Foundations Break Their Grant Guidelines and Speed Cash to Immigrant Needs

Foundations Break Their Grant Guidelines and Speed Cash to Immigrant Needs

Private foundations, including some that have never supported immigration issues before, have dedicated millions of dollars in quick-turnaround grants to provide legal and health services for immigrant families caught up in the Trump administration’s "zero tolerance" immigration policies.

Some of the newcomer philanthropies cited a visceral opposition to the Trump administration’s application of immigration policy — which has resulted in the separation of thousands of children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border — for moving beyond their normal grant-making guidelines.

The Barr Foundation is one such grant maker. Two years ago it rededicated itself to programs that support the arts, climate-change response, and education. But earlier this month it strayed far from those priorities when it announced $500,000 in grants to three immigration efforts: the Four Freedoms Fund’s rapid-response fund on family separation; the Lawyers’ Committee on Civil Rights; and the National Domestic Workers Alliance for its leadership in the End Family Separation campaign. The philanthropy’s founders, Barbara and Amos Hostetter, also committed $500,000 of their own money.

The family-separation policy showed a "lack of humanity" that is "antithetical" to Barr’s values, said Jim Canales, the foundation’s president.

"We felt a responsibility to step up, even though it took us far beyond the scope of the work Barr traditionally engages in," he said.


Here are what some other foundations are doing in response to the Trump administration’s border policies:

  • The Open Society Foundations culled $2 million from its presidential reserve fund and from unallocated money across several program areas. Recipients to date include the Families Belong Together campaign, MomsRising, and New America.
  • About 200 foundation leaders signed a statement circulated by Grantmakers Concerned With Immigrants and Refugees that states that the separation of children from their parents is "morally unacceptable and traumatic for parents and children."
  • Last year, the Emergent Fund made $1.1 million in grants to families affected by more stringent immigration enforcement. In late June, the fund, which was established by the Democracy Alliance, Solidaire Network, Threshold Foundation, and Women Donors Network, held a webinar to brief 150 donors on the situation at the border. Within a week, they reported raising $100,000.
  • The Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation committed $240,000 in new grants to immigration nonprofits in some of the regions where children had been transported: the Washington, D.C., area, New York City, and Florence, Ariz.
  • Last year the Texas Access to Justice Foundation matched $800,000 in grants from foundations to help families on the border. Earlier this month the charity’s board approved an additional $750,000 for matching grants.

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Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy


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