Giving Compass' Take:

• Derrick Rhayn discusses how philanthropy can respond to changing refugee policy that has decreased federal funds for nonprofits that offer ongoing refugee support.

•  How can funders adapt and collaborate to fill areas that federal funding used to support? What other support is needed as anti-immigrant policy changes public perception?

• Read more about philanthropic strategies to support asylum seekers and refugees.

As the Trump administration reduced the number of refugees allowed in the country each year, federal funding to provide services to refugees also plummeted. Numerous nonprofits rely upon steady government funding enabling them to provide flexible services and meet the needs of vulnerable populations. In this case, as public revenue allocated to serve new refugees declined, a ripple effect occurred, reducing operational revenue for nonprofits assisting existing refugee populations living in the United States.

According to the Foundation Center, between 2011 and 2015 less than one percent of all money granted by the largest 1,000 US foundations was intended to benefit refugees and immigrants. While there has been an increase recently, this trend underscores the impact that changing tides can have on philanthropic culture, where policy transitions galvanize investment.

A few foundations across the country recognize the need to strategically combat the anti-immigrant narrative that pervades today’s media. In a recent report, State of Foundation Funding for the Pro-Immigrant Movement, NCRP emphasizes the importance of supporting a broader movement and highlights the fact that a mere five foundations have provided more than 50 percent of all pro-immigrant movement funding.

The NCRP report identifies five practices for funders and donors to consider when supporting the emergent pro-immigrant movement:

  • Give unrestricted multiyear support to immigrant base-building organizations that are accountable to affected communities at the state and local levels.
  • Don’t shy away from funding both community organizations and direct services.
  • Help grantees access 501c4 funds, which have greater flexibility to carry out critical political activities.
  • Collaborate and coordinate with other movement funders to ensure the full movement ecosystem is well resourced.
  • Support the movement beyond grant dollars, including exploring moving investments from companies that invest in detention centers.

Read the full article about philanthropy's response to the decline in federal refugee support by Derrick Rhayn at Nonprofit Quarterly.