We are looking to identify promising new ideas from organizations working with employers to advance more inclusive practices that improve economic mobility for immigrant and refugee workers.
Immigrant workers in the U.S. represent 17 percent of the labor force, and yet are also 21.3 percent of low-wage workers, despite their wide range of skills, education, and experience. Better career pathways and training programs for workers in low-wage jobs are essential in helping immigrants and refugees achieve economic mobility and security; however, they alone are not enough.
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.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted immigrant and refugee workers, it has also highlighted the experiences of workers whose voices have not previously been heard. Looking ahead, we have a unique opportunity to harness this moment and build back an economy centered on workers’ success, and an economy that addresses the structural barriers individuals may experience due to race and ethnicity, gender, immigrant, refugee, or other identities.
Since the Fund first launched in 2019, we’ve been learning from our grantee partners who are working to improve employer practices, including through high-road partnerships and demand-driven training programs. We are now building on this work and are looking for additional partners to learn alongside us and who are committed to creating a more inclusive economy for all.
We are currently accepting letters of intent (LOIs) for this funding opportunity through our application portal by July 7, 2021. Following the review of LOIs, selected organizations will be invited to submit a full proposal. Awardees will receive grants that are up to two years in length and range up to $150,000.
We anticipate awarding 2-4 grants through this funding opportunity in 2021. Selected applicants will become grantee partners of the WES Mariam Assefa Fund as part of the Fund’s partner community and have access to peer-learning, capacity building, and other programming. After this funding round, a second round will open for organizations to apply for grants in 2022.
To submit an LOI form, create an account in SurveyMonkey Apply. You can also access a Word document of the form here. Please be sure to read through the full details about the opportunity here and in our FAQs.
We’re looking to fund ideas from organizations to directly engage employers to:
Beyond the WES Mariam Assefa Fund team, a group of external reviewers will review LOIs and select applicants to move to the full proposal stage. We’re thrilled to be working with the following leaders who will share their perspectives and experiences to help with the selection process.
Applications will be reviewed using the following seven criteria areas: