The coronavirus pandemic has re-affirmed how integral immigrants and refugees are to the health and security of the country as well as the unique challenges this community faces. Immigrants and refugees represent a disproportionate percentage of essential health care and food industry workers, yet many have been left out of federal and state relief packages.

As organizations serving immigrants and refugees navigate through current health and political crises, what financial resources can they expect from their local foundations? Not enough, according to a new analysis of publicly available data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia by NCRP.

The new online tool, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor: Local Foundations, Immigrants and Refugee Populations,” found that pro-immigrant and refugee nonprofits are proportionally underfunded by state-based grantmakers when compared to the demographic reality on the ground.

While immigrants and refugees represent 14% of the nation’s population, the share of local philanthropic dollars invested in this community from 2017-2018 was just 1% for service organizations and 0.4% for movement groups involved in advocacy and organizing. This is despite a series of aggressive anti-immigrant and refugee policies pursued by the Trump administration targeting both documented and undocumented people.

Among the report’s notable findings:

  • A sample of 530 of the largest state-based grantmakers in each state and the District of Columbia found that 254 foundations across 49 states (47.9%) gave at least one grant towards organizations serving this population in 2017-2018.
  • At least 50% of our sample of the largest local foundations in 26 states funded immigrant and refugee support efforts. In standout states like Illinois, Massachusetts and Minnesota, a full 90% of their Top 10 local institutional funders dispersed funds to nonprofits that serve immigrants and refugees.
  • Yet, foundations in less than a third of states (14) met or exceeded even the already disproportionately low 1% threshold for local grantmaking benefiting immigrants and refugees in 2017-2018.

Read the full article about insufficient funder support by Aaron Dorfman at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.