Foundation Has Awarded $170,000 to Immigrant Rights Groups This Year
Today, Brooklyn Community Foundation is announcing $72,500 in new grants through its Immigrant Rights Fund, a special initiative created by Foundation donors in the weeks after the 2016 presidential election to build a boroughwide response to unjust government policy changes threatening Brooklyn’s immigrants and their families—including increased deportations and criminalization.
As the first and only public foundation dedicated to New York City’s largest borough, Brooklyn Community Foundation has committed a minimum of $1 million over the next four years to support local organizations working for immigrant rights as they address both immediate and long-term needs, from legal assistance, community safety, and social services to advocacy, organizing, and leadership development. Nearly 40% of Brooklyn residents—950,000 people—are foreign-born; it is estimated that 172,000 Brooklynites are undocumented.
“Brooklyn is showing the rest of the country what strength and unity look like in the face of division and injustice,” said Brooklyn Community Foundation President and CEO Cecilia Clarke. “Our borough’s nonprofits, religious institutions, community organizations, and resident advocates are coming together in inspiring and effective ways to protect and provide sanctuary for immigrant families—who are such a vital part of our borough and our neighborhoods. These new grants bolster their critical work, and are a strong statement from our donors that we stand together against injustice.”
In February, the Foundation awarded $95,000 through the Fund to eight local organizations to support Immediate Response efforts in the wake of the since-halted executive order banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries as well as new refugee admissions.
These new grants are aimed at long-term challenges, including increased threats of deportations that would separate parents and children, as well as continued funding for advocacy and organizing. Grants are made in two areas: Sustained Response grants up to $20,000 to address emerging long-term needs, and Action Fund grants of $2,500 for civil resistance trainings and events.
Sustained Response Grants (Spring 2017)
- $20,000 for the Sanctuary Families Project at the Center for Family Life (CFL), which supports immigrant parents at risk of deportation and mobilizes community allies to create long-term child care plans for children remaining in the United States. CFL will work with up to 100 immigrant families in Sunset Park and will recruit, train and certify a cohort of neighborhood-based kinship and foster parents who will be prepared to serve as sanctuary families for children. Funding will also support a partnership with the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) to develop and distribute 1,000 “Visual Guardianship Guides” that illustrate guardianship choices for immigrant families.
- $20,000 to Faith in New York to mobilize local congregations in support of immigrant rights. Key strategies include the Faith Over Fear Emergency Response Network, which provides immediate legal aid, mobilizes supporters in the faith community, and builds awareness of mass deportation issues; monthly trainings for congregations that have offered their houses of worship as a safe sanctuary for immigrants in case of large-scale deportations; Know Your Rights workshops for immigrant communities; and a civic engagement strategy to mobilize support for an immigrant justice platform, including a municipal voting campaign, candidate forums, boot camps for congregations and faith leaders, and voter outreach.
- $10,000 to New Sanctuary Coalition (NSC) to support immigrant-led efforts that mobilize interfaith congregations to defend families facing deportation, build awareness of unjust immigration policies, and serve as witnesses in immigration court and detention centers. NSC is developing a cohort of Sanctuary Congregations in Brooklyn and citywide to provide housing for individuals and families at risk of deportation while they pursue a stay of deportation or suspension of their case entirely. Funds also support leadership trainings, ongoing legal clinics, and a rapid response volunteer network of immigrants and allies.
- $10,000 for Safe Horizon’s Immigration Law Project (ILP) to expand services to immigrant victims of crime, abuse, domestic violence, trafficking, and torture in Brooklyn—particularly those with complex immigration matters, at risk of being removed from the United States. Funds will also increase training for frontline staff at community-based social service agencies so that they are informed on current immigration policies and practices. This includes staff at local hospitals, schools, shelters, and places of worship.
Action Fund Grants (Spring 2017)
- $2,500 to the Black Alliance for Just Immigration for May Day 2017 activities, including an event highlighting issues affecting Black immigrant workers.
- $2,500 to New York Communities for Change for a new member-led community defense network in Flatbush to protect Latinx, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern immigrants from deportations, police brutality, and mass incarceration.
- $2,500 to OCA-NY Asian Pacific American Advocates for an immigrant forum to assist Asian immigrant communities with legal advice and immigration fraud alert in Sunset Park.
- $2,500 to The New American Leaders Project for a two-day training for 120 first- and second-generation immigrant women and women of color in New York City that demystifies the political process and emboldens them to run for public office.
- $2,500 to Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services for four free "Know Your Rights" workshops in East New York designed to empower immigrants and address fears by providing accurate legal education in Bengali.
The Foundation will continue to support local immigrant rights efforts through the Immigrant Rights Fund’s Sustained Response and Action Fund grants. Sustained Response: The Foundation has issued a Request for Conversations with immigrant-serving organizations seeking support ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 for organizing, mental health services, community safety, and legal services. Action Fund: Grant requests for up to $2,500 are considered on a rolling basis, and can support civil resistance and organizing efforts—including community-building, public education, action planning, and event logistics. Details on applying for Immigrant Rights Fund grants are provided at www.bcfny.org/apply.
About Brooklyn’s Immigrant Communities
The Trump Administration’s adverse and restrictive position on immigration poses a substantial threat to Brooklyn’s economic strength as well as the stability of families and communities. Brooklyn is home to nearly 950,000 foreign-born residents—almost 40% of the borough’s total population—with vast diversity across neighborhoods, including the Chinese communities of Sunset Park and Bensonhurst, long-standing Caribbean communities in Flatbush and Crown Heights, Arab American communities in Bay Ridge, Mexican and Dominican immigrants in Bushwick, and growing numbers of Bangladeshi residents in East New York and Kensington. Immigrants are also significant contributors to Brooklyn’s economic strength—nearly 50% of all Brooklyn businesses are immigrant-owned.
It is estimated that 172,000 immigrants in Brooklyn are undocumented. Among U.S. counties, Brooklyn ranks 9th in total undocumented residents. Over a quarter of undocumented immigrants in the borough live with a child who was born in the United States, highlighting the potential impact deportations may have on separating parents from their children.
About the Immigrant Rights Fund
Brooklyn Community Foundation created its Immigrant Rights Fund in late 2016 with the goal of deploying at least $1 million over the next four years to support the immediate and long-term needs of immigrant communities affected by exclusionary and destabilizing government policy changes, while strengthening collaboration among immigrant-serving nonprofits in the borough. So far, the Foundation has raised $725,000 for the Fund, and welcomes further contributions at www.bcfny.org/donate.
About Brooklyn Community Foundation
Brooklyn Community Foundation is on a mission to spark lasting social change, mobilizing people, capital, and expertise for a fair and just Brooklyn. It is the first and only public foundation solely dedicated to Brooklyn’s charitable community, working in partnership with generous donors and community leaders to bolster vital nonprofits, strengthen neighborhoods, increase opportunities for youth, and advance racial equity. Since its founding in 2009, the Foundation and its donors have provided over $30 million in grants to more than 300 nonprofits in Brooklyn and beyond. Learn more at www.BrooklynCommunityFoundation.org.
Liane Stegmaier, Director of Communications