The Opportunity Challenge: $1 Million to Uplift Immigrant Communities is a joint grantmaking initiative of the WES Mariam Assefa Fund and the Tarsadia Foundation. As two funders committed to unlocking potential for all immigrants and refugees, the WES Mariam Assefa Fund and the Tarsadia Foundation seek solutions to support the success of immigrants and refugees in low-wage jobs and their communities across the U.S.
Economic mobility is not solely a function of a person’s education, skills, or networks. Immigrants and refugees encounter significant roadblocks outside the workplace: lack of access to childcare, transportation, and healthcare, among others.
The Opportunity Challenge aims to surface impactful, community-led solutions to the obstacles that make it difficult for immigrants and refugees to achieve their goals. We also seek to elevate the efforts of adjacent organizations working in social services, health care, racial justice, and more, which are filling gaps in much-needed support for immigrants and refugees. Successful proposals will be considered on two categories: New Ideas, which pilot innovative approaches; and Established Programs, which build on ideas that have already proved successful.
The challenge opened on March 23, 2020, and grant applications were accepted through May 26, 2020. The selection committee of experts and community leaders, listed below, identified 20 semi-finalists. Following additional programmatic review, the final grant recipients will be selected by the WES Mariam Assefa Fund and the Tarsadia Foundation and announced in mid-September 2020. Seven organizations will be awarded up to $200,000 for a two-year grant term.
The challenge will open on March 23, 2020, and grant applications will be accepted through May 26, 2020. The selection committee of experts and community leaders, listed below, will identify a short list of semi-finalist applicants. Following additional programmatic review, the final grant recipients will be selected by the WES Mariam Assefa Fund and the Tarsadia Foundation and announced in mid-September 2020. Seven organizations will be awarded up to $200,000 for a two-year grant term.
Selection Committee Members
We’ve assembled a selection committee of experts and community leaders to review and identify semi-finalists.
Suzette Brooks Masters
Who is eligible to apply?
Organizations that are:
- Mission-driven, for-profit, non-profit 501(c)3, 4, or 6, or fiscally-sponsored individuals
- Of any organizational size, budget, and growth stage
- Providing products, services, or supports that directly or indirectly address the needs of immigrant and refugee communities
- Serving communities anywhere in the U.S., including U.S. territories
- Not recipients of funding from either the WES Mariam Assefa Fund or the Tarsadia Foundation in 2019-2020
How are awardees selected?
The Opportunity Challenge selection committee reviewed applications using the following evaluation criteria:
- Impact: Does your project create deep, long-lasting impact focused on the economic advancement of immigrant and refugee communities?
- Vision: Does your project put forth a compelling vision for the advancement of immigrants and refugees that is informed by and responsive to community needs?
- Implementation: Do the project’s leaders understand the key considerations and resources required to successfully execute the envisioned project?
- Replicability: Does your project develop interventions that can be shared with or implemented in other communities?
- Partnership Orientation: Does your team authentically and intelligently collaborate with partners, when appropriate, to increase the project’s capacity?
- Innovation: Does your project test new solutions to persistent problems, drawing upon lessons learned in other social justice movements or in adjacent sectors?
Why should I apply?
In addition to being eligible for funding:
- All applicants will be invited to participate in a webinar at the conclusion of the Opportunity Challenge. Participants will discuss best practices and lessons learned in developing proposals for open grant challenges.
- The WES Mariam Assefa Fund and Tarsadia Foundation will make available summaries of all applicants’ proposals to other funders and partners in their respective networks in the interest of fostering new connections that could help any applicant advance their work.
- Semi-finalists will be invited to webinars where they will have the opportunity to present their projects to WES Mariam Assefa Fund and Tarsadia Foundation partners, as well as other funders.
- As grantee partners, Opportunity Challenge awardees will become part of the WES Mariam Assefa Fund and the Tarsadia Foundation communities. Both funders are committed to elevating the work of their grantees, facilitating connections, and sharing lessons learned and outputs with the wider field.
For more information: