How Funders Can Support Immigrant Communities in Today’s Environment
In the months since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the well-being of immigrant populations is a growing concern for city and state governments, civil society organizations, and private foundations. In February, over 200 foundation leaders signed a statement condemning the immigration restrictions put in place by the new administration. Organizations like the Evelyn & Walter Haas Jr. Fund and Open Society Foundations have doubled down on their support for organizations serving immigrants in these uncertain times. These foundations are taking on a larger role in persevering and advancing the economic vitality, livelihood, health, and safety of immigrant communities.
As funders consider how to support immigrants, there are important lessons from a long legacy of work in and by migrant farmworker communities. One organization that has been on the frontlines of this work for decades is Farmworker Justice.
Over the past year, Farmworker Justice has launched Unidos—a new initiative that aims to improve access to cancer screening and treatment for immigrant farmworkers and their families. Farmworkers are at high-risk for cancer—especially skin cancer—but rarely have the ability to access high-quality, timely care. The Unidos program aims to change that by establishing a network of community health workers and strengthening collaboration within local healthcare systems in farmworker communities. Building on FSG’s research with the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation to identify barriers to care in the U.S., we’ve had the opportunity to support Farmworker Justice in identifying opportunities to engage funders.
We spoke with Rebecca Young from Farmworker Justice and Rosa Flores and Herminia Ledesma from their partners, Vista Community Clinic in San Diego, to discuss how all funders can get more involved in supporting immigrant communities.