President's Letter on Mass Shootings & Raids: Support Rapid Response and Long-term Strategies

Monday, August 12, 2019

Dear Colleagues:

Like many of you, we at GCIR are reeling from the events of this past week, from the shootings in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton to the ICE raids in Mississippi, not to mention the ongoing atrocities at the border. In light of both urgent humanitarian needs and the heightened imperative for policy and systems change, we urge you to support both rapid response and long-term strategies.

Rapid-Response Funding

Immediate needs include social and mental health services, legal services, Spanish and indigenous language interpretation and translation, bond funding, and support for organizing and communications efforts.

  • ICE Raids in Mississippi: We are aware that a number of organizations in the state and region are working together to address the immediate impact of the raids. We will know more in the coming weeks. For more information on funding needs, please contact us or see the Additional Resources section at bottom.
  • Mass Shootings: The Gilroy Garlic Festival Victims Relief Fund, set up by the Gilroy Foundation in partnership with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, provides relief to those affected by the July 29 shooting. El Paso Community Foundation has set up a fund to help the children and families affected by the August 3 shooting, and the Dayton Foundation has set up a fund to help those individuals most directly impacted by the August 4 shooting.
  • Family Protection at the Border: We recently met with organizations in the El Paso-Juarez region as part of a visit organized by Hispanics in Philanthropy. Please contact Aryah Somers Landsberger for more information on funding in this and other border regions.

We also urge you to consider making rapid-response funding an ongoing part of your regular grantmaking:

  • If you have organizations working on immigrant-related issues in your portfolio, build in rapid-response funding to your general-support and project-specific grants to allow them to respond immediately and minimize the demands on their staff time for fundraising and reporting.
  • Add funding for rapid response to your overall annual grantmaking budget. Having readily available funds for this purpose will allow you to make grants quickly when these events occur, particularly outside of your geographic area, issue focus, or grantee pool. Foundations with dedicated funding reserved for disaster relief can serve as a resource.
  • Strategize with other funders about long-term coordination on rapid response, including a national pooled fund to address immigration crises. Let us know if you are interested in pursuing this idea, and GCIR can convene an exploratory conversation.

Long-term Strategic Grantmaking

Hostile policies targeting immigrant families and workers, as well as white supremacist violence, are expected to continue unabated for the foreseeable future. In the face of unspeakable tragedies fueled by hate and xenophobia, philanthropy must address the devastating human impact that sows fear in immigrant families across the country. Yet, immigration funding for the past two and a half years has largely focused on rapid response. Much like disaster relief funding, the vast majority of philanthropic giving goes to support immediate relief, whereas a much smaller percentage goes toward supporting long-term resiliency, recovery, and rebuilding.
If we are to effect lasting change, we must look beyond discrete events to the larger agenda motivating these attacks. We must strengthen our resolve to be vigilant guardians over our neighbors and our democracy. And we must invest in long-term strategies to build a society in which everyone values our shared humanity.
With gratitude,

Daranee Petsod

P.S. Some of you have asked what you can do as individuals. In addition to the above suggestions, Stand with Mississippi offers opportunities to volunteer your skills, even if you do not speak Spanish or an indigenous language, or do not live in Mississippi. You can also make personal donations to support frontline organizations through the Help Immigrant Kids and Families in Mississippi webpage.

Additional Resources


Photo: Joe Brusky / Creative Commons