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Oregon Immigrant & Refugee Funders Collaborative

Throughout our history, MRG has supported Immigrant and Refugee organizing. At this political moment we felt a need to increase specific funding to respond to federal actions on immigration — including executive orders that restrict visitors, immigrants, and refugees to the U.S; detentions of DACA youth, their parents, and others in Oregon and throughout the country; a series of ICE raids in the Northwest; and changes to the law regarding Public Charge. These events have served as catalysts for several foundations in Oregon to engage deeply in conversations about how to respond.

We’re pleased to share one way we’re moving forward together: by participating in the Oregon Immigrant & Refugee Funders Collaborative (OIRFC) in partnership with Collins Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, and The Oregon Community Foundation. The purpose is to create a coordinated, collaborative, and nimble funding approach to address emerging and urgent issues impacting immigrants and refugees in the state, and to support local organizations responding to these issues. A common application form is available here as a Word document.

Funding Structure and Process

“No Wrong Door”

Nonprofit and community groups are encouraged to reach out to any of the representatives from each of the participating funders by email or by telephone. Representatives from participating funders communicate with each other and make any information and document available to the rest of the representatives. Funders will also coordinate their efforts when communicating and/or requesting information from community groups to lessen the burden on answering to different people on similar issues.

Shared Application and Reporting

The funders collaborative share a common application form (a downloadable word document). A submitted application does not guarantee a grant award. Someone from the collaborative may contact the applicant for additional questions as needed or required. At the end of the grant period, grantee submits one report in a format supplied by the collaborative.

Funding process. Application review. Reporting

The collaborative does not have established funding cycles or a formal RFP (Request for Proposals) process. The intent is to offer a nimble and responsive way that reduces the wait time for grantees. The collaborative member who receives the application makes it available to other members for joint review and discussion. If additional clarifying questions arise, a member of the collaborative contacts the applicant to secure the answers. The members may choose to fund an application using various methods: a pooled fund, a combination of pooled and aligned funds, or aligned funds only. An applicant may receive one grant check if funding is provided through a pooled fund, or separate checks and letters of award if multiple funders are supporting the project. If a project is supported by multiple funders, the applicant may submit only one report as directed by the collaborative.

Funding Criteria

The collaborative funders will consider applications from eligible organizations that are 501(c)(3) exempt or have a qualified fiscal sponsor. The collaborative will consider and give priority to proposals for projects and programs that directly address the impact of policies and actions implemented after November 2016. For other projects serving immigrants and refugees, applicants are encouraged to contact each of the funders separately. Funding will cover proposed activities for a 12-month period. An organization may submit only one application within a 12-month period. A proposal of $50,000 or more to this collaborative is considered a large request. Any collaborative member may choose to fund an application outside the parameters of the eligibility requirements set forth in this document. Members of this collaborative may also choose to fund the applicant organization for another project within the same time period.

Funding Eligibility – what we’ll fund (areas of interest)

Collectively the funders collaborative will consider requests for projects that provide:

  • Legal information/advice, services and representation for immigrants and refugees
  • Outreach and education about policies, programs, services, and preparedness
  • Information gathering, research and analysis on immigration and refugee issues
  • Basic human needs for immigrants and refugees
  • Community organizing, civic engagement and advocacy

Individually, any collaborative member may choose to invest more in some areas than others, but the response to the organizations and community will be coordinated.

COVID-19 Response

The Funders Collaborative remains committed to its original priority of directly addressing the impact of policies and actions implemented immediately after November 2016. However, it also recognizes that immigrants, refugees, and the organizations that serve them are being disproportionately impacted by the current situation; that the pandemic has given rise to yet another wave of racism and discrimination against API and other communities; and that access to safety-net mechanisms may be unavailable to some immigrant, asylum, and refugee communities. 

The Funders Collaborative will consider applications from organizations working at the intersection of responding to federal policy changes and COVID-19. Applications for COVID-19 response will be considered from organizations whose work would otherwise be eligible.

We also encourage immigrant and refugee serving organizations to access all of the other resources available to them at this time. 

Critical Response Fund

The funders collaborative may consider small requests that need a quick turn-around time. The collaborative has established a small fund to respond to critical needs. Broadly defined, critical response means a response needed within 48-36 hours, for small, planned or unanticipated expenses related to funding eligible activities. This may include materials and expenses for education and outreach, training and capacity fees. Requests under this fund cannot exceed $4,000.

Participating Funders

The Collins Foundation | Email: Cynthia Addams, [email protected]

Meyer Memorial Trust | Email: Sally Yee, [email protected]

MRG Foundation | Email: Violeta Rubiani, [email protected]

Oregon Community Foundation | Email: Niyati Desai, [email protected]

Pride Foundation | Email: Kim Sogge, [email protected]