Immigrant Integration Fund
The San Francisco Foundation’s 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.
2015 Grant Cycle
This year’s application for funding is by invitation only. Applications will be open on January 2, 2015 through January 30, 2015. All applications must be submitted through the Grantee Center.
Read more about our current grantees on the Immigrant Integration Fund page.
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California remains the leading destination for immigrants to the United States, with an immigrant population that now constitutes more than 27 percent of all residents. Immigrants are deeply woven into the fabric of the Bay Area. Nearly one in three Bay Area residents are immigrants, and this figure spikes to 42% when including the children of immigrants. Beyond mere numbers, however, immigrants are our friends, families, neighbors and co-workers. They enrich the economic and cultural vitality of the state and region.
Not surprisingly, immigrants comprise more than one-third of the labor force in the Bay Area. They contribute 22% of the region’s Gross Domestic Product, and represent 28% of total household income, therefore accounting for a substantial share of the region’s economic output. Studies show that people who have work authorization have increased economic opportunities and earn higher wages, thus improving the overall economy of California.
Despite these facts, 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. Skyrocketing deportation rates, the failure of the federal government to pass reform, and an under-resourced legal services infrastructure, have prevented the contributions of many immigrants from reaching their full potential. Many members of families with mixed legal status live in fear that they or other family members could be detained or deported if they seek healthcare, social services, or public assistance. 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.
Goal and Objectives
Goal: The Immigrant Integration Fund seeks to promote the full integration and incorporation of immigrants in the civic and economic life of our region’s neighborhoods and communities. We plan to meet this goal by focusing on the following funding objectives:
Objective One: Strengthen the legal services infrastructure and access to legal services, naturalization, and citizenship services for low-income immigrants and refugees.
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. We recognize 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.
Strategies for Objective One:
- 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 immigration legal and citizenship services, and create information sharing and learning opportunities.
- Support nonprofit organizations providing deportation defense.
Objective Two: Support civic engagement and policy reforms that will increase the economic security and active citizenship of immigrant communities.
California remains the leading destination for immigrants to the United States. The state’s immigrant population exceeds 10 million residents. These new Californians – including naturalized citizens, refugees, legal permanent residents, undocumented residents, 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.
Strategies for Objective Two:
- Support community-led organizing, policy advocacy, and coalition building that generate support for federal immigration reform, as well as state and local policies that promote immigrant civil rights and integration.
- Support immigrant leadership development and nonpartisan voter engagement programs that primarily focus on immigrant communities.
- Support immigrant youth organizing efforts that strengthen 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.