deploy $327 million in response to anti-immigrant federal policies. GCIR cofounded 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.

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