GCIR Theory of Change

Publication date: 
January 2016
GCIR Theory of Change


Immigrants and refugees cannot become full members of our society unless barriers to their integration are addressed and opportunities for them to contribute to our economic, social, and civic fabric are created.


Global migration is a growing phenomenon. The U.S. is home to 40.4 million immigrants—20 percent of the world’s migrant population. The growth and diversity of the U.S. immigrant population create opportunities to address longstanding issues, improve racial equity, and strengthen our democratic traditions. Our country’s current and future economic growth
and stability depend on immigrants’ contributions and workforce participation. Immigrants and their children make up nearly 18.5 percent of U.S. residents. Public policies should take into consideration the specific needs of newcomers and the fact that they are part of American families and communities.


  • Immigrants and refugees play a central role in building secure, vibrant, and cohesive communities.
  • Philanthropic institutions play an important role in shaping fair and humane immigration policies and in promoting the integration of immigrants and refugees into society.
  • With support from foundations, immigrant nonprofit organizations provide advocacy, organizing, services, programs, and the necessary infrastructure to address the needs of newcomers and to promote their full integration into our society.


  • Inform funders about a diverse range of immigrant and refugee-related issues, policies, and grantmaking strategies through programs, information resources, communications, and initiatives.
  • Connect a wide range of funders and philanthropic partners and facilitate information sharing, coordination, and collaboration to strengthen immigrant- and refugee-related grantmaking.
  • Catalyze funders and other philanthropic partners to exercise leadership on immigration and immigrant and refugee integration issues, as well as develop funding approaches that increase the impact of their grantmaking and other investments.

Anticipated Changes 

  • Funders and other philanthropic leaders learn about and understand a wide range of issues affecting immigrants and refugees.
  • Funders and other philanthropic leaders support a range of immigration and immigrant- and refugee-related issues through their grantmaking; coordinate and collaborate with grantmaking colleagues and other partners; and share best practices to maximize the impact of their investments.
  • Affinity groups, regional associations of grantmakers, policy experts, immigrant-serving organizations, and other key partners help funders understand the relevance of immigrant and refugee issues to their grantmaking.
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