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ActionDignity
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Grant

ActionDignity amplifies the collective voice of Calgary’s ethnocultural communities and works to achieve their full civic participation and socioeconomic integration. A community-based organization, ActionDignity develops leadership and organizational capacity in Calgary’s ethnocultural communities, equipping and empowering them and expanding their role. ActionDignity’s systems and policy-level change produces advocacy tools that support anti-racist newcomer integration

With this grant, ActionDignity is partnering with four ethnocultural communities in Calgary to develop leadership capacity and organize racialized meatpacking sector workers. Many of the workers at these plants are refugees, newcomers, low-wage earners, or Temporary Foreign Workers who face difficulties navigating the system because of English language constraints and the lack of self-advocacy skills. ActionDignity’s project has the potential to reduce risk in the workplace and drive change to create more opportunities for decent work. As a result, workers will have increased access to information about their rights, more knowledge, better communication skills, and greater capacity to self-advocate.   

Website
actiondignity.org
Amount
C$300,000
Start Date
December 2020
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Alberta International Medical Graduate Association (AIMGA)
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Grant

Alberta International Medical Graduate Association (AIMGA) works to integrate International Medical Graduates (IMGs) into the Canadian healthcare system through various services such as new member orientation, study groups for licensing examinations, career transition programs etc. AIMGA’s vision is to improve healthcare through the re-engagement of IMGs in Canada and support them.  

With this grant, AIMGA is researching alternative health care careers for IMGs, such as allied technical assisting, and educational roles in healthcare and medicine, and working with employers to develop pathways for them to enter these fields. Building on AIMGA’s existing career transition program, this initiative aims to understand the perspectives of employers within those alternative health care careers and the challenges IMGs face in entering those jobs. The employers and IMGs are offered support, resources, and training to ensure the successful employment of IMGs into non-physician health and wellness careers.  

Website
aimga.ca
Amount
C$184,970
Start Date
December 2021
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Apis & Heritage Capital Partners
U.S.

Impact Investment 

Apis & Heritage (A&H) is a BIPOC-led social impact investment firm that plans to disrupt intergenerational poverty and help to close the growing asset inequality gaps in the US by transitioning closely held private companies with meaningful workforces of color into employee-owned enterprises through Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). A&H believes this transition will generate higher enterprise value and create better wages and significant retirement savings for the workforce, while also generating superior risk-adjusted returns for investors 

By investing in A&H’s first-of-its-kind private equity fund, A&H will demonstrate how to transition companies to worker-owned at scale – potentially paving the way for a new market. A&H addresses a clear ecosystem gap in equity capital for business transfers to employees, now commonly identified in the field as a barrier to converting businesses to employee ownership. Moreover, this gap has often prevented employee ownership from being used as an explicit racial equity strategy. Available capital and technical assistance do not meet the needs of owners of color, who may have less liquidity. 

Website
apisheritage.com
Amount
USD$400,000
Start Date
December 2021
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Association for Canadian Studies (ACS)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Grant

The Association for Canadian Studies (ACS) is a non-profit organization whose main objective is to increase knowledge of Canada through conferences, publications, learning materials, and research. ACS organizes the National Metropolis Conference—the largest annual gathering of researchers, policymakers, and representatives from community and settlement organizations working in immigration and settlement in Canada. 

With this grant, ACS is leading national-level consultations with multiple stakeholders within the immigration ecosystem and conducting mixed methods research in order to identify future implications for the immigrant-serving sector. The project seeks to mobilize stakeholders in co-creating solutions that improve the sector’s innovation and operations. The national approach to the project will allow for design solutions rooted in a deep understanding of national priorities and future implications for the sector, but that also reflect the unique contexts and experiences of immigrant and refugee workers in different provinces and territories in Canada. 

Website
acs-metropolis.ca/acs
Amount
C$400,000
Start Date
January 2021
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Better Way Alliance
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Grant

Better Way Alliance (BWA) is a coalition of business owners and employers that support decent work practices, such as fair wages, paid sick days and fair scheduling laws. BWA members employ more than 30,000 workers in Ontario and the industries range from services, retail, food and beverage to manufacturing. BWA provides its members with space to discuss decent work practices, supports them in their advocacy efforts, and offers public exposure as decent work businesses.  

BWA is expanding its advocacy, capacity building, and policy change work. They are building on their research to develop a series of action-oriented case studies focused on key issues that racialized, immigrants, and workers in low-wage jobs face when it comes to decent work. Each report will build a business case for specific practices and propose tips and resources on how business owners can implement it into their own businesses. BWA is offering workshops and outreach programs focused on finding employers with decent work practices, especially the ones that are immigrant-owned or employ immigrant workers. These employers will be supported to act as leaders to advocate for decent work and grow the movement.  

Website
betterwayalliance.ca
Amount
C$182,050
Start Date
January 2022
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British Columbia Co-operative Association (BCCA)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The British Columbia Co-operative Association (BCCA) is a non-profit member services cooperative that has served as a hub for cooperatives in British Columbia since 2003. It is where co-ops, credit unions, and community members come together to collaborate and share knowledge to develop BC’s co-operative movements in hopes of creating a more sustainable, equitable and democratic economy. For this initiative, BCCA is partnering with the Alberta Community & Co-operative Association (ACCA), Rural Development Network (RDN), and Women’s Economic Council (WEC) 

BCCA is developing tools and business supports to help immigrants establish and grow successful cooperatives. They are also delivering introductory trainings about the cooperative model for around 60 immigrant entrepreneurs, with a special focus on women and immigrants living in rural communities. The partners will also create a database where stories and case studies of immigrant co-operatives in Canada and beyond will be collected to be used as examples and potential mentorship connections. The initiative will also create an interactive online platform that would be designed as a discussion forum where networking, collaborating and knowledge sharing between learners, co-operatives, and/or support organizations can take place.

Website
bcca.coop
Amount
C$192,453
Start Date
February 2022
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Building Skills Partnership
California, U.S.

Grant – Project Support

Building Skills Partnership (BSP) is a California statewide organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for property service workers and their families by increasing their skills, access to education, and opportunities for career and community advancement. BSP represents property service workers, the majority of whom are Latinx immigrants in low-wage janitorial positions. Recognizing that the needs of workers go far beyond the workplace, BSP takes a holistic approach and strives to create an equitable future for its clients and their families. BSP currently serves 5,500 workers in California each year, and links responsible businesses directly with the service employees union. 

This grant will help scale BSP’s work and develop new career pathways programs. Amid COVID-19 and as the economy reopens, BSP is undertaking critical efforts to ensure worker safety and help career pathways programs evolve to meet the needs of workers and employers. Because of COVID-19 and the overall need for better safety and preparedness, BSP is developing an industry-recognized Infectious Disease Certification training as a pathway to career and economic mobility. Also, in light of COVID-19, BSP is exploring alternative service delivery models to support workers who have low levels of digital literacy, limited access to Wi-Fi and equipment, and limited English proficiency. BSP’s impactful work with janitors, airport workers, and other property service staff can serve as a model for other organizations looking to create viable career pathways for similar frontline and service sector workers, many of whom earn low wages and struggle to become economically mobile. 

Website
buildingskills.org
Amount
USD$370,000
Start Date
June 2020
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California Dignity for Families Fund
California, U.S.

Grant Project Support

The California Dignity for Families’ Fund (CA DFF), led by Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR), is a collective action fund housed at Tides Foundation. CA DFF’s mission is to provide urgent humanitarian aid at the southern border region, support asylum seekers’ integration into communities, and build power for immigrants who have been historically excluded in policy-making spaces. CA DFF is part of a public-private partnership with Governor Gavin Newsom, who has proposed an investment of $25 million for services to unaccompanied youth and children in support of the safety and well-being of families.  

The WES Mariam Assefa Fund’s partnership with CA DFF is supporting narrative change work, power-building strategies for migrant and refugee-led organizations, and address housing justice issues for immigrants and refugees. This collaboration serves migrants of color in order to engage in entrepreneurship, enter education systems, and bolster their participation in the workforce. In addition, this partnership is addressing the systemic barriers which migrants face when navigating the legal system, such as providing logistical support for migrants to obtain work authorization permits.

Website
gcir.org/CADignityFund
Amount
USD$250,000
Start Date
March 2022
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Cell-Ed
California, U.S.

Impact Investment

Cell-Ed is an early-stage mobile-first education technology company that helps workers attain essential life and job skills more effectively. Founded in 2014 by Jessica Rothenberg-Aalami, Cell-Ed’s platform supports English language learning, sector-specific training, and the digital literacy needs of immigrant workers. Tens of thousands of adults currently use Cell-Ed’s platform, courses, and content to experience 84 percent faster skills gains. Learners access Cell-Ed through partner organizations that include education providers and employers in the United States and worldwide. 

Since its inception, Cell-Ed has been an innovator in providing access to educational content to individuals in low-wage jobs. Originally created to serve Latinx immigrant women in California, Cell-Ed has developed a tool whose robust content enables learners to listen to lessons on a flip phone, from anywhere, at any time. Ninety percent of Cell-Ed’s current users are Black or Latinx, and the vast majority are also first- or second-generation immigrants. The opportunity gap experienced by workers with low literacy or low educational attainment in low-wage jobs is daunting. The Fund’s investment will enable Cell-Ed to expand the reach of its core mobile skill-building product, invest in its people, and launch new products and forge new partnerships that work to bridge the opportunity gap and position Cell-Ed learners to advance in high-growth sectors, such as health care. 

Website
cell-ed.com
Amount
USD$500,000
Start Date
November 2020
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Center for Civic Religious Literacy (CCRL)
Temiskaming Shores, Ontario, Canada

Grant

The Centre for Civic Religious Literacy (CCRL) is a non-profit that aims to foster an understanding about religious, spiritual, and non-religious people so that individuals can live and work better together. CCRL is partnering with Temiskaming Shores & Area Chamber of Commerce (TSACC), the Rural Development Network (RDN) and Religious Freedom and Business Foundation (RFBF) for this project.  

Temiskaming Shores & Area is a small, 30,000 resident, highly homogenous region in Ontario with a strong desire to welcome and recruit immigrants and refugees but an inability to attract and retain them successfully. To create a welcoming and inclusive space that entices recruitment and promotes retention of immigrants, the four partners are piloting a faith-based employee resource group (ERG) that will showcase the needs of local immigrant and refugee populations and enable employees to connect with others with similar or different faiths or ethnical and cultural identities.

Website
ccrl-clrc.ca
Amount
C$200,000
Start Date
December 2021
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Center for Family Life
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.

Grant – Project Support

The Center for Family Life (CFL) is a neighborhood-based family and social services organization with deep roots in Sunset Park, a community in Brooklyn, N.Y. CFL’s Cooperative Development Program has been incubating immigrant-led worker cooperatives since 2006. For the past four years, CFL has been developing Brightly®, a franchise of worker-owned, women-run, community-led cooperatives that offer eco-friendly residential and commercial cleaning services. 

With this grant, The Brightly cooperative franchise system plans to expand beyond New York and into new markets, starting with Philadelphia. Worker-owners in cooperatives supported by CFL have been primarily first-generation immigrant, Spanish-speaking (76 percent) women (83 percent) with high school education or less (73 percent) who have children (72 percent). The Brightly cooperative model enables immigrant women to access safe, non-exploitative work; it improves their earnings and supports longer-term wealth building for worker-owners and their families. 

Website
centerforfamilylife.org
Amount
USD$200,000
Start Date
October 2020
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Center for Land-Based Learning (CLBL)
California, U.S.

Grant

A leader in California with agricultural land-based training programs for youth and adults, the Center for Land-Based Learning’s (CLBL) mission is to encourage and support a new generation of farmers. CLBL provides support for aspiring new and beginning farmers through a seven-month beginning farmer training program, a 4-year farm incubator program, and a farm manager apprenticeship program. 

With this grant, the Center for Land-Based Learning is providing upskilling and training opportunities for farmworkers to ladder up into new roles as farm managers and supervisors, roles with higher wages and the ability to influence the conditions for farmworkers on a job site. The dangerous working conditions and limited economic mobility facing California’s more than 400,000 farmworkers are well documented, and while the workers are a vital part of the food system, they stand to benefit little from it, despite their roles as essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to creating new opportunities for workers, CLBL is engaging with employers to identify the skills they seek in farm managers which shapes the design of the class sessions and on-the-job training. 

Website
landbasedlearning.org
Amount
USD$150,000
Start Date
January 2022
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Centreville Immigration Forum
Centreville, Virginia, U.S.

Grant – Project Support

Centreville Immigration Forum was founded to address the needs of low-income immigrants, especially the growing number of day laborers seeking work in informal gathering spots. Centreville Immigration Forum’s mission is to offer sustainable programs that provide immigrants in need with the means to improve their lives and become more integrated into the community; improve communication and cooperation among immigrant-serving groups; and raise community awareness of the inherent strength in diversity. 

With support from the WES Mariam Assefa Fund, Centreville Immigration Forum’s new initiative is focused on supporting Ixil women day laborers in order to address the lack of gender and culturally specific supports at day labor centers for these workers. The Mujeres: Triangulo Ixil program provides leadership opportunities and development for these workers. It also offers opportunities to learn about approaches that may translate to other efforts to empower women immigrant workers more broadly as well as other Indigenous immigrant communities. 

Website
centrevilleimmigrationforum.org
Amount
USD$100,000
Start Date
September 2020
More
CERC in Migration
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Grant

The Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Migration and Integration, launched by the Canadian Government at Ryerson University, aims to create innovative and accessible knowledge surrounding the connections between migration and post-migration processes, forced and voluntary mobility, internal and international migration, and the role of countries of origin and transit, including non-state stakeholders at local, national, and international levels. They disseminate their research through scheduled events enabling community and key stakeholders to access it.   

This project is addressing the issues temporary migrant workers encounter in the agricultural sector. These workers account for half of Canada’s paid agricultural workforce and are often employed in conditions where discrimination, exploitation, and abuse are common. CERC in Migration’s “Fair Farm Work” project seeks to harness consumer power to drive change for agricultural workers by creating a Fair Work labelling scheme that outlines a set of guidelines that producers, suppliers, and distributors must meet to be certified. The project will entail learning from other fair work certification initiatives, especially in Europe and the U.S., analyzing current gaps in Ontario legislation regarding the regulation of farm work, building a fair work coalition of farmers, employer and worker associations, supermarkets and distributors, and local and regional authorities. 

Website
torontomu.ca/cerc-migration
Amount
C$191,000
Start Date
January 2022
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Code the Dream
Durham, North Carolina, U.S.

Grant – Project Support  

Code the Dream offers free intensive training in software development to people from diverse low-income backgrounds. The ultimate goal of Code the Dream is to create a unique win-win that allows coders in the program to acquire real experience building apps that make the world a little bit better, and then use that experience to launch new careers that offer greater opportunity to themselves, their families, and their communities. 

With this grant, Code the Dream is expanding and scaling its model beyond the 12 states where it currently works and building out additional physical hubs in Atlanta and Chicago. Following its successful rapid shift to remote instruction last spring, Code the Dream is also expanding its remote programming. With increased attention on skills-based recruitment and hiring to provide better opportunities to workers who have lower levels of formal education, Code the Dream’s work can help encourage employers to hire, invest in, and support immigrant and refugee workers. 

Website
codethedream.org
Amount
USD$200,000
Start Date
January 2021
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Community Credit Lab
Seattle, Washington, U.S.

Impact Investment

Community Credit Lab (CCL) is a nonprofit with a mission to provide lending programs for communities that are often excluded from traditional financing, including immigrants and BIPOC entrepreneurs. CCL works to navigate the traditional credit-based practices and facilitate equitable, community-led investment strategies and mitigate discrimination faced in the financial system. Since its inception in 2019, CCL has facilitated 5 lending programs with 10 lending partners.  

A recoverable grant from the Fund will support CCL’s pilot lending programs for immigrants, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ communities to access consumer and commercial loans. The programs will enable systemic change by analyzing the root causes of inequality in financial systems, improve access to credit using non-traditional qualification criteria, and create relationship-based lending through a trust-based and participatory model.   

Website
communitycreditlab.org
Amount
USD$100,000
Start Date
January 2022
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Community Services Agency (COMSA)
Green Bay, Wisconsin, U.S.

Grant – General Operating Support

Established to fill an existing service gap for refugee and immigrant communities in Northeast Wisconsin, Community Services Agency Inc. (COMSA) strives to create an environment that not only welcomes immigrants and refugees but also provides services that enable them to become self-sufficient. COMSA seeks to address the special needs and challenges affecting refugees and immigrants daily through after school programs, citizenship classes, youth leadership mentorship, English classes, and summer school programs. 

COMSA estimates that as many as 1,200 individuals from Afghanistan have recently resettled in Brown County through formal resettlement and informal migration channels, with resettlement agencies struggling to serve so many evacuees at once. With this grant, COMSA will be able to support and advocate for Afghan new arrivals in Brown County as they enter employment opportunities, creating an environment where resettled refugees feel understood and welcomed and one where they can thrive. COMSA will work to provide additional services including transportation and English language proficiency for school-aged children, mental health support, and culturally responsive childcare. 

Website
comsausa.org
Amount
USD$50,000 
Start Date
July 2022
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Community Sponsorship Catalyst Fund
U.S.

Grant – Project Support

The Community Sponsorship Hub Catalyst Fund was established in 2019 to help organizations across the United States develop, implement, and enhance community sponsorship programs. The Community Sponsorship Hub pairs refugees and other forcibly displaced populations with community connections such as local clubs, businesses, university communities, and faith groups.  

Support from the WES Mariam Assefa Fund and other funders is piloting new models for refugee resettlement in order to improve outcomes for individuals and expand the capacity and resilience of the field at the local and national levels. The Community Sponsorship Hub aims to build support for refugees through a community sponsorship model, facilitate meaningful peer learning, and provide alternatives to traditional resettlement models. This work aspires to center refugee voices into the grantmaking process and support their economic mobility. 

Website
communitysponsorshiphub.org/catalyst-fund
Amount
USD$100,000
Start Date
October 2021
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Echoing Green
U.S. and Canada

Grant – Project Support

Echoing Green is a nonprofit organization that operates at the intersection of social justice and social innovation globally. Echoing Green has invested millions in seed funding for emerging social enterprises and works towards creating an expansive global network for these leaders.  

The WES Mariam Assefa Fund and Echoing Green are partnering to launch the Racial Equity and Immigrant Justice Initiative, which supports social innovators from immigrant, refugee, and BIPOC communities. This partnership aims to address systemic barriers that exclude immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs from participating in social enterprise. For example, Black immigrants and refugees in the U.S. who come from the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa make up ~15% of all immigrants and have a higher probability of racial discrimination. This is because their racial identity clusters them with the prejudices that Black or African Americans have generationally experienced. Echoing Green is guided by an intersectional approach and emphasizes shifting power to the people most impacted by the outcomes of their enterprise.

Website
echoinggreen.org
Amount
$1.5 million
Start Date
February 2022
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EdTech Center @ World Education
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.

Grant – Project Support 

The EdTech Center @ World Education leverages technology to increase the reach and impact of education and workforce initiatives. As a leader in education technology, the EdTech Center works to build equitable and inclusive digital learning ecosystems that enable everyone to thrive and be informed, active citizens in the new digital world. Housed at World Education in Boston, the EdTech Center works with partners to accelerate learning, digital literacy, college and career readiness, and economic mobility for all.  

The EdTech Center’s Equity in mLearning initiative is developing a new, inclusive, and accessible mobile learning and career support platform for immigrant-serving workforce organizations and workers. Over the next two years, the team is developing and piloting the open source platform in close collaboration with these organizations. As remote learning and training becomes more integrated in our new normal, the Equity in mLearning initiative responds to needs of the field and aims at advancing solutions that can address the digital divide experienced by immigrants and refugees and the organizations that serve them. 

Website
edtech.worlded.org
Amount
USD$499,441
Start Date
July 2020
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Employment Technology Fund ([email protected])
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.

Impact Investment

Employment Technology Fund (ETF) at JFFLabs partners with diverse entrepreneurs building early-stage future of work and employment technology solutions that help adults with low to middle incomes find, secure, and prepare for jobs that lead to economic advancement.  

With this investment, ETF can bolster their ability to demonstrate the impact of their approach, invest in proximate leaders, advance economic mobility outcomes for our target population, and support more equitable and inclusive systems. The Fund’s investment is supporting an additional 30-40 early-stage ideas driving meaningful impact for immigrants, refugees, and communities of color. 

Website
jff.org/what-we-do/etfjfflabs
Amount
USD$500,000
Start Date
October 2021
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Encuentro
Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.

Grant – Project Support

Encuentro’s mission is to transform New Mexico into a thriving community for all its residents by engaging Latinx immigrant families in educational and career development opportunities that impart skills which enable work toward economic and social justice. 

With this grant, Encuentro is growing its Home Health Aide program, an innovative and multiple-sector collaborative approach which addresses the economic integration barriers that Latinx immigrants encounter in New Mexico’s home health industry. Encuentro’s approach is engaging immigrant workers, particularly Latinx women, to create dignified and stable jobs for themselves, while transforming economic systems that are inherently stacked against immigrants, people of color, and women. Encuentro’s worker-centered approach provides an important alternative to the profit-centered industry model, and supports low-income caregivers to develop critical skills, improve earnings, and shape policy, while also improving access to higher quality care for the elderly community. 

Website
encuentronm.org
Amount
USD$200,000
Start Date
October 2020
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Ethnocultural Council of Manitoba (ECCM)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Grant – General Operating Support

The Ethnocultural Council of Manitoba (ECCM) is a shared space where diverse ethnic communities come together to provide an empowering platform and collective voice with equal representation for immigrants, refugees and visible minorities working to make Manitoba a welcoming and inclusive province. 

With this funding, ECCM is supporting access to COVID-19 information and challenges misinformation and hesitancy in ethnocultural communities in Winnipeg. They are also working to increase access to the COVID-19 vaccine to isolated BIPOC and newcomer communities who face language barriers. The funding will enable ECCM to create oral storytelling videos in numerous languages to showcase BIPOC women, youth and seniors.

Website
ethnomanitoba.ca
Amount
C$18,500
Start Date
September 2021
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Garment Worker Center
Los Angeles, CA, U.S.

Grant

Garment Worker Center (GWC) is a worker rights organization leading an anti-sweatshop movement to improve conditions for tens of thousands of Los Angeles garment workers. Through direct organizing, GWC develops leaders who demand enforcement of strong labor laws and accountability from factory owners, manufacturers, and fashion brands.

The WES Mariam Assefa Fund is supporting GWC’s two-year campaign for targeted, local investment for post-pandemic recovery in the garment industry that promotes a regenerative economy in which workers, the environment and business can thrive. GWC’s work puts forth a compelling vision for the advancement of immigrant women working in an industry that historically has unfair labor practices. The initiative is a collaboration between ethical fashion brands, manufacturers, organizations and workers, to advocate for policy that supports post-pandemic economic recovery in the California garment industry, including workforce development, small business subsidies to incentivize labor compliance, seed grants for innovative production models, zoning protections for the Los Angeles garment district, worker-driven auditing programs, and expanded local procurement.

Website
garmentworkercenter.org
Amount
USD$150,000
Start Date
December 2021
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Greater Portland Workforce Initiative (United Way of Southern Maine)
Portland, Maine, U.S.

Grant

United Way of Southern Maine serves as the backbone organization for the Greater Portland Workforce Initiative (GWPI), a collective impact project of 21 stakeholders, including representatives from employers, education/training providers, funders, federal, state, and local government, non-profit organizations, and community and economic development organizations. GWPI’s goal is to help eliminate barriers to entering or remaining in the workforce for five target populations who face significant obstacles to steady and sustainable employment, including immigrants and refugees.  

With this grant, GPWI is developing a system for employers to become better equipped and more confident in hiring, promoting, and retaining more immigrants and refugees, including internationally trained individuals working in roles not commensurate with their professional background and experience. The initiative will serve a growing immigrant community in southern Maine, in addition to a wide range of employers. The proposal adopts a multi-faceted approach to bridging the gap between internationally trained job seekers and employers, addressing needs through a systemic lens to target root causes and strategies to achieve immediate programmatic benefits. 

Website
uwsme.org/greater-portland-workforce-initiative
Amount
USD$150,000
Start Date
December 2021
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Groundswell School
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Grant

Groundswell School provides alternative education that prioritizes students’ lived experiences, challenges toxic systems, and helps to build collective power to change the status quo. Groundswell students are social entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, community organizers, and non-profit leaders with varied intersectional backgrounds who are systematically underrepresented in leadership and entrepreneurship. Since 2013, Groundswell has served over 250 individuals with their social entrepreneurship and self-employment programs, helping to create over 75 jobs.  

This grant is supporting the design and launch of a train-the-trainer version of Groundswell’s Leadership for Social Change course, an inclusive, trauma-informed, anti-oppressive, and intersectionality-feminist approach to leadership and career development training. The 6-month program will provide an adaptive approach for community leaders and organizers who serve immigrant women through their jobs or ventures to learn to facilitate person-centered, strengths-based leadership and livelihood development. Trainees will receive support to pilot and test the Groundswell approach within their communities and will be provided wraparound services during the program. 

Website
groundswellschool.com
Amount
C$198,920
Start Date
February 2022
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Hamilton Center for Civic Inclusion (HCCI)
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Grant – General Operating Support

The Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) was formed in 2006 as a result of the work undertaken through the Strengthening Hamilton Community’s Initiative, which was formed as a response to the burning of Hamilton’s Hindu Samaj Temple in 2001, following the 9/11, terrorist attacks in the USA. HCCI’s short-term objective was to deal with the distress in the community caused by the burning of the Temple and then evolve as a civic resource center to create an inclusive and welcoming city through respecting diversity, practicing equity, and speaking out against discrimination.  

With this funding, HCCI is working with health experts and community organizations to ensure BIPOC and newcomer communities have access to COVID-19 vaccines and COVID-19 related information. The organization hired a COVID coordinator to support their COVID-19 vaccine clinic, which has vaccinated thousands of Hamilton residents. They host public town halls, creating informational COVID-19 videos in numerous languages for ethnocultural organizations.

Website
hcci.ca
Amount
C$18,500
Start Date
October 2021
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Immigrant Advocates Response Collaborative (I-ARC)
U.S. - Canada Border

Grant – General Operating Support

Immigrant Advocates Response Collaborative (I-ARC) is a coalition of legal advocates that works to increase access to justice and counsel for all immigrants in New York. I-ARC was born out of the “Muslim Ban” of 2017 when hundreds of New York state lawyers came to JFK Airport in an effort to help those affected by the new policy. A few weeks later, the lawyers met to discuss their experiences since they first met and brainstorm creative solutions for the future. This network soon became I-ARC. Through their network, I-ARC fosters a collaborative environment among legal advocates in the area, which allows for knowledge sharing to better support immigrant communities, quick and collective responses to challenges as they arise, and a united front as they challenge anti-immigrant policies and confront inequalities faced by immigrant communities in the legal system. 

With the Fund’s support, I-ARC will hire an attorney experienced in both immigration systems whose role will be to build relationships and foster this cross-border collaborative network. Created to assess and communicate existing and emerging migration-related issues occurring alongside the U.S-Canada border, this network will facilitate the creation of innovative solutions that provide an effective and collaborative approach to lawful mitigation while preserving border security and public safety. This network will be developed in conjunction with several key partners both in the U.S. and Canada, including I-ARC members currently working on the U.S. northern border, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, the litigation team working on the challenge to the Safe Third Country Agreement before Canada’s Supreme Court, human rights organizations working in the U.S. and Canada, and others who will be included as the network grows. 

Website
immigrantarc.org
Amount
USD$50,000
Start Date
May 2022
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Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Grant – Project Support

Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) is the largest immigrant-serving agency in Atlantic Canada. ISANS works with newcomers to help them build a future in Canada and provides a wide range of services, including pre-arrival programs, professional programs for internationally trained workers, refugee settlement assistance, family counselling, and work-integrated English language programming.

ISANS is developing a three-phase bridging program for internationally educated early childhood educators and primary school teachers. This training will support participants obtaining the certification required to access jobs or move up into higher-earning positions in the sector. Internationally educated professionals, regardless of their field, remain underemployed in Canada. The work of ISANS is helping immigrants assess their skills on the job and close skills gaps that could otherwise block their path to certification and contribute to immigrant underemployment. 

Website
isans.ca
Amount
C$300,000
Start Date
December 2020
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Immigrant Workers Centre (IWC)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Grant

The Immigrant Workers Centre (IWC) is a Quebec-based organization that defends the rights of immigrants in their workplaces and fights for dignity, respect, and justice. It was founded in 2000 by a small group of Filipino-Canadian union organizers along with their academic and activist allies. The organizers saw that unions were not meeting all the needs of workers. The IWC emerged to address the needs and concerns of workers. 

With this grant, IWC is expanding its ongoing advocacy, capacity-building, and policy change work. They are building workers’ collective leadership to amplify their voices in the public sphere supporting labour rights ambassadors. IWC is also working to ensure that workers can defend their rights in the workplace by providing workshops on labour standards, health and safety and immigration law. IWC’s approach is to bring these groups of workers with various situations into a council which will institutionalize the work of ambassadors to change the status quo. IWC will also continue advocating better working conditions for workers (e.g., to raise the minimum wage to $18) and providing legal advice and support to workers.   

Website
iwc-cti.ca
Amount
CAN $150,000
Start Date
February 2022
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Inclusive Action for the City
Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Grant – Project Support

Inclusive Action for the City addresses the root causes of poverty by merging good urban policy with sound economic development initiatives that reduce barriers, increase opportunity, strengthen local economies, and empower low-income residents and entrepreneurs. Inclusive Action partners with communities to prototype innovative, scalable solutions that can contribute to systems change. 

Inspired by Inclusive Action’s advocacy work alongside street vendors, their Semi’a Fund loan is designed to support entrepreneurs, many of whom are immigrants, who cannot secure capital from traditional lenders yet need it to expand or formalize their business. By scaling this program, Inclusive Action envisions opportunities to increase direct lending, advise partners who are developing their own initiatives, and build capacity within other community-based programs. Flexible lending and financial support are particularly important amid the economic slowdown, which has affected many immigrant entrepreneurs. 

Website
inclusiveaction.org
Amount
USD$200,000
Start Date
October 2020
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International Rescue Committee (IRC)
U.S.

Grant – Project Support  

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is a global non-profit that responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. In the United States, the IRC provides opportunities for refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking, survivors of torture, and other immigrants to thrive. Working with government bodies, civil society actors, and local volunteers, the IRC helps these people translate their past experiences into assets and skills that are valuable to their new communities. 

The IRC is working in four cities to strengthen local workforce systems and support successful career pathways for immigrant and refugee workers. In four distinct economies—Seattle; San Diego; Boise, Idaho; and Atlanta—the IRC will illuminate how local policies and decisions affect the economic outcomes of refugees and immigrants. This project seeks to help identify career paths that enable these workers to learn industry-specific skills in their communities based on local economic needs.   

Website
rescue.org
Amount
USD$500,000
Start Date
June 2020
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Jane and Finch Community and Family Centre
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Grant – General Operating Support

The Jane and Finch Centre is a multi-service, community-based organization focusing on poverty reduction through resident engagement, capacity building and anti-oppression. They have a long history of innovation and response to community needs and priorities. For over 44 years, the organization has strategically built the health and well-being of Jane and Finch in collaboration with residents, community leaders, community groups, organizations and partners from within the local community and beyond. 

With this funding, Jane and Finch is implementing the Youth Vaccine Outreach Animator, which will create COVID-19 vaccine interventions on social media and in-person and provide vaccine referrals to youth (ages 12 – 21) living in Jane-Finch and Black Creek community. 

Website
janefinchcentre.org
Amount
C$18,500
Start Date
September 2021
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Jewish Vocational Service
U.S.

Grant

A nonprofit, nonsectarian organization, Jewish Vocational Service’s (JVS) mission is to empower individuals from diverse communities to find employment and build careers, while partnering from employers to hire, develop, and retain productive workforces.  

With this grant, JVS is expanding their piloted Job Quality Benchmarking Index, a software product that identifies and compares employers with one another on specific, entry-level roles based on five pillars of job quality identified by a job seeker pool through surveys and focus groups. Through the index, JVS seeks to provide comparable, quantifiable data to employers to help them improve their jobs, while using the data obtained to assist job seekers in finding the positions that best fit their needs and goals. JVS is partnering with local organizations in expanding its services through licensing the index, which helps to build the capacity of organizations in other localities partnering with employers and serving job-seekers.

Website
jvs-boston.org
Amount
USD$150,000
Start Date
December 2021
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Kinbrace Community Society
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Grant

Kinbrace Community Society (Kinbrace) aspires to grow transformative communities where refugee claimants flourish through housing security, protection, legal support, and job opportunities, and by supporting wellbeing and cultivating belonging. For parts of this project, Kinbrace is partnering with Launchpad, an organization that supports new Canadians, permanent residents, convention refugees and refugee claimants recertify and reskill or upskill to work in the same field as they did in their country of origin.  

This initiative aims to address three key barriers faced by refugee claimants when trying to achieve financial mobility in Canada: discriminatory preconceived notions, lack of targeted opportunities, and a need for recertifying, reskilling, or upskilling to gain meaningful employment. Kinbrace is convening refugee claimant employment roundtables to help break down employment barriers, as well as creating a centralized repository of employment, volunteering, networking, and educational opportunities for refugee claimants. Kinbrace is also launching a campaign to promote the employment successes of refugee claimants, both from the refugee claimant’s perspective and the employer’s perspective.

Website
kinbrace.ca
Amount
CAN $153,747
Start Date
May 2022
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Many Languages One Voice
Washington, D.C., U.S.

Grant – Project Support  

MLOV’s mission is to support immigrants in Washington, D.C., who do not speak English as a primary language. MLOV’s goal is to foster leadership and provide tools that allow greater civic participation so these immigrants can be a part of designing and developing strategies and resources that improve their lives. 

With this grant, the early childcare Birth to Three (B3) campaign will support economic mobility for single mothers and families by re-envisioning the childcare sector within immigrant and refugee communities in Washington, D.C. In addition to establishing childcare “pods” to provide a range of supports and fostering grassroots organizing, the B3 program is working key partners, such as American University’s Community and Economic Development Law Clinic, to establish and run a childcare cooperative. At the heart of MLOV’s work of reimagining childcare programs for immigrant families is its plan to develop a strong network of future advocates with new skill sets to mobilize for change.   

Website
mlovdc.org
Amount
USD$100,000
Start Date
October 2020
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MICC Financial (MICC)
Canada

Impact Investment

Founded in 2020, MICC Financial (“MICC”) is a financial technology startup that has built a platform to help groups of people and individuals save money, access capital, and build credit. The company’s platform helps their clients save as a group and improve their financial well-being, enabling them to solve financial challenges and achieve their goals. Founded by immigrants, MICC has a target segment focus on supporting newcomers and immigrants without credit history.  

With support from the Fund, MICC would bolster their ability to demonstrate the impact of their approach, build its product, advance financial health outcomes for their target population, and support more equitable and inclusive systems. Access to credit is an asset for individuals to pursue economic opportunities and enhance financial security. However, credit invisibility is a significant problem for Canadians, with 35.3% of the population being credit invisible. Credit invisibility is caused largely by structural issues within Canada’s data markets. To bridge this information gap in the credit system and unlock opportunity, MICC is digitizing the informal rotational savings and credit association model to allow users to establish payment history with their own funds, with no interest fees. 

Website
getmiq.io
Amount
C$150,000
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Mission Asset Fund
San Francisco, California, U.S.

Grant Project Support

Mission Asset Fund (MAF) believes that the best solutions are found in the strengths of historically marginalized communities. MAF’s programs and services meet the complex needs of low-income communities through a three-pronged approach: recognizing the resilience and wisdom in communities, building programs that transform everyday financial practices into savings and credit building opportunities, and scaling programs nationwide by leveraging user-centered design principles and technology. 

This grant supports MAF’s Lending Circles, which bring people together to form zero-interest, small dollar loans. MAF acts as a loan servicer—ensuring that everyone in the circle receives a loan—and reports each borrower’s payments to the three major U.S. credit bureaus. For millions of immigrant families in the U.S., the tools needed to achieve financial security are out of reach. MAF helps communities meet immediate financial assistance needs and provides training to secure the financial future of individuals within the community.

Website
missionassetfund.org
Amount
USD$200,000
Start Date
October 2020
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MOSAIC
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Grant

MOSAIC is one of the largest settlement organizations in Canada, serving immigrant, refugee, and other communities since 1976. They provide a broad range of services including settlement assistance, English language training, employment programs, interpretation and translation, and counselling services. The Alliance for Doctors Denied by Degree is hosted by MOSAIC and works in partnership with the Canadian on Paper Society for Immigrant Physicians Equality (COPSIPE), the Association of International Medical Graduates of Alberta (AIMGA), the Society of Canadians Studying Medicine Abroad (SOCASMA) SFU Refugee Livelihood Lab, and the Foundation of International Medical Graduates. These partners will be actively involved in this project.  

This project is challenging the systemic discrimination faced by immigrant and refugee physicians who are citizens and permanent residents of Canada. MOSAIC will collect and analyze disaggregated data from the key medical and government bodies that International Medical Graduates (IMGs) interact with for their licensure and residencies. The project will also entail interviewing IMGs to collect demographic and quantitative data to compare the data collected from the data sources and identify any missing data. The data collected will help develop equity-focused interventions to help reduce existing disparities for IMGs.

Website
mosaicbc.org
Amount
CAN $154,675
Start Date
February 2022
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National Fund for Workforce Solutions
U.S.

Grant

The National Fund for Workforce Solutions’ mission is to collaborate with workers, employers, and communities to advance a skilled workforce, promote good jobs, and invest in equitable outcomes. Asa national network of almost 30 communities, the National Fund takes a demand-driven, evidence-based approach to workforce development. Ultimately, they envision an equitable future where workers, employers, and communities are thriving and prosperous.   

The Fund is supporting the Healthcare Immigrant Workforce Project, which leverages the expertise and peer-learning model of CareerSTAT, a national network of over 400 healthcare employers and partners, to share workforce development innovations, best practices, and outcome-based initiatives to support immigrant frontline healthcare workers to build skills, advance careers and achieve family-sustaining wages. The project will identify and uplift employer expertise within the network, develop a strategy to facilitate peer-learning, add and promote immigrant-specific resources, and implement a practice change intervention to build the skills and careers of immigrant frontline workers.

Website
nationalfund.org
Amount
USD$150,000
Start Date
January 2022
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Neighborhood Development Center
St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.

Grant – General Operating Support

Neighborhood Development Center is a community-based organization working primarily in St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, which believes that residents in all communities have the talent, energy, and ideas to develop and revitalize their own neighborhoods through entrepreneurship. Its four programs—Entrepreneur Training, Business Lending, Technical Assistance, and Small Business Incubators—empower low-income neighborhood residents, primarily people of color and recent immigrants, to start and grow their own businesses, rise from poverty, and revitalize and transform their neighborhoods. 

With this grant, NDC is exploring opportunities to scale its work. NDC also supports economic development strategies in various rural communities, where it has introduced its place-based, low-income, entrepreneur-focused approach. Their work represents a visible and accessible concentration of opportunity and hope for all neighborhood residents, including refugees and immigrants, and a practical, proven way of addressing economic disparities in low-income communities. 

Website
ndc-mn.org
Amount
USD$200,000
Start Date
October 2020
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New Power Labs (NPL)
Canada

Impact Investment

New Power Labs (NPL) is a non-profit partnership to build a more transparent, inclusive, and equitable financial future in Canada.

With this grant, NPL will accelerate access to, and allocation of, capital for communities and groups that are often excluded, such as immigrants. There is systemic bias and discrimination in how capital flows, disproportionately affecting underrepresented communities – NPL’s initial research suggests Canadian foundations almost exclusively invest in white or male impact fund managers. NPL seeks to disrupt the status quo through its inclusive collective impact platform. This grant would fund NPL to design and execute six different programs to strengthen research initiatives, education curriculum, and general operations.

Website
newpowerlabs.org
Amount
C$100,000
Start Date
January 2022
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Oakland Bloom
Oakland, California, U.S

Grant – General Operating Support

Oakland Bloom’s mission is to advance economic equity and create pathways to business ownership for poor and working-class refugee and immigrant chefs in Oakland, Calif., by providing food entrepreneurship training, income-generating opportunities, and hands-on support to aspiring chef entrepreneurs from refugee, immigrant, and low-income communities who are seeking to launch their own food businesses. 

The WES Mariam Assefa Fund is supporting two new initiatives at Oakland Bloom. The first, a collectively owned commissary kitchen, has been a long-time goal for the organization. Oakland Bloom is working to complete the buildout and launch of a space for the kitchen collective in partnership with worker-owners. Oakland Bloom is also exploring opportunities to launch a restaurant group cooperative that will provide start-up funds, back-end technical support, and shared financial risk to new food businesses. The cooperative model will center chef leadership, decision-making power, and equity in the new businesses. 

Website
oaklandbloom.org
Amount
USD$100,000
Start Date
October 2020
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Ohlone College Career Center
Bay Area, California, U.S.

Grant – General Operating Support

Ohlone College is a public community college offering 189 associate degrees and certificates to 15,000 students per year at three campuses in Northern California. A majority of folks resettled from Afghanistan over the past eight months have settled in communities with established Afghan communities, including Northern Virginia and the surrounding D.C. area; Texas and Northern California. Part of Fremont, where Ohlone College has its primary campus, is unofficially known as “Little Kabul” and is among the largest Afghan communities in the U.S. 

A grant from the Fund will support the Ohlone College Career Center, whose mission is to change lives through innovation by connecting students and the community to future careers. Within its mission, their services extend to all members of the community. The proposed initiative is a partnership between Ohlone College and the Alameda County Workforce Development Board, providing individuals with the opportunity to begin careers in the advanced manufacturing industry. Participants of the 8-week Smart Manufacturing Technology Back to Work (SMTech B2W) Program will complete a paid apprenticeship while receiving 18 hours of virtual training encompassing manufacturing safety, blueprint reading, and other field-related modules. Upon completion, graduates will receive an industry-recognized certificate qualifying them for immediately available open positions from participating employers. Ohlone’s career services programs create an environment where resettled refugees feel supported and encouraged in their journey toward employment and upward economic mobility. 

Website
ohlone.edu/careercenter
Amount
USD$50,000
Start Date
May 2022
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Ontario Employment Education & Research Centre (OEERC) 
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Grant – General Operating Support

The Ontario Employment Education & Research Centre (OEERC) is committed to improving public education and awareness of workplace legislation, as well as providing support and strategies for workers who have experienced violations of their rights. It delivers its programming utilizing the expertise of community organizations such as the Workers’ Action Centre, Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, and Caregivers Action Centre.  

With this grant, The OEERC, in partnership with the Workers’ Action Centre, Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, and Caregivers Action Centre, is building capacity to reduce barriers that prevent immigrant and refugee workers from accessing employment in various sectors. Inequalities in the labour market have always existed, yet COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated them. The OEERC and its partners are providing immediate support to workers affected by COVID-19, while also building long-term worker leadership and organizing capacity to address systemic barriers to decent work and drive system-level change through advocacy. 

Website
oeerc.org
Amount
C$300,000
Start Date
April 2021
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Peel Halton Workforce Development Group (PHWDG)
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Grant

Peel Halton Workforce Development Group (PHWDG) is one of 26 Ontario workforce-planning boards. The group’s goal is to improve and coordinate community responses to labour market challenges. PHWDG gathers intelligence about the supply and demand side of the labour market, works closely with employers to identify and support regional planning to meet emerging skill needs, and coordinates responses to connect those communities over-represented among the unemployed and underemployed with in-demand skills and jobs. 

The Fund is supporting PHWDG, in partnership with the City of Brampton’s Economic Development Office (BED) and workforce development consultants at Purpose Co. to convene employers in the warehouse, logistics and truck transportation sectors in the City of Brampton. They will work with employers that are experiencing workforce challenges and interested in implementing new practices that will better engage, integrate, retain and maximize the local immigrant talent. The City of Brampton has a population of 600,000 people, of which over 52.3% of the population are immigrants.

Website
peelhaltonworkforce.com
Amount
C$200,000
Start Date
December 2021
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Pioneer Valley Workers Center
Northampton, Massachusetts, U.S.

Grant – Project Support

The Pioneer Valley Workers Center (PVWC) equips and empowers low-wage and immigrant workers throughout Western Massachusetts. Worker-leaders develop and organize grassroots campaigns for food chain workers’ rights to win wage theft protections and stop deportations, and advance the solidarity economy through worker cooperatives. 

With support from this grant, PVWC’s Vida Cooperativa program offers cooperative economics worker trainings and cooperative business incubation. Riquezas Del Campo is a 4.5 acre cooperative farm, owned by PVWC majority-immigrant members, which serves as the program’s anchor.  The farm became a crucial source of food for PVWC’s mutual aid community food distributions as COVID-19 hit, offering fresh, free produce to a wide variety of low-wage workers suffering from unemployment and underemployment. The cooperatives strengthen food security and generate vital income opportunities across PVWC’s membership and the wider Western Massachusetts immigrant community. 

Website
pvworkerscenter.org
Amount
USD$100,000
Start Date
October 2020
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RADIUS – Refugee Livelihood Lab (RLL)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Grant – General Operating Support

The Refugee Livelihood Lab (RLL) is a program within RADIUS, a social innovation hub of the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University. Launched in 2018, RLL works to dismantle systemic barriers and generate opportunities for refugees, immigrants, and international students to pursue thriving livelihoods in the Greater Vancouver region. RLL seeks to facilitate systems change and achieve migrant justice by building power within communities through leadership development, convening, and advocacy. 

RLL is developing two key initiatives to support the economic and social inclusion of immigrant and refugee leaders: 

  • Beyond Borders is an equity-focused social innovation program through which migrants of colour who are leaders in their community develop and prototype a social venture or service innovation that addresses socio-economic barriers. 
  • Trampoline: Ideas into Action! is a venture incubation program. Selected participants go through a highly participatory prototype validation and incubation process. 

The ventures developed and launched by RLL participants will foster greater innovation in the sector and help grow the social entrepreneurship field in Canada. RLL will ensure that immigrant leaders are equipped with critical skills and knowledge that enable them to drive change in their communities and advance their careers.   

Website
radiussfu.com/programs/labs-ventures/refugee-newcomer-livelihood
Amount
C$300,000
Start Date
April 2021
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RIN-CEO Social Impact Fund
U.S.

Impact Investment

The Social Impact Fund is a partnership between the International Rescue Committee’s Center for Economic Opportunity (IRC-CEO) and the Refugee Investment Network (RIN). It directly provides financial access and inclusion to hundreds of immigrants and refugees across the United States. IRC-CEO is a certified community development financial institution (CDFI) which brings more than 15 years of experience making flexible, affordable consumer and microenterprise loans to borrowers who have little access to traditional financing, particularly those in refugee and immigrant communities. 

 Since launching in May of 2020, the Social Impact Fund (SIF) has made 240 loans totaling $525,000 financed. More than 64 percent of SIF borrowers have been in the U.S. for less than three years, and the cohort represents 35 countries of origin. Financial access is critical to economic mobility, yet many immigrants and refugees are unbanked or underbanked and as a result face barriers to capital needed to buy a car, start a business, further their education, or carry out other everyday activities. The RIN-CEO Social Impact Fund promotes upward economic mobility among immigrants and refugees in low-income households by supporting the development of financial resilience and filling gaps in available financial services.  

Website
refugeeinvestments.org/social-impact-fund
Amount
USD$250,000
Start Date
November 2020
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Saskatoon Open Door Society (SODS)
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Grant – General Operating Support

Saskatoon Open Door Society (SODS) has provided services and programs to the newcomer community in Saskatoon for the past 40 years. SODS envisions a diverse and inclusive community where newcomers can fully participate in the economic, social, intellectual and cultural life in Saskatoon.   

With this funding, SODS is educating BIPOC and newcomer communities in Saskatoon who are facing heightened levels of vaccine hesitancy. The project will incorporate vaccine awareness and readiness to encourage the safe use of the vaccine for all eligible people through group programming, social media, promotional materials, and providing transportation to newcomers.

Website
sods.sk.ca
Amount
C$18,500
Start Date
September 2021
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Social Economy through Social Inclusion (SETSI)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Impact Investment

Social Economy through Social Inclusion (SETSI) is a Toronto-based non-profit committed to advancing inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in the impact investing ecosystem in Canada. Its mission is to create prosperity and abundance through social innovation. With an emphasis on supporting historically under-represented communities, SETSI aims to establish a thriving social economy for start-ups and emerging leaders.  

The Fund is supporting SETSI’s Impact Investing Research Initiative (IIRI), an in-depth examination of the relationship between the African Canadian community and the impact investing ecosystem. The goal of this research initiative is to analyze the extent to which African Canadians are meaningfully engaged or systematically excluded from impact investing, and explore opportunities for partnership, collaboration, and innovation. SETSI seeks to bring transparency to the Canadian impact investing market, demonstrate what culturally safe and culturally appropriate capital looks like, create a foundation to address access issues, and build a movement of values-aligned investors.

Website
setsi.ca
Amount
C$25,000
Start Date
January 2022
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Solid State
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

Grant

Solid State Community Society is building a network of worker co-operative enterprises with youth from racialized migrant families. This co-op of co-ops launched in 2017 and operates in Surrey, BC – a very diverse but segregated city, full of tensions, frustrations, and violence, especially affecting youth from racialized migrant and Indigenous families. The aim is for the co-ops to grow and become autonomous but never truly independent. Solid State hopes they will remain entwined formally and informally, contributing to the larger co-op of co-ops that keeps exploring different, non-exploitative, non-extractive ways to work and organize together.  

With this funding, Solid State is extending its work to collaborate with grassroots organizations and low-income racialized communities that are often ignored and invisible in Surrey and build new, culturally appropriate and durable workers co-ops as a result. Solid State plans to launch at least 10 new co-ops over two years in close partnership with local organizations and support them with Solid State’s institutional resources and their co-op of co-ops. 

Website
solidstate.coop
Amount
C$180,000
Start Date
February 2022 
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South Vancouver Neighbourhood House (SVNH)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Grant

South Vancouver Neighbourhood House (SVNH) is a community-based organization that focuses on connecting people and strengthening neighbourhoods in South Vancouver. Its goal is to develop harmonious relationships among community groups of different cultural, economic, religious, and social backgrounds. SVNH currently offers a variety of programs and services that support approximately 7,000 individuals and their families each year. 

South Vancouver has a population of over 100,000 people, with 80 percent people of color, 56 percent newcomers, and a high density of non-English speakers. Many of these residents have been underrepresented in municipal, provincial, and federal systems, which has led to long-term under-investment across the region. This project will bring together residents, business owners, employers, community agencies, and other stakeholders and provide a platform for community members to engage with one another, identify needs, and advance systems change from the grassroots level. Through community outreach and dialogues, SVNH is supporting residents to create change and advance equity in their neighbourhoods.  

Website
southvan.org
Amount
C$200,000
Start Date
April 2022
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Sueños Sin Fronteras de Tejas
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.

Grant – General Operating Support

Sueños Sin Fronteras de Tejas (SSFTX) is a Latinx, women of color-led, non-profit organization whose aim is to achieve health, healing, and liberation for immigrant, undocumented, refugee, and asylum-seeking women and families in South Texas through community-based programming and advocacy. Based out of San Antonio, SSFTX works from a health equity and reproductive justice lens to identify and challenge structures that dehumanize and oppress women and families of color. 

SSFTX’s work addresses domestic violence, reproductive health issues, and immigration challenges, centering self-determination and ally support in solidarity rather than charity. Examples of these strategies include frequent needs assessments, community mutual aid, and utilization of community health advocates. Since its founding, SSFTX has uplifted the health and healing of more than 30,000 migrant and immigrant individuals in South Texas.

Website
suenossinfronterastx.org
Amount
USD$100,000
Start Date
October 2020
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Suma
Portland, Oregon, U.S.

Grant – General Operating Support  

Suma is a new non-profit focused on putting technology at the center of community organizing efforts. It began as a 2019 program of Verde, an environmental justice organization that reinterpreted sustainability as an anti-poverty strategy. In response to community members’ interest in learning more about technology, Verde launched its Suma program to adapt the lessons of its environmental justice work to the adjacent tech sector. Suma envisions a technology future that is inclusive of low-income people, people of color, and other frontline communities through digital organizing and enterprise development. 

Suma is working to ensure a technology future that is inclusive and community-led, beginning in Northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood, a diverse and low-income area that is home to affordable housing occupied by many immigrants and refugees. Suma works in the community to present digital capacity building curriculum. Through bilingual presentations, discussion, and hands-on exercises, participants acquire digital skills, discover and share tools that safeguard personal information, and develop a shared awareness of the value of their personal data. 

Website
mysuma.org
Amount
USD$100,000
Start Date
October 2020
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Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Grant

Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB) is pioneering labour mobility as a complementary solution to refugee resettlement in multiple countries. It works to match refugees with career opportunities and support forcibly displaced people to leverage their skills to secure their futures. Through TBB’s model, refugees earn employment in a third country and embark on economic migration pathways, regaining regular status and rights while securing their livelihoods. TBB is collaborating with Jumpstart Refugee Talent (Jumpstart) for this initiative.  

TBB is building on the Canadian federal government’s expansion of access to the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot, a program welcoming displaced people through Canada’s economic immigration streams. TBB aims to increase the number of refugees directly benefiting from this program in Canada. In partnership with Jumpstart, the two organizations are establishing the Refugee 500 Taskforce to advance this goal, a coalition of Canadian businesses, refugee-serving organizations, immigrant specialists and refugee leaders. At the same time, TBB and Jumpstart will enable Canadian businesses to search for candidates in the Talent Catalog, a unique online platform to collect comprehensive data on the professional profiles of displaced people. 

Website
talentbeyondboundaries.org
Amount
C$200,000
Start Date
February 2022
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Tamarack Institute
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Grant – Project Support

The Tamarack Institute, founded in 2001, develops and supports collaborative strategies to engage individuals and institutions in solving major community issues across Canada and beyond. Tamarack uses a multi-sectoral strategy—working with non-profit leaders, policymakers, advocates, businesses, and individuals with lived experience—to drive impactful community change.   

Tamarack is designing and implementing an innovative participatory grantmaking pilot in a selected community in Ontario. Through the pilot, the community will identify projects and organizations to fund that help remove economic barriers and build inclusive economies for immigrants and refugees in this community.  Tamarack is engaging a group of community-based stakeholders to identify needs, co-design approaches, and make funding decisions. This project will also help the Fund learn about participatory grantmaking and use what it learns to more effectively address power imbalances and advance equity by refining its funding strategies. 

Website
tamarackcommunity.ca
Amount
C$800,000
Start Date
July 2021
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TechEquity Collaborative
California, U.S.

Grant

TechEquity Collaborative envisions a world where the growth of the tech industry creates economic prosperity for everyone, and where teach sector employees and companies are engaged and active participants in making our economy equitable. Their mission is to mobilize tech workers and companies to advance structural change that addresses economic inequity at its roots. 

With this grant, TechEquity is launching the Contract Worker Disparity Project which focuses on research and advocacy to address the caste system that exists in the tech workforce between directly-employed full-time workers and those that are “contracted out” through staffing agencies and other vendors. Survey data shows that contract workers disproportionately include Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, women, and nonbinary people. This work builds on TechEquity’s other programs including affordable housing policy and a labor standard for workers in low-wage jobs that serve tech company campuses, including janitors, security officers, shuttle drivers, and food service workers. 

Website
techequitycollaborative.org
Amount
USD$150,000
Start Date
December 2021
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The Drivers Cooperative
New York, NY, U.S.

Grant

The Drivers Cooperative is a worker cooperative of over 3,000 for-hire vehicle drivers in New York City, where 91% of the drivers are immigrants, and 70% are the main wage earners in their households. Through cooperative ownership and community organizing, The Driver Cooperative works to end exploitative conditions in the for-hire vehicle industry by putting drivers in the driver’s seat of the platform economy.  

The cooperative originated in a participatory action research project funded by The Workers Lab and Capital Impact Partners. In April 2020, they launched the Co-op Ride, the world’s first driver-owned ride-hailing platform cooperative to build community wealth for drivers through worker ownership and provide a just, green model in the for-hire vehicle industry. The Driver’s Cooperative offers near-term benefits for their driver-members as well as upskilling and training opportunities in the IT sector, and Organizing Fellowship program, language access and digital literacy resources, and mutual aid programs. With this grant, they are expanding their membership and scaling nationwide through a “social franchise” system.

Website
drivers.coop
Amount
USD$150,000 
Start Date
December 2021
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The Welcoming Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.

Grant 

Established in 2003, The Welcoming Center addresses the barriers immigrants face entering the U.S. workforce. It promotes inclusive economic growth by supporting immigrants in the Philadelphia area, which make up to 20% of the local labor force, through programming focused on workforce development, entrepreneurship, and civic participation.  

In its work as one of the Fund’s 2019 inaugural grantee partners, TWC provided a toolkit called Engaging Immigrant Talent which uses an asset-based approach to provide employers with practical steps to better support the recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion of immigrants into the U.S. workforce. This grant is providing critical general operating support for TWC while it develops and begins implementing a new strategic plan and ensure they can continue investing in the work to deepen the impact of the Engaging Immigrant Talent toolkit. 

Website
welcomingcenter.org
Amount
USD$100,000
Start Date
January 2022
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TIS Foundation
Maryland and Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area , U.S.

Grant – General Operating Support

TIS Foundation commits to creating dynamic, innovative solutions to economic inequities and social exclusions by focusing on filling gaps in critical community services through family and youth-centered initiatives. Through their workforce development programs and wrap-around services, TIS Foundation identifies pathways for immigrant communities to not become self-sufficient and thrive economically. 

A grant from the Fund will support the Afghans Learning to Lead and Innovate as Entrepreneurs Strategy (ALLIES), a program dedicated to fostering long-term economic prosperity through innovative workforce development programs that help individuals overcome every barrier to success. As resettlement agencies scale down support due to federally mandated budgets and operational timescales, ALLIES aims to fill the gaps and provide long-term support for the new arrivals from Afghanistan in the National Capital Region. Additionally, TIS Foundation continues to build capacity for its services in the Washington DC metropolitan area, they are set to open an Urban Campus in Fall 2022. The Urban Center will house the TIS Innovation Center, which will serve as a service hub for ALLIES. 

Website
tisfoundation.org
Amount
USD$50,000
Start Date
May 2022
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Toronto Community Benefits Network (TCBN)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Grant – General Operating Support

Toronto Community Benefits Network (TCBN) represents a coalition of more than 120 community and labour organizations and social enterprises. TCBN cultivates and supports the implementation of community benefits agreements with infrastructure and urban development projects in the Greater Toronto Area to increase apprenticeships, training, and employment opportunities for communities, including newcomer communities, that are experiencing barriers to employment. 

COVID-19 has had an impact on virtually every aspect of employment, and many immigrants and refugees have been affected. TCBN is helping newcomers use their transferrable skills to pursue well-paid employment opportunities associated with community benefits agreements in the construction sector, focusing on both trades and PAT (professional, administrative, and technical) jobs. This grant will allow TCBN to develop and test a model that provides more comprehensive support to immigrants and refugees and address gender issues within the sector. 

Website
communitybenefits.ca
Amount
C$300,000
Start Date
December 2020
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Upwardly Global
U.S.

Grant – Project Support

Founded in 2000, Upwardly Global is a leading U.S. non-profit supporting college-educated immigrants, refugees, and asylees in successfully transitioning their education, skills, and previous professional experience to the U.S. workforce. To date, the organization has assisted more than 6,500 people in successfully rebuilding professional careers in the U.S. Upwardly Global envisions an equitable, more welcoming nation where everyone—including immigrants, refugees, and asylees—can fully contribute and thrive. 

With the support of the WES Mariam Assefa Fund, Upwardly Global is designing, piloting, and launching Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) products and resources for a wide range of employers, including small, medium-sized, and Fortune 500 enterprises, to improve immigrant and refugee recruitment, hiring, and long-term workplace inclusion and advancement. By leveraging its job placement expertise and extensive network of employer partners, Upwardly Global is uniquely positioned to design well-rounded support systems that employers can use to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse nation.

Website
upwardlyglobal.org
Amount
USD$300,000
Start Date
August 2021
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Watari Research Association
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Grant – General Operating Support

Watari has facilitated meaningful change and provided a bridge to healthier possibilities in at-risk children, youth, families affected by substance misuse or mental health issues in the Downtown Eastside and the Lower Mainland since 1986. Their key success comes through innovative, community-driven, and supportive programming based on an individual’s innate strengths, capabilities, and desire for wellness to the communities we support. During these challenging times, street-level community outreach, counselling services, food security programs, and community and public education projects are still being delivered to marginalized communities. 

With this funding, Watari is supporting the Vancouver Coastal Health, Island Health, and Ray Cam Cooperative Centre, running vaccination clinics. Watari’s vaccine clinics do not require IDs to limit the anxieties of undocumented persons.

Website
watari.ca
Amount
C$18,500
Start Date
September 2021
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Workforce Matters – Worker Voice Fund
U.S.

Grant – Project Support

Workforce Matters is a network of grantmakers drawing on expert and practitioner knowledge to strengthen workforce development philanthropy to support workers, learners, and job seekers in pursuing the careers and lives they desire. In 2021, Workforce Matters published A Racial Equity Framework for Workforce Development Funders, which explored ways in which funders can disrupt the systemic racism within the sector and provided key policy recommendations that would support workers and learners of color.  

With support from the WES Mariam Assefa Fund and other funders, Workforce Matters is launching the Fund for Workforce Equity and issuing a call for proposals from workforce development organizations interested in and committed to centering workers of color in program and policy design. This partnership will facilitate peer learning between grantee partners and provide technical assistance, expertise, and resources on human-centered design and other best practices for elevating worker and learner voices. The Fund for Workforce Equity will support access to career pathways programs that are integral to immigrant and refugee communities.  

Website
workforce-equity.org
Amount
USD$75,000
Start Date
February 2022
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