Immigrant Integration Fund
Please note: As the foundation implements its equity strategy, we are taking a close look at our special programs, initiatives, and funding collaboratives. Please watch this space for information about the future direction of this work.
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.
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. According to the 2010-2012 American Community Survey, more than 2.1 million immigrants or nearly one in three Bay Area residents are immigrants, a figure that spikes to 43% 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 37% of the labor force in the Bay Area. They contribute 36% of the region’s Gross Domestic Product, or over 39 billion, accounting for a substantial share of the region’s economic output. Despite their contributions, immigrants, especially those who lack legal status, have faced unique barriers to basic services, civic participation, and economic opportunity. Many members of families with mixed legal status have lived in fear that they or other family members will be detained or deported if they seek healthcare, social services, or public assistance.
The Obama Administration’s November 2014 executive order presents a historic shift in immigration policy. It offers temporary relief from deportation and work authorization to qualified undocumented residents, expands eligibility for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and creates additional visa options for immigrant entrepreneurs, high-skilled workers, and students in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). It also refocuses enforcement priorities to serious felonies and crimes, dismantles the Secure Communities program that required ICE holds on arrested individuals, and facilitates visa processing for certain spouses of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents. The order makes relief available to approximately half of the 11 million undocumented residents in the nation. As such, the order is a first step, but still leaves millions of individuals behind. How these measures are implemented, who benefits from them, and who does not, are important questions. Moreover, the President’s executive order contains only temporary measures. Thus, continued advocacy for the Congressional enactment of more inclusive, comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship remains an important priority for funding in the coming year.
ADVANCING AN EQUITY AGENDA
Expanding racial and economic inclusion across the Bay Area, ensuring that all can participate, prosper and reach their full potential, is the defining issue of our time. It is also the defining agenda for the San Francisco Foundation. This regional equity agenda is completely aligned with the history and mission of the Foundation: to build strong communities, foster civic leadership, and promote philanthropy. In order to develop our equity strategy, we have already engaged in deep conversations and consultations with over a thousand grantees, donors and civic leaders across the region. We are also doing an extensive review and analysis of relevant research and data, and mining expertise from across the region and the nation. We anticipate that we will launch our equity strategy in the Spring of 2016. Please continue to visit our website for more information.
For more information about the Immigrant Integration Fund Program at The San Francisco Foundation, please contact us at 415.733.8500.