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More US Foundations Fund Pro-Immigrant Movement

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The anti-immigration rhetoric and policy that have surged during the Trump presidency have not gone unnoticed by the U.S. philanthropic community.

Research released this month by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy indicates that less than 1% of all foundation funding between 2011 and 2015 went to support for immigrants and refugees, with just 11 organizations providing half of all such funding.

Since the 2016 presidential election, upward of 60 foundations have made first-time grants to the pro-immigrant movement.

That figure is based on grants made to a small but representative sampling of 13 pro-immigrant groups, representing a cross-section of national, statewide and local organizations from across the country, according to NCRP.

The study found that grants to the pro-immigrant movement from new funders made up only a fraction of charitable dollars that went to movement groups. Some 90% of foundation grants to groups in the NCRP sample in 2017 and 2018 came from funders that had previously given larger grants.

Interviews NCRP conducted with movement leaders and an analysis of quantitative data from Foundation Center identified a large gap between the small pool of funders and the urgent and long-term threats that immigrant communities face.

The report said charitable investments in two areas can help fill those gaps. One is funding state and local organizing to bolster and grow immigrant communities’ ability to defend against threats of deportations and anti-immigrant policies.

The other is to explicitly identify immigrants and refugees as key constituencies in support of issues, such as criminal justice, children and youth, health and gender equity.

“This groundbreaking project reveals the truth about the under-resourcing of immigrant communities by philanthropy as well as examples of how long-term and strategic investments have delivered real change,” NCRP board member Cristina Jiménez, founder and executive director of United We Dream Network, said in a statement.

According to NCRP’s study, pro-immigrant movement leaders made these recommendations to funders:

  • Give long-term, flexible and capacity building support to frontline groups
  • Fund organizing and services to address short-term needs while seeking long-term solutions
  • Help grantees access 501(c)4 dollars so they can use a greater range of strategies
  • Work with other funders to ensure that all aspects of the movement have adequate resources and to fund across different social issues
  • Deploy philanthropic social capital and networks

“Funders must show up as allies, providing flexible, long-term support and building partnerships that offer movement leaders the space and solidarity they need to advance change,” Pamela Shifman, chief executive of NoVo Foundation and an NCRP board member, said in the statement.

— Check out Women Drove ‘Rage Giving’ After 2016 Election: Study on ThinkAdvisor.