Immigrant Integration Fund
The San Francisco Foundation Immigrant Integration Fund promotes the full integration and incorporation of immigrants in the civic and economic life of our region’s neighborhoods and communities. The Immigrant Integration Fund aims to ensure that all Bay Area residents have civic, economic, and educational opportunities, as well as access to health and human services. The Fund supports legal services, citizenship, advocacy, and civic engagement programs that serve the Bay Area’s diverse immigrant community.
The 2012-2013 Immigrant Integration Fund Grant Cycle application deadline has passed. Grants will begin April 1, 2013.
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California remains the leading destination for immigrants to the United States, receiving more than 325,000 new arrivals each year. The state’s immigrant population now constitutes 27.2 percent of all residents, with close to 30 percent of the Bay Area population being foreign-born. Yet immigrants, especially those who lack citizenship and legal status, face unique challenges in accessing basic services, economic opportunity, and inclusion in local and state decision-making.
Current thinking on immigrant integration supports not only the individual immigrant taking responsibility for adapting to their new community, but also the receiving community providing opportunities for economic and civic participation. Immigrant integration cannot happen, however, without significant public and philanthropic investment. Immigrants, particularly non-citizen and undocumented immigrants, face unique challenges in accessing affordable housing, healthcare, jobs, and even safety net services. With the federal government’s failure to address the need for immigration reform, many immigrants who live in families with mixed legal status fear that they or other family members could be detained or deported if they seek healthcare, social services, or public assistance. Additionally, with nearly a third of the Bay Area population being foreign-born, immigrant residents’ engagement in local, state, and national decision-making is of utmost importance to the region.
Grant funds will be awarded on a competitive basis. Given the Foundation’s effort to remain flexible in its responsive grantmaking, the concurrent restrictions for this period will be waived, which allows organizations with a current grant to apply to the Immigrant Integration Fund. Additionally, an organization that submits to the Foundation’s FY 2013 Open Application Cycle (Responsive Grantmaking Program) is eligible to apply to the Immigrant Integration Fund.
Priority consideration will be given to:
- Organizations that demonstrate strong partnerships and the ability to collaborate successfully with key stakeholders
- Efforts that demonstrate significant community engagement and immigrant leadership
- Organizations with a demonstrated track record for successfully educating the public and key decision makers about the importance of immigrant integration and immigration policy reform
Read more about our current Immigrant Integration Fund Grantees.
Goal: Promote the full integration and incorporation of immigrants in the civic and economic life of our region’s neighborhoods and communities. This goal will be met by funding organizations that provide legal and citizenship services, particularly to low-income immigrants and refugees, and organizations that promote policy reform and immigrant civic engagement.
Background for Objective One: Legal Services and Citizenship
Access to affordable immigration legal services provided by nonprofit organizations can enable immigrants to obtain legal status that can lead to better jobs, reunification with family members, access to quality healthcare, increased educational opportunities for children and adults, and full participation in the civic life of their communities. While gaining permanent residency status brings a certain level of economic and family stability, naturalization strengthens ties that immigrants have to their communities and increases immigrants’ earnings and tax payments. Naturalization also creates the opportunity for newcomers to fully participate in and contribute to democratic and civil society. The San Francisco Foundation recognizes the immediate need to increase access to legal and citizenship services for low-income immigrants while building the infrastructure and capacity needed in the legal services field for the potential enactment of a large-scale legalization program for millions of undocumented immigrants.
Objective One: Strengthen the legal services infrastructure and access to legal services, naturalization, and citizenship services for low-income immigrants and refugees.
- Support nonprofit immigration service providers to deliver high quality free or low-cost immigration legal advice, representation, and citizenship application assistance
- Expand the number of organizations with Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) recognition and accredited staff who can provide high quality legal services
- Support collaborative efforts among providers that expand the provision of immigrant legal and citizenship services and create information sharing and learning opportunities
Background for Objective Two: Civic Engagement and Policy Advocacy
California remains the leading destination for immigrants to the United States, receiving more than 325,000 new arrivals each year. The state’s immigrant population now constitutes 27.2 percent of all residents, more than 9.9 million individuals. In addition to the 4.2 million naturalized adults in California there are also an estimated 2.3 million immigrants currently eligible for citizenship, and 1.2 million children of immigrants who will become eligible to vote by 2012.* These new voters, naturalized citizens, and the children of immigrants will significantly influence policy decisions on issues of concern to all Californians, such as health and human services, public education, affordable housing, workforce development, taxation reform, and the state budget. Funding civic engagement opportunities for immigrants, such as organizing, nonpartisan voter education, and policy advocacy will not only benefit the newcomer community but will also address economic and political inequities impacting other low-income communities and communities of color.
*Rob Paral and Associates. Integration Potential of California’s Immigrants and Their Children. Sebastopol, CA: California Immigrant Integration Initiative of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, 2008.
Objective Two: Support civic engagement and policy reforms that will increase the economic security and active citizenship of immigrant communities.
- Support organizing, policy advocacy, and coalition building that generate support for federal immigration reform, as well as state and local policies promoting immigrant civil rights and integration
- Support immigrant leadership development and nonpartisan voter engagement programs primarily focused on immigrant communities
- Support immigrant youth organizing that strengthens civic engagement and policy advocacy
For more information about the Immigrant Integration Fund Program at The San Francisco Foundation, please contact us at 415.733.8500.