The WES Mariam Assefa Fund is committed to building an inclusive economy that works for immigrants and refugees. Through grantmaking, investing, partnerships, and field-building, the Fund supports catalytic efforts that ensure all immigrants and refugees have pathways to economic mobility in the U.S. and Canada. Over the next several years, the Fund aims to deepen our understanding of what is required for immigrants and refugees to succeed. The Fund is committed to collaboration and believes that learning from the field is a critical component of achieving its vision.
Our partners share our commitment to building inclusive, equitable economies where all immigrants and refugees can thrive, and are champions for their communities and leaders in their fields. Alongside our partners, the Fund seeks to create a community where organizations can collaborate, share knowledge and resources, and collectively work to drive lasting change in the U.S. and Canada.
We select grantee partners and award grant dollars through a range of mechanisms, including outreach to aligned organizations and open calls for proposals. Any open funding opportunity is always posted here on our website and communicated via our email list. We encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates on future opportunities.
We believe impact investing can play a critical role in catalyzing and scaling solutions that build more inclusive economies on behalf of immigrants and refugees. We invest in innovators and entrepreneurs who are reimagining the many tools and resources immigrant and refugee workers need to thrive. Learn about our approach to impact investing here, or please email [email protected] for more information.
We believe in the power of leveraged impact. The need for more inclusive economies is urgent, and collaborative funding can address challenges more rapidly.
The Fund is excited to partner with other funders to drive more resources into immigrant and refugee communities. We are actively seeking partners who will support our existing grantees and investees, collaborate with us on our funding priorities, and co-create new initiatives. Our team provides program expertise, technical assistance, knowledge-sharing, and communications support to ensure the success of co-funding initiatives. In 2020, the Fund partnered with the Tarsadia Foundation on an initial $1 million philanthropic initiative, the Opportunity Challenge, which grew to become a $2 million funding initiative in order to meet the needs of communities amid COVID-19.
We are also happy to share insights with funders who are interested in more intentionally focusing on immigrants and refugees. We are active participants in several funder collaboratives, including Workforce Matters, Toronto’s Workforce Funders Collaborative, and Impact United, where our team members hold leadership positions. The Fund is open to exploring other collaboratives and pooled opportunities that are aligned with our mission.
Please email Nomzana (Zana) Augustin at [email protected] to inquire about co-funding opportunities.
The WES Mariam Assefa Fund selects grantee partners and awards funding through a range of mechanisms, including outreach to aligned organizations and open calls for proposals.
The Opportunity Challenge: $1 Million to Uplift Immigrant Communities launched in March 2020 as 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 sought solutions to support the success of immigrants and refugees and their communities across the U.S. We were humbled to receive 470 applications from 42 states across the country and over 200 individual communities. Learn more about the awardees and how the Opportunity Challenge worked
Research supports the business rationale for investing in workers and creating good jobs. Beyond the benefits to individual employers, immigrant workers are critical to future economic growth in the U.S. more broadly. With declining U.S. birth rates and an aging workforce, immigrants and refugees are key to a vibrant economy.
The WES Mariam Assefa Fund identified promising new ideas from organizations working with employers to advance more inclusive practices that improve economic mobility for immigrant and refugee workers.
Canadian employers, who have consistently reported labour shortages across a range of occupations, have a critical role to play in building more inclusive economies and supporting the success of immigrant and refugee workers.
The WES Mariam Assefa Fund identified and funded promising solutions that can improve employer practices in Canada and engage employers in the economic integration of immigrants and refugees.