The philanthropic community that supports immigrant justice has largely overlooked Black immigrant communities and organizations led by Black immigrants. In this Q&A with NCRP, Daranee Petsod, president of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR), urges funders to confront and overcome this implicit and explicit bias for greater impact.
NCRP: How would you describe philanthropy’s inclusion of and support for the Black immigrant and refugee community?
Daranee Petsod: Very limited. The experiences of Black immigrant and refugee communities are largely absent from the dialogue and strategies of both immigrant rights funders and racial equity funders. Consequently, Black-led immigrant organizations face substantial barriers in securing philanthropic support for their work.
NCRP: Why do you think that’s the case? Many foundations have adopted diversity, equity and inclusion statements and have stated their concern for racial equity – yet these fundamental gaps remain.
Daranee: Two main reasons: lack of trust and philanthropic silos.
Despite their strong connection to community, Black immigrant leaders experience an external lack of trust in their leadership from funders and others in the immigrant rights movement. Anti-Black racism – whether explicit or implicit, personal or structural – persists due to deep historical roots. In grantmaking, it shows up as concerns about organizational structure, capacity, financial management, qualifications of the leadership and expertise of staff, to name a few.
The siloed structure of philanthropy presents another barrier to funding for Black immigrant organizations. These groups, which naturally work at the intersection of race and immigration, are often told that they neither fit in the immigration portfolio nor under racial equity.
NCRP: How can philanthropy support pro-immigrant movements in ways that confront anti-Blackness? Have you seen any promising examples?
Daranee: Whether you fund immigration or racial equity, make an intentional effort to build relationships and trust with Black immigrant and refugee leaders.
Read the full interview about anti-blackness in immigrant justice philanthropy at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.
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