Every day, we see targeted efforts to limit the rights, diminish the dignity, and harm the lives of immigrants, in particular immigrants of color. Throughout American history, immigration laws have been rooted in anti-blackness to privilege some immigrant communities over others, a deliberate strategy to define the demographic makeup of who gets to become a U.S. citizen.

Whether or not immigration is a funding priority, it is a crosscutting experience and issue central to all funders interested in creating a cohesive, just, and inclusive society. Jeanné Lewis from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) framed the briefing by sharing key findings from NCRP’s Movement Investment Project related to the funding of pro-immigrant movements. She then facilitated a conversation that uncovered some essential practices for philanthropy to be a supportive partner of the pro-immigrant and racial equity movements:

  • Embracing an Intersectional Framework: 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, leaving Black immigrants and Black-led immigrant organizations facing substantial barriers in securing resources.
  • Providing Unrestricted Multiyear Funding to Immigrant-Led Organizations: Immigrants and people of color often experience lack of trust in their leadership. In philanthropy, this translates as concerns about the sustainability and structure of the organizations they manage, and their ability to track outcomes or deliver results.
  • Enhancing Integrated Supportive Services: Most philanthropy organizations provide funding for legal and policy organizations, but very few invest in integrated services for immigrants and refugees.
  • Building Capacity and Leveraging Networks: Organizations need capacity-building support in order to build infrastructure and develop more immigrant leaders.
  • Shifting Narratives about Immigrant Communities: Negative stereotypes about immigrants are widespread and deep-rooted. Anti-immigration rhetoric portrays immigrants as rapists, violent criminals, terrorists, and murders.

Read the full article about the intersection of justice and racial equity by Claudia Williams at the Washington Area Women's Foundation.