Immigrants, Philanthropy, and America's Future: Learning from the U.S. South

#GCIR2014 Immigrants, Philanthropy, and America's Future: Learning from the U.S. South
Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 3:00pm to Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 5:15pm CDT
Nashville, Tennessee
Omni Nashville Hotel
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From rural towns to sprawling metropolises, the face of America is changing. Recent demographic shifts have been especially pronounced in the U.S. South, where foreign-born migration is at a historic high. As with the country as a whole, immigrants in the South have invigorated declining communities, spurred economic growth, and reversed negative population trends. But with change also come challenges—some anticipated and some unforeseen.

GCIR's 2014 National Convening, Immigrants, Philanthropy, and America’s Future: Learning from the U.S. South, held May 20-22 in Nashville, Tennessee considered how philanthropy can address these challenges—and the opportunities they present. It highlighted the latest issues and trends in the field, effective funding strategies, and innovative program and policy models from this dynamic region, as well as other sites across the country.

The two-and-a-half-day event offered a mix of plenary sessions, issue-based conversations, knowledge-building workshops, learning labs, and off-site community conversations. All conference programming emphasized discussion, peer-based learning, and relationship building. 

“I am certain the GCIR 2012 convening was the best conference I have ever attended--and I have attended a LOT of conferences in my nonprofit life!”
-- Participant in GCIR’s 2012 convening

Attendees had a chance to:

  • Explore opportunities to engage a range of allies such as faith, business, labor, and civic groups in leveraging immigrants’ and refugees’ contributions and responding to their needs at the local, state, regional, and national level.
  • Learn about cutting-edge programs that welcome newcomers and promote immigrant integration.
  • Connect with other funders from across the country and discuss major policy changes affecting immigrants and refugees, from the Affordable Care Act to the Voting Rights Act and more.
  • Sharpen grantmaking skills and strategies through workshops and conversations on innovative models and promising practices.
“So many parts were standout and exceptional… the GCIR members are exceptional within philanthropy.”
-- Participant in GCIR’s 2012 convening

Session Highlights

The schedule included:

Plenary sessions that offered big-picture ideas, varied perspectives, and innovative approaches to addressing changing demographics, the role of local government, and communications strategies and challenges.

Workshops that presented an in-depth look at specific policy issues—such as English as a second language (ESL) and education, health, economic security and mobility, and civic participation—as well as grantmaking strategies.

Off-site community conversations that offered the opportunity to interact with and learn from diverse local organizations and service providers. These conversations brought participants to Casa Azafrán Community Center, a 28,800-square foot space located in one of Nashville’s most diverse districts, home to a collective of non-profits including educational, legal, health, and arts organizations, as well as the Siloam Family Health Center.

“This is what philanthropy should be about.”
-- Participant in GCIR’s 2012 convening


Tuesday, May 20, 2014
10:00 am – 7:00 pm Registration
3:00 pm – 5:30 pm GCIR LEARNING LAB
Changing the Narrative: What Funders Can Learn from Immigrant-Focused Communications Campaigns
Navigating Race and Immigration: A Roadmap for Funders
Shaking Up Our Usual Philanthropic Practice with Collaboration
5:30 pm – 6:00 pm Break
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Opening Dinner and Conference Kick-Off
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
8:00 am – 9:00 am Breakfast Buffet
8:00 am – 1:00 pm Registration
8:00 am – 1:00 pm Immigrant Nation Exhibit
9:00 am – 9:05 am Morning Welcome
9:05 am – 9:10 am Film Finalist Screening: Latinos by Nature, Kentuckians By Heart by Jenifer Abreu
9:10 am – 9:55 am As the South Goes
9:55 am – 10:10 am Break
10:10 am – 10:15 am Film Finalist Screening: The Voyage, by Luis Montoya
10:15 am – 11:45 am State of Play: Immigration Policy Update for Philanthropy
11:45 am – 12:05 pm Context Setting and Logistics Briefing for “Community Conversations”
12:05 pm – 1:30 pm Voices from Nashville: Networking Lunch with Community Members
1:30 pm Departure to Casa Azafrán Community Center and Siloam Family Health Center
New Horizons: Promising Practices in Refugee Resettlement
From Backlash to Bridge-Building: Immigrant Advocacy and Organizing in the Volunteer State
Exploring Pathways to Civic Integration in Nashville and Beyond
3:15 pm – 3:45 pm Transition Break/ ESL to Go and Casa Azafrán Tours
5:00 pm – 6:30 pm Return to Hotel/Rest Break
6:30 pm – 10:00 pm Optional Evening Activities
Thursday, May 22, 2014
8:00 am – 5:00 pm Immigrant Nation Exhibit
8:00 am – 9:00 am Breakfast Buffet
8:00 am – 9:00 am FUNDER-LED ROUNDTABLES
Strategies to Advance Immigrant Integration in Rural and Semi-Rural Communities
Strengthening the Frontline: How Alliances between Immigrant Organizations and Worker Centers Are Advancing Rights and Reforms
The Potential of Parent Organizing for Immigrants
How Alabama Stopped the Arizona Model in Its Tracks
Illuminating Injustice, Inspiring Action: Using Photojournalism to Contribute to the Immigrant Rights Movement in the South
9:00 am – 9:15 am Break
9:15 am – 9:25 am Morning Welcome
9:25 am – 9:30 am Film Finalist Screening: Civil Rights and Immigrant Rights: The Ongoing Struggle for Equality in Alabama, by Ali Massoud
9:30 am – 10:45 am Rooted in Race: Immigration, Mass Incarceration and the Ongoing Struggle for Civil Rights
10:45 am – 11:00 am Break
11:00 am – 12:15 pm CONCURRENT WORKSHOPS
Building the Power of AAPI and AMEMSA Communities
Educating America’s Changing Student Population
Proven Partnerships: Innovations in Scaling Citizenship Models
Workplace Wins for Immigrants in the South and Beyond
LGBT-Immigrant Alliances in the U.S. South: Coming Out and Coming Together
Place-Based Strategies for Immigrant Integration in New Gateways
12:15 pm – 12:30 pm Break
12:30 pm – 1:45 pm From Unlikely Allies to Powerful Partners: How Faith, Business, and Labor Are Advancing Immigrant Integration and Making the Case for Reform
1:45 pm – 2:00 pm CONCURRENT WORKSHOPS
What English Language Learners Need to Work and Thrive: Opportunities and Gaps in the Adult Education System
DACA: Impact to Date and What Lies Ahead
Growing the Grassroots, Lifting Up Leaders
Workforce Strategies That Work! Embracing Newcomers and Building Vibrant Economies
Healthy Futures for All
3:15 pm – 3:45 pm Break
3:45 pm – 5:00 pm Future Forward: Immigrants, Education, and the U.S. Workforce
5:00 pm – 5:15 pm Closing Remarks and Announcements
5:15 pm – 6:00 pm Break
6:30 pm – 10:00 pm Dinner, Dancing, and Celebrating!

National Planning Committee

NPC Co-Chairs

Host and Regional Members

Members at Large


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Thank You

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