Survey on Priorities for Immigrant Services

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Services for immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers has become The Clowes Fund’s largest field of interest. Since establishing this grantmaking priority in 2003, the Fund has awarded $8.5 million through nearly 300 grants in Indianapolis, Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire to support efforts that address the economic, linguistic, legal and psychological hurdles that immigrants, refugees and their families face in the U.S. (In addition, many of the Fund’s workforce development grants serve immigrants.)

We recognize that our community partners are working in an increasingly complex and stressful environment, so during summer 2019 the Fund conducted a survey about priority needs. Survey respondents affirmed the importance of the Fund’s focus areas: English as new language, immigration legal services and mental health supports.

When asked if the current priorities are important to helping immigrants gain economic mobility, 99% said that legal services pertaining to immigration are important, 94% said that English as a new language is important, and 90% said that mental health support is important. Survey respondents also highlighted other needs that the Fund might support, including legal services in general (e.g., fair housing, domestic violence, wage theft, etc.) and public policy advocacy.

Next, Fund staff plan to interview a select group of immigrant-supporting organizations to have a deeper conversation about how the Fund can best advance its goals. If you would like to be part of these interviews, please send a brief e-mail to that effect to by October 1, 2019. We will select a sample of interviewees that represents the Fund’s geographic and programmatic interests.

The Fund’s Grantmaking Policy Committee and board will thoughtfully consider the survey and interview responses over the coming months to determine any enhancements to our priorities and grantmaking process.

We sent the survey request to 234 contacts, including all recent grant applicants in the immigrant services field and select contacts at other community organizations, and we are grateful to the 97 people who completed the survey. Most of these respondents are executive and program staff and 41% identify as an immigrant or the child of an immigrant, and 44% report that their organization is led by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant.

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