We Stand United

We Stand United


The Bay Area has a deep history of activism — of fighting for the rights of immigrants, women, people of color, and the LGBT community — and being active in civil rights, human rights, environmental justice, and the labor movement.

On January 25, we were reminded of that activist spirit when Bay Area mayors issued strong statements of support for immigrants and refugees in the wake of a sweeping executive order to expedite deportations of undocumented residents and to cut federal funding to sanctuary cities. Two days later, this activism was demonstrated again when an executive order was issued to stop accepting all new refugees for 120 days and to specifically restrict people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The result of these orders is a dramatic reversal of our country’s commitment to be a beacon of hope, safety, and opportunity to immigrants and refugees. But, there is hope. We witnessed a groundswell of support with Bay Area residents joining citizens across the country in standing with and for immigrants, refugees, and their families. They stood at airports across the country with signs that read: “Welcome Muslims,” “Immigrants Make America Great,” and “Let them in.”

The San Francisco Bay Area — the birthplace of the United Nations — has long been a gateway and sanctuary, a welcoming and safe place, for ­immigrants. With each generation, we have witnessed how immigrants from around the world have contributed to the economic, political, cultural, and social fabric of the Bay Area — of America.

We are at a defining moment for our country. This is not simply an immigrant rights issue. It is a human rights issue. It is a civil rights issue. And it should be a bi-partisan issue. As some well-respected leaders have described, this is a cross-movement moment for our nation. Where we stand will define us for generations to come. I am proud to serve as the CEO of The San Francisco Foundation (TSFF) and to share with you where we stand with our continued support of immigrants and their families in the Bay Area.

  • We stand in support of immigrants and the preservation of their families who have made the Bay Area their home.
  • We stand with and are in support of constituencies targeted with Islamophobia.
  • We stand with our staff members — who are a vital part of the TSFF family — in face of any bans that would impact their ability, or that of their families, to live and work in the United States.
  • We stand with our donors who are committed to just and fair inclusion for all residents of the Bay Area.
  • We stand with and support our grantees and nonprofit organizations that are on the front lines of helping immigrants and their families.
  • We stand with faith leaders who are the bridge builders in supporting immigrants and their families.
  • We stand with our public sector leaders and agencies to ensure that our Bay Area neighborhoods stay safe, inclusive, and welcoming for immigrants and refugees.
  • We stand in alignment with our Bay Area sanctuary cities and jurisdictions, including Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco.

The San Francisco Foundation has a long history of support for greater inclusion in the Bay Area and a commitment to building racial and economic equity in our region. As a community foundation, we are dedicated to serving the Bay Area. In doing so, we take on many roles — civic leader, advocate, grantmaker, philanthropic partner, and convener. And, we will continue to help provide voice for those who have been marginalized and, at times, criminalized.

For more than 30 years, we have been an active partner in helping immigrants and their families. We have funded immigrant legal services, citizenship, leadership development, and civic engagement.

In November, we launched the Rapid Response Fund for Movement Building. We also we reached out to leaders in the immigrant rights movement and to faith and community leaders, to hear what they would need in response to potential federal action. In anticipation of any federal action, The San Francisco Foundation awarded $3 million in grants to support nonprofit organizations that are focused on helping immigrants and their families. We deployed resources quickly to immigrant legal service organizations and community-based organizations to educate the immigrant community in our region on their rights, legal options, and how to prepare their families for this new environment. We know that access to affordable and reliable legal advice and representation will be critical for families facing the possibility of deportation, as will mental health services for children who may face separation from their parents.

With the leadership of our board of trustees and the continued support and generosity of our donors, we will hold fast to advancing racial and economic equity in the Bay Area. We will hold fast to addressing the immediate needs of immigrants and their families.

We stand united as one nation, one Bay Area for all.


Fred Blackwell
CEO, The San Francisco Foundation

We are proud to stand with our partners in philanthropy through the Joint Statement on Immigration.

Giving Suggestions

Support Responsive Philanthropy to provide the resources to the organizations and people who need it the most at this time.

Rapid Response Fund – In late 2016, the Foundation launched its first Rapid Response Fund to deploy resources in response to either unanticipated opportunities or challenges around racial and economic equity.

Leaders on the front lines of social justice need to respond urgently to issues that disproportionately affect populations such as immigrants, women, people of color, low-wage workers and the LGBT community. The Rapid Response Fund for Movement Building provides one-time, small grants of $3,000 to $15,000 within 30 days or less of receiving a request from a community-based organization. Thanks to likeminded donors, local organizations have been able to coordinate “know your rights” workshops for immigrant communities, expand access to legal representation, and mobilize communities to guard against the increases in bullying and harassment of Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian communities.

Donors at The San Francisco Foundation are able to co-invest with TSFF in the Rapid Response Fund by making a grant from their donor advised fund. Any donor may also step forward and give to the fund by sending a check, made payable to The San Francisco Foundation and indicating Rapid Response Fund as the designation for the gift. For more information, please contact the Donor Services Team at either 415.733.8590 or via email at donorservices@sff.org.

Support Advocacy, Access to Legal Services and Immigrant Protection to protect those at-risk of detention, deportation and harassment

ACLU Foundation of Northern California –The ACLU has deployed their staff, volunteers, members and resources to protect the legal rights of those most vulnerable in our community and to protect and advance civil liberties for all Californians.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus – The Asian Law Caucus protects the human and civil rights of immigrants and refugees, including Arab, Muslim, South Asian and Middle Eastern community members.

Central American Resource Center of Northern California – CARECEN responds to the needs, rights, and aspirations of immigrant families in the Bay Area through direct services, community development, and advocacy.

Islamic Networks Group – ING counters prejudice and discrimination against American Muslims by teaching about their traditions and contributions in the context of America’s history and cultural diversity, while building relations between American Muslims and other groups.

Promote Access to Citizenship for immigrants eligible to become naturalized citizens of the United States

San Francisco Pathways to Citizenship Initiative – Launched in partnership with The San Francisco, the initiative promotes citizenship and civic participation among San Francisco’s citizenship-eligible immigrants; the program needs general volunteers, interpreters, and legal professionals to assist at its free naturalization workshops. Giving may be directed through the initiative’s lead nonprofit agency, Self-Help for the Elderly.

East Bay Naturalization Collaborative – Comprised of nine organizations, the Collaborative offers free and low-cost naturalization and related services to legal permanent residents who are eligible for citizenship. Giving may be directed through the lead nonprofit agency, Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach.

Our philanthropic advisors can provide more suggestions on any of these topics or others upon request. Contact the team at donorservices@sff.org.