Driving Capital into the Immigrant-Serving Sector: 8 Key Takeaways from our Twitter Chat

Wednesday January 27, 2021

On December 15, World Education Services (WES) brought immigrant serving-organizations together for a Twitter chat to discuss funding for and investing in organizations and solutions that enable immigrants and refugees to thrive.

The conversation focused on how to drive more capital toward creating a more inclusive economy. More than 40 individuals and organizations joined us to explore funding challenges and to surface promising tools and partnerships that can improve economic mobility for all workers. For the WES Mariam Assefa Fund, we believe that different types of capital and more funders from diverse sectors are needed to develop, scale, and sustain solutions that ensure inclusive economies for immigrants and refugees in the U.S. and Canada.

Here are eight key takeaways from the discussion on prospective financing and funding approaches to spur innovation, better support immigrant-serving organizations, and ensure that immigrants and refugees thrive:

  1. Immigrant and refugee perspectives are critical to making funding decisions. Immigrants must be at the table designing and leading the development and implementation of initiatives.


2. Partnerships and collaboration are key to expanding investment impact and providing support beyond funding dollars.  


3. Employers have a critical role to play in investing in efforts that back the success and advancement of immigrant workers.


4. For initiatives that support immigrant and refugee workers, outcomes-based financing models like “pay for success can be an impactful way to increase funding from different types of investors. (Social Finance defines pay for success as “a set of innovative, outcomes-based financing and funding strategies that directly and measurably improve the lives of people in need by driving resources toward results.”) 


5. Economic mobility is contingent on much more than education, skills, and networks. Funders can help ensure that immigrants and refugees have access to critical wraparound supports and inclusive financial services by funding programs that support the holistic needs of workers and their families.


6. As the role of technology continues to expand, organizations must invest in more equitable technological development and address digital divides so that all immigrants and refugees can access the benefits of the virtual world and remain competitive amid changes in the workplace.


7. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted immigrants and refugees. Now is the time to fund inclusive efforts that can help ensure an equitable recovery now and down the line.


8. To sustainably support the economic mobility of immigrants and refugees requires long-term commitments, flexible funding, and local, community-based investments.

Thank you to all participating organizations! We encourage readers to continue to share and discuss how to identify and invest in initiatives and ideas that work toward ensuring more inclusive economies in the U.S. and Canada.

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Thank you for your interest in the WES Mariam Assefa Fund. We’ll share updates on the Fund’s efforts, what we’re learning, and opportunities through our email list.