Immigrants now constitute 17 percent of the workforce in the U.S., and this number is only growing. In Canada, immigration has accounted for nearly 90 percent of labour force growth in recent years.
The most vibrant economy is one in which immigrants and refugees can access quality jobs and contribute their skills and talents where they are most needed.
The WES Mariam Assefa Fund supports organizations and solutions that seek to eliminate the barriers that prevent such access. As a new funder, we are taking a “learning by doing” approach to our strategy, funding, and partnerships. By orienting our current efforts toward learning, we hope to be nimble and responsive to the needs of the immigrant and refugee integration fields in the U.S. and Canada. What we learn through the Fund’s early years and rounds of funding will ultimately inform our longer-term strategy and contribute more knowledge to the field about which solutions work, why they work, and what’s required for impact at scale.
The WES Mariam Assefa Fund believes in the power of leveraged impact. Currently in the U.S. only 1 percent of philanthropic funding from the 1,000 largest foundations goes to immigrant-serving organizations. WES is proud of the philanthropic resources it is able to bring to the U.S. and Canadian immigrant integration sectors; however, we also recognize that it is a drop in the bucket relative to what is needed.
Deploying these resources wisely requires that the WES Mariam Assefa Fund be clear about the values that drive its work, guide its funding practices, and shape its impact.
The values that inform and infuse the WES Mariam Assefa Fund’s grantmaking, investing, partnerships, and knowledge-building efforts are simple. We are: