Empowering Houston’s Immigrant Families: How to Make a Philanthropic Impact

Houston funder tour
Thursday, September 20, 2018 (All day) to Friday, September 21, 2018 (All day)
Multiple Locations
Houston, TX



Save the date for a timely funder site visit on Thursday, September 20th, followed by a series of learning labs on Friday, September 21st. The tour is co-sponsored by the Houston EndowmentThe Simmons Foundation, the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative (HILSC), and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR).

This program pairing will provide funders with an opportunity to learn about the urgency of the current immigration context and its impact on Houston’s communities and immigrant families. Over the two days, funders will have the chance to engage and learn about the many challenges facing immigrants including the heightened enforcement environment that is separating families; the dismantling of crucial protections for vulnerable immigrants such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and asylum; as well as the continued impact of Hurricane Harvey on Houston’s newcomer families living at the margins.

The learning lab modules over both days will cover topics that intersect with different funding priorities: economic resiliency, criminal justice, education, health and well-being, disaster relief, and civic engagement. Houston services providers in the HILSC network and others will share innovative practices in legal representation, trauma-informed care, and rapid response strategies. Throughout the program, funders will learn how colleagues in philanthropy have responded to these crises and will consider additional opportunities for funding—other tools in the funder toolbox—to empower Houston’s immigrant families.

Day 1:

  • Tour an immigration detention facility for adults and hear from immigrant detainees who are in removal proceedings, including those who recently crossed the border. Understand their journeys, see the detention center setting, and find out more about the legal needs and services available when demand is at an all-time high.
  • After a lunch debrief, jump into the first set of learning modules, focusing on the intersection between immigration and criminal justice.
  • Wrap-up the day with networking and the launch of a special report by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) with new data about Houston’s immigrant population and the effects of recent enforcement actions.

Day 2:

  • Continue the conversation and hear from immigrant-serving organizations on the front lines during a series of learning modules. Pick and choose topics—including economic resiliency, education, health and well-being, disaster relief, and civic engagement—that relate to specific grantmaking priorities or areas for additional exploration.
  • During a funder exchange, share ideas with funder colleagues about what resonated and questions that remain.
  • Conclude the day with a lively reception to kick off Friday night with new connections, ideas for action, and arts and culture components that will uplift Houston’s vibrant local talent.

Join for either or both days. 


Registration is now closed.


Photo credits (clockwise from top left): City mural (Mike Rastiello/Creative Commons); mother and child leaving after treatment at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston (@TexasChildrens); a memorial to Vietnamese refugees in a Houston shopping plaza (Wally Gobetz/Creative Commons); and a group of inner-city youth participating in the annual Exploring Houston's Backyard event (USDA/Creative Commons).

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Thank You

 A special thanks to GCIR members and funders for their support in making this program possible.