Maine Initiatives and Social Innovation Forum

Maine Initiatives and Social Innovation Forum

COLLABORATIONS AT WORK (Summer 2017). When New England Program Officer Megan Reilly sits with nonprofit leaders working on behalf of immigrant advancement, two things are clear: vulnerable immigrants are scared, and the organizations that support them are stretched thin.  The Clowes Fund works with like-minded funders to find ways to bolster these organizations.  Doing this work in partnership means not only more money, but also a statement that philanthropy is committed to immigrants and the well-being of organizations on the front lines of immigration policy.  The Fund made two small but potentially powerful collaborative grants to strengthen nonprofits: $5K to the Solidarity Fund at Maine Initiatives and $10K to the Social Innovation Forum in Massachusetts.  

In response to public policy trends that seem unwelcoming to immigrants, our colleagues at Maine Initiatives raised $50K in rapid-response funding from foundations and individuals to support the Solidarity Fund for immigrant-led, grassroots organizations; 12 organizations received unrestricted grants of $4K to use however they needed.  In Massachusetts, the Fund and seven partners made grants to the Social Innovation Forum, which will select one promising nonprofit that serves immigrants and refugees as a Social Innovator to receive 24 months of intensive organizational support, as well as six other organizations to participate in a condensed version of the Accelerator program.  All of these organizations will benefit from new communications tools, executive coaching and connections to a network of potential supporters.  

By no means is this work complete!  The Clowes Fund will continue to align with partners to strengthen the nonprofit safety net for immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers.

In the image, Solidarity Fund grantee Somali Community Center of Maine organized a rally in response to unsubstantiated claims by a political candidate attributing a rise in violent crime to Somali refugees.

Clowes Fund Field(s) of Interest: Immigrants, Refugees and Asylees