U.S. Funding Opportunity: Elevating Migrant Leadership

Are you part of a U.S.-based non-profit organization that supports vibrant, inclusive communities and community leaders who are immigrants, refugees, and migrants?

The WES Mariam Assefa Fund’s Elevating Migrant Leadership: Building Inclusive Futures Funding Opportunity is designed for organizations like yours.

This funding opportunity is now closed.


How can we build inclusive futures for immigrants and refugees?

The voices of immigrants and refugees should be strongest when it comes to decisions that affect their communities. Too often they are not. The goal of the Elevating Migrant Leadership: Building Inclusive Futures Funding Opportunity is to shift power to where it belongs: to immigrants, refugees, and other communities whose voices are often unheard.

How? By supporting organizations that work with immigrants and refugees who are seeking to develop civic leadership and advocacy skills so they can more effectively influence the development of programs and policies that affect them and their communities.

In 2022, the WES Mariam Assefa Fund conducted a series of stakeholder interviews to understand what our partners and the field thought was needed to build more inclusive communities. As a result, the Fund launched a participatory grantmaking initiative and recruited an Advisory Committee that comprised immigrant and refugee leaders with deep expertise to help shape and lead this initiative. The Committee determined the need to prioritize supporting immigrant and refugee leaders to strengthen their influence in shaping their futures.

The Opportunity

Seven selected awardees will receive $100,000 grants and become grantee partners of the WES Mariam Assefa Fund. As part of the Fund’s partner community, each awardee will have access to peer-learning, capacity building, and other programming.

Funding will be awarded to organizations with programs, current or developing, that focus on 2 out of 3 of the following areas:

  • Narrative Building: Immigrants, refugees, and other migrants learn the best ways to build or shift prevailing narratives so that they are inclusive of their voices and perspectives.
  • Experiential Learning: Immigrants, refugees, and other migrants increase their leadership capacity through applied learning experiences that help them build strategic development and decision-making skills.
  • Mentorship: Immigrants, refugees, and other migrants forge relationships with mentors who can provide guidance and introduction to networks.
Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must meet all eligibility requirements to be considered. Please be sure to complete the eligibility quiz before submitting an LOI.

Applicants must be organizations that:

  • Have a mission and vision explicitly focused on serving immigrants and refugees
  • Directly serve immigrants, refugees, and other migrants who hold intersectional identities from the following racial/ethnic groups: Asian/Asian American/Pacific Islander, Black/African/African American, Latino/Latin American, Middle Eastern, and Indigenous
  • Have an operating budget that is equal to or less than $3 million in their most recent tax filing
  • Are registered as a 501(c)(3) in the United States, or have a fiscal sponsor with this legal standing, and conduct their operations in the United States
  • Do not have active grant awards with the WES Mariam Assefa Fund as of January 2024 (Note: Supplemental awards, such as our Capacity Strengthening Grants for current partners, are not included in this requirement)

NOTE: Eligible organizations may submit LOIs only through our online application portal, SurveyMonkey Apply. You will need to create an account there first. Paper applications and applications sent by email will not be accepted. View the full list of questions on the application form.

The Process

Applicant organizations that meet all the basic eligibility requirements may submit a letter of intent. Select organizations will then receive a Request for a Proposal. Advisory Committee members (listed below) will be involved in reviewing LOIs and full proposals.

Key Dates 2024

March 25, 2024
Letter of Intent (LOI) Due
March 2024 - May 2024
LOIs reviewed by staff and Advisory Committee members (listed below)
May 2024
Application Notifications: Declination or Invitation to submit full proposal
June 2024
Full Proposals Due (if invited to submit)
August 2024
Final Notifications
September 2024
Anticipated Grant Start

Learn More about this Funding Opportunity

Live Info Sessions: Register Below

Advisory Committee

This initiative was developed in partnership with leaders who have deep expertise in building inclusive communities. Advisory Committee members will be involved in the selection process, reviewing applications and proposals

Evaluation Criteria


  • Program Alignment

    Does the organization’s program include 2 out of the 3 stated programmatic approaches – Narrative Building, Experiential Learning, or Mentorship?

    Does the organization’s program help to shift and build narratives that are inclusive of immigrant and refugee voices? Does the organization’s program enhance leadership skills through applied learning experiences? Does the program provide this community with mentors as guidance and for networking opportunities?

  • Network Development

    Does the organization intentionally provide opportunities for community members to partner, build best practices, and learn from one another?

  • Representative Leadership

    Does the organization have leadership representation that reflects the lived experience and identities of the communities the organization serves?

  • Community-Informed Approach

    Is the organization’s work informed by the perspectives of community members and various levels of staff? Does the organization welcome and encourage feedback to guide decision-making, program design, and implementation?

  • Learning and Impact

    How does the organization adapt to evolving community needs? How does the organization envision fulfilling its mission?