Theory of Change

Publication date: 
February 2023

Born of our recent strategy development process, GCIR’s new theory of change reflects our evolution as a national philanthropic mobilizing organization that creates strategic opportunities to move money and power to immigrant and refugee communities and galvanizes funders to resource a robust immigration and refugee rights power-building ecosystem.

We recognize that this transformative change will be the result of our collective work with immigrant and refugee communities, movement leaders and organizations, funders, policymakers, and others. 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 seek to address this core problem:

Racial capitalism and militarism inflict harm upon—and withhold power and resources from—people and communities who seek to stay, to move freely, to work, to transform, and to thrive.

Underlying our efforts to effect transformative change in support of immigrant and refugee communities are the following assumptions:

  • 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.
  • Philanthropy can change, and the sector must be pushed to cede (and seed) power and move money to immigrant and refugee communities.
  • Immigrant and refugee justice requires dismantling white supremacy at the global and national levels.
  • Our work is now, it is generational, and it is multi-generational. We are preparing for those who will inherit it. 
  • Intersectional, cross-movement work leads to mutual liberation.

Informed by this analysis, we will:

  • Mobilize resources by modeling and encouraging philanthropic practices that cede and seed power to immigrant and refugee communities.
  • Create spaces for learning while promoting strategies that are intersectional, cross-movement, and liberatory.
  • Partner with and amplify the voices, expertise, and experience of immigrant and refugee leaders.
  • Promote pro-migration narratives, ideas, and cultural norms.
  • Facilitate transnational collaboration and address global forces impacting migration and displacement.

Utilizing these strategies, we work toward a future in which:

  • 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.
  • Conditions driving displacement and migration will be addressed within a broader racial and social justice agenda.
  • There will be a strong, well-resourced immigrant and refugee justice ecosystem. 

We offer our gratitude to those who helped inform our theory of change, including GCIR’s staff and board, movement leaders, philanthropic partners, and the Luminare Group, which helped us design and facilitate a strategy development process that was inclusive, generative, and collaborative.

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