Opportunity Challenge Spotlight Video: Enablers of Economic Mobility

Friday November 13, 2020

In September, the WES Mariam Assefa Fund announced the 12 awardees of the Opportunity Challenge, chosen out of an applicant pool of 470 organizations. The Opportunity Challenge is a joint grantmaking initiative launched by the Fund and the Tarsadia Foundation to identify solutions that support the success of immigrants and refugees and create a more inclusive economy. The finalists and several semi-finalist organizations were awarded a total of $2 million. These funds will support innovative projects and programs that uplift refugee and immigrant communities across the United States.

As applications were reviewed, four common themes emerged: financial access and inclusion, worker cooperatives, career pathways, and wraparound supports for workers.  

We created a series of four videos showcasing the work of the 12 awardees in these four areas. In this video, we hear from leaders of the awardee organizations which are focused on the supports that immigrants and refugees need to thrive and achieve economic mobility, such as access to childcare, health care, and digital skills.

Access to childcare, for example, benefits working parents and their children. In order to work, parents must be able to leave their children. At the same time, early childhood education programs provide an opportunity to boost school readiness and English language learning among the children of first-generation immigrants.

The leaders featured in this spotlight video are:

Megan Macaraeg, Program Manager of Many Languages One Voice (MLOV) in Washington, D.C. 
With support from the Opportunity Challenge, MLOV is launching the Birth to Three (B3) campaign to improve economic mobility for single mothers and families by re-envisioning the childcare system within immigrant and refugee communities.

Laura Molinar, Executive Director and Founder, and Isabel Zepeda, Collaborator of Sueños Sin Fronteras de Tejas (SSFTX) in San Antonio, Texas  
The Opportunity Challenge grant will help SSFTX create community-based pathways toward liberation and empowerment for immigrant women and families through health advocacy in South Texas and across the country.

Alan Hipólito, Executive Director of Suma in Portland, Oregon 
Funding from the Opportunity Challenge will expand Suma’s work to establish platforms for digital organizing, enterprise, and justice, making technology more equitable and accessible.

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