Since its inception, Silicon Valley Community Foundation has made supporting immigrants a high priority, and for good reason. More than one-third of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties’ 2.5 million residents are immigrants. Half of the region’s workforce is foreign-born. Immigrants are an important part of our community, and the region’s continuing progress is dependent on recognizing and embracing the essential role they play.
With the federal government’s policies toward immigration shifting, this crucial segment of our population faces uncertainty and needs support now more than ever. For example, executive orders by the Trump administration limit the ability of individuals from several countries to enter the United States; in addition, the administration rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
DACA helped 800,000 individuals who entered the country as minors without documentation to receive protection from deportation and eligibility for work permits. As a new year begins, it’s currently unclear whether Congress will pass new legislation to protect these “Dreamers.” Because of the way the administration ended the program, approximately 122 DACA recipients lose protection every day.
With these challenges facing Silicon Valley’s immigrant population, SVCF announced a new grantmaking strategy in May 2017 to help ensure the safety and security of immigrants. To date, the program has provided more than $1.1 million in grants to support 23 organizations.
“The SVCF Board approved a responsive strategy focused on ensuring the safety and security of immigrants, said Manuel Santamaria, interim chief community impact officer at SVCF. “For immigrants and immigrant-serving organizations, it supports the immediate needs that have resulted from federal immigration policies and practices.”
Examples of these needs include “know your rights” information campaigns and outreach, deportation defense and other legal services, community safety planning and protocols, and strengthening the digital security infrastructure.
Notable funded projects
SVCF awarded $100,000 to The Justice and Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco to support the Northern California Rapid Response Network. The network provides community education, emergency legal assistance and coordination for existing rapid response groups aiming to fight deportation of immigrants from Bakersfield to the Oregon border.
Puente de la Costa Sur received $40,000 to support its Legal Immigration and Advocacy Project, which provides rural San Mateo County immigrants with information about their legal rights, assists with immigration-related legal services, and provides tools for self-advocacy.
A $34,910 SVCF grant helped Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity to recruit, train, schedule and support volunteers to accompany new and long-term immigrants who are negatively affected by detention and the threat of deportation.
Catholic Charities CYO of the Archdiocese of San Francisco received $49,663 to support a leadership academy for unaccompanied, undocumented minors living in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The program is designed to help participants integrate into their new communities and avoid fraud, discrimination and abuse.
View a complete list of 2017 recipients of grants for ensuring the safety and security of immigrants.