By Daranee Petsod, GCIR President
In light of the intensifying attacks on immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, I want to keep you—our members, funders, partners, and stakeholders—informed of our work on a more regular basis. This midway point in the year, coinciding with my return from sabbatical, provides a good opportunity to launch this quarterly update.
I am especially proud of our work this last quarter while I was away. Our talented team didn’t miss a beat, mobilizing an effective and aggressive response to policy crises; keeping pace with the thirst for information through programming, analyses, and recommendations; and lifting up the voice of philanthropy in opposition to policy attacks. Our work focused both on addressing urgent concerns facing immigrants and refugees and advancing an affirmative agenda with an eye towards long-term change.
Here is a quick snapshot of the team’s activities to inform, connect, and catalyze philanthropy during the past quarter:
Responding to Policy Attacks
- Family Separation: We conducted an analysis of needs and capacity, drafted funding recommendations, organized a joint foundation statement, held briefings, and provided consultation to 75+ foundations. We will continue to inform and support philanthropic response as this issue continues to unfold.
- Refugees and Asylum Seekers: On International Refugee Day, we released Philanthropic Strategies to Support Refugees and Asylum Seekers. Our recently launched working group Funders for Refugees and Asylum Seekers has been meeting to discuss how funders can respond to the dismantling of the U.S. refugee and asylum systems and their impact on local communities in the United States and across the globe.
- Delivering on the Dream (DOTD): Launched in 2012 to maximize DACA implementation, the DOTD network now comprises 20 sites in 15 states working to expand legal services, outreach and education, advocacy, and more. In addition to supporting current network members, our team is actively working with funders in two additional states to launch new collaboratives by year's end.
- California Immigrant Integration Initiative (CIII): We continue to help California funders stay informed on fast-moving policy developments, coordinate strategies, and leverage investments.
- The Immigrant Workforce Learning Community continues to engage funders on strategies for improving employment outcomes, and the newly launched Be Well Working Group provides a forum to examine mental health funding strategies.
Connecting the Dots and Seeing the Big Picture
- 2020 Census: We support and coordinate a statewide table of more than 30 California foundations and will soon host a meeting to discuss funding strategies and priorities. At the national level, we work closely with the Funders Census Initiative, encouraging our members to sign onto to its joint letter asking that the new citizenship question be removed. We also signed onto United Philanthropy Forum’s joint letter opposing the citizenship question.
- Criminal Justice. In the wake of heightened criminalization of immigrants, we laid the groundwork for a project to examine immigration enforcement and detention in the context of criminalization of vulnerable communities.
- Social Cohesion. In an Inside Philanthropy piece earlier this year, I urged funders to support efforts to build bridges, reduce tensions, and strengthen social cohesion. This fall, we will begin conducting research to identify innovative models and strategies for addressing extreme polarization and scapegoating in our country.
For the remainder of the year, we will advance this wide-ranging body of work, respond to new challenges that arise, and provide the support and resources you have come to rely upon. While we will have less core capacity due to leaves and other changes, we will bring on the right people with the right expertise to fill in the gaps, as we have in the past. In the coming months, you will see some new names in your inbox and new faces at meetings, as part of our effort to continue to provide expertise and leadership.
Thank you for your support of our work—and your grantmaking in support of immigrants and refugees in these hostile times.