Moving Money and Power: Announcing GCIR's New Theory of Change

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Dear Colleagues: 

In 2021, GCIR launched a process to develop a new strategy which reflects our evolution as a national philanthropic mobilizing organization that creates strategic opportunities to move money and power to immigrant and refugee communities. To that end, we asked the Luminare Group to design and facilitate a strategy development process that was inclusive, generative, and collaborative. It was important to us that we did not create this new framework in a vacuum, so we convened a dynamic group of movement leaders, funders, and experts whose perspectives are informed by varied experiences and roles within the social justice ecosystem.  

Over the course of multiple strategy sessions, this design team worked together to: 

  • Define the problem that GCIR seeks to address. 
  • Articulate the ways in which GCIR wants to show up in the world. 
  • Identify the external conditions that will affect GCIR’s success. 
  • Specify the means by which GCIR will facilitate change. 
  • Imagine the transformative change that is possible.  

With a draft framework in hand, the GCIR team test drove emerging concepts and values at our convening in Houston last May and through our programs and communications in the latter half of 2022. And now we are excited to share with all of you - our members, supporters, and partners - GCIR’s new theory of change.   


As reflected in our theory of change, we seek to address the ways in which global systems of oppression inflict harm upon and withhold power and resources from people who seek to stay, move freely, work, transform, and thrive. This organizational stance recognizes that there are international forces driving the displacement, exploitation, and oppression of migrants - the impact of which is felt at the local, state, and national levels - and that GCIR must develop strategies that respond to these systemic challenges. As such:   

  • We will mobilize resources and create spaces for learning by modeling and encouraging philanthropic practices that cede and seed power and by promoting strategies that are intersectional, cross-movement, and liberatory. 
  • We will expand our work to promote pro-migration narratives, ideas, and cultural norms and to amplify the voices, expertise, and experience of immigrant and refugee leaders. 
  • We will begin to explore work that facilitates transnational collaboration and addresses global forces impacting migration and displacement. 

In implementing these strategies over the long-term, we believe that: 

  • Immigrant and refugee communities will have the resources and capital to self-determine. 
  • The leadership and influence of immigrant and refugee leaders will strengthen and grow.
  • Philanthropy will engage in bold action to move money and power to immigrant and refugee communities. 
  • There will be a strong, well-resourced immigrant and refugee justice ecosystem.  
  • Conditions driving displacement and migration will be addressed within a broader racial and social justice agenda. 

These outcomes, of course, are not GCIR’s alone. Rather, this transformative change will be the result of our collective work with immigrant and refugee communities, movement leaders and organizations, funders, intermediaries, policymakers, cultural workers, and academia. We commit to a set of values and guiding principles that drive our practices and actions from a place of reciprocity and mutuality. Our organizational values of love, solidarity, dignity, power, and abundance will make our intentional, purposeful, and liberatory work possible. 

We are excited and grateful to embark on this next part of our organizational journey with you, and we are eager to hear from you about what you think of our new theory of change. What resonates with you? What are you curious about? What role might you play in helping us achieve the transformative change we seek? In these complex and uncertain times, we seek to move with purpose, towards purpose, and on purpose, and we believe that our new theory of change can serve as a roadmap for our collective way forward.  

In solidarity, 

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