Over the past year and a half, Illinois has seen an influx in immigration. An estimated 3,000 refugees from Afghanistan and 8,800 refugees from Ukraine have resettled across the state. In the past few months, nearly 4,000 migrants fleeing economic and political instability have arrived in Chicago from the southern U.S. border, many coming from Venezuela and Colombia.
The growing number of immigrants and refugees arriving here has created a crisis for the city, region, and state. These newcomers need services that provide safety and stability – from clothing, food, housing, counseling, and health care in the short-term, to legal assistance and navigating the immigration system in the long-term. Many immigrant-serving organizations have struggled to keep up with the demand.
To address this crisis, the Illinois Immigration Funders Collaborative (IFC) recently awarded $450,000 in grants to nine organizations working on the ground to help incoming immigrants and refugees. IFC, housed at The Chicago Community Trust, launched in 2012 in response to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and has since positioned itself to respond to immigration-related issues, funding essential services and advocacy efforts. Since its inception, it has awarded $14.2 million in grants.
“For over a decade, the Illinois Immigration Funders Collaborative has supported community-led organizations responding to the emergent needs of migrants and asylum seekers,” said Anna Lee, senior director of community impact at the Trust. “Amidst the growing humanitarian crisis, IFC is building on the trusted relationships between funders and social impact organizations to welcome migrants arriving in Chicago with timely, culturally competent services, and pathways to stability.”
IFC is planning to fundraise additional philanthropic dollars to support the efforts and capacity of immigrant-serving nonprofit partners, as well as bolster its ability to pivot resources swiftly as this crisis evolves. With winter just around the corner, IFC consultant Alice Cottingham notes the importance of ensuring incoming immigrants have access to winter coats, housing, and a continuum of support.
“Extending a hand early not only makes them feel welcome amongst the unfamiliar surroundings and uncertainty, but it can make all the difference to their success,” she said.
General operating support grant recipients were awarded to the following organizations:
Brighton Park Council Neighborhood Council ($50,000)
La Federacion de Clubes Michoacanos en Illinois ($50,000)
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocesese of Chicago ($50,000)
Centro Romero ($50,000)
HANA Center ($50,000)
Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights ($50,000)
Mano a Mano Family Resource Center ($50,000)
The Resurrection Project ($50,000)
The following organization received project support:
Heartland Alliance ($50,000) – In support of the National Immigrant Justice Center
To learn how individuals and organizations can contribute to IFC, click here.