Immigrant Rights Fund

Brooklyn Community Foundation established the Immigrant Rights Fund in late 2016 in response to mounting uncertainty and fear within Brooklyn’s immigrant communities, combined with reports of xenophobic and racist attacks nationwide, and the creation of dangerous and exclusionary government policies. The $1-million Fund is designed to support both the immediate and long-term needs of immigrants in our borough and across New York City, while strengthening collaboration among immigrant-serving nonprofits.

We are committed to helping Brooklyn’s communities move from fear to strength, from trauma to healing, from division to wholeness, and from uncertainty to action. 

Brooklyn Community Foundation has created similar rapid-response funds in the wake of Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and the Haiti Earthquake in 2010. Our approach ensures that we support the most urgent needs of our communities while planning for a long-term response. 


Our Immigrant Communities

New York City’s immigrant population is at an all-time high, making it arguably the most diverse population in the world. Brooklyn’s increasing diversity reflects the changing face of our country and the strength new immigrants bring to our rich cultural landscape.

Brooklyn is home to nearly 950,000 foreign-born residents—nearly 40% of the borough’s population—who exhibit remarkable diversity across neighborhoods, from Bensonhurst’s Chinese community, to Mexican and Dominican immigrants in Sunset Park and Bushwick, to long-standing Caribbean communities in Flatbush and Crown Heights and growing numbers of Bangladeshi residents in East New York and Kensington. Immigrants are also significant contributors to Brooklyn’s economic strength—nearly 50% of all Brooklyn businesses are immigrant-owned.

There are upwards of 300,000 Muslims in Brooklyn, with Arab immigrants among the fastest growing immigrant groups in New York City. Recent figures indicate that over 40% of new Arab immigrants have settled in Brooklyn neighborhoods.

It is estimated that 172,000 immigrants in Brooklyn are undocumented—accounting for 7% of Brooklyn’s total population. Among U.S. counties, Brooklyn ranks 9th in total undocumented residents. Over a quarter of undocumented immigrants in the borough live with a child who was born in the United States, highlighting the potential impact deportations may have on separating parents from their children.


Fund Strategy

Through the Immigrant Rights Fund, the Foundation supports neighborhood-based, immigrant-led organizations working on the frontlines to address legal, safety, and civil rights issues. 

Immediate Response Grants

In January 2017, the Foundation announced nearly $100,000 in grants to support the critical response of 8 local nonprofits to challenges triggered by the Trump Administration’s Executive Order on immigration. These Immediate Response grants support the following organizations that are defending the liberties of immigrant individuals and families as well as promoting the safety and strength of our communities: 

  • New York Immigrant Coalition
  • Arab American Association of New York
  • Arab American Family Support Center
  • Black Alliance for Just Immigration
  • Brooklyn Defender Services 
  • DRUM, Desis Rising up and Moving
  • Make the Road New York
  • Jews for Racial and Economic Justice

Read about each of these new grants

Sustained Response Grants

These new grants are aimed at long-term challenges, including increased threats of deportations that would separate parents and children, as well as continued funding for advocacy and organizing. 

  • $20,000 for the Sanctuary Families Project at the Center for Family Life (CFL), which supports immigrant parents at risk of deportation and mobilizes community allies to create long-term child care plans for children remaining in the United States. CFL will work with up to 100 immigrant families in Sunset Park and will recruit, train and certify a cohort of neighborhood-based kinship and foster parents who will be prepared to serve as sanctuary families for children. Funding will also support a partnership with the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) to develop and distribute 1,000 “Visual Guardianship Guides” that illustrate guardianship choices for immigrant families.
     
  • $20,000 to Faith in New York to mobilize local congregations in support of immigrant rights. Key strategies include the Faith Over Fear Emergency Response Network, which provides immediate legal aid, mobilizes supporters in the faith community, and builds awareness of mass deportation issues; monthly trainings for congregations that have offered their houses of worship as a safe sanctuary for immigrants in case of large-scale deportations; Know Your Rights workshops for immigrant communities; and a civic engagement strategy to mobilize support for an immigrant justice platform, including a municipal voting campaign, candidate forums, boot camps for congregations and faith leaders, and voter outreach.
     
  • $10,000 to New Sanctuary Coalition (NSC) to support immigrant-led efforts that mobilize interfaith congregations to defend families facing deportation, build awareness of unjust immigration policies, and serve as witnesses in immigration court and detention centers. NSC is developing a cohort of Sanctuary Congregations in Brooklyn and citywide to provide housing for individuals and families at risk of deportation while they pursue a stay of deportation or suspension of their case entirely. Funds also support leadership trainings, ongoing legal clinics, and a rapid response volunteer network of immigrants and allies.
     
  • $10,000 for Safe Horizon’s Immigration Law Project (ILP) to expand services to immigrant victims of crime, abuse, domestic violence, trafficking, and torture in Brooklyn—particularly those with complex immigration matters, at risk of being removed from the United States. Funds will also increase training for frontline staff at community-based social service agencies so that they are informed on current immigration policies and practices. This includes staff at local hospitals, schools, shelters, and places of worship.

Action Fund Grants

The Action Fund of the Immigrant Rights Fund is designed to support ongoing civil resistance and organizing efforts—including community-building, public education, action planning, and event logistics—with grants up to $2,500.

  • $2,500 to the Black Alliance for Just Immigration for May Day 2017 activities, including an event highlighting issues affecting Black immigrant workers.
     
  • $2,500 to New York Communities for Change for a new member-led community defense network in Flatbush to protect Latinx, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern immigrants from deportations, police brutality, and mass incarceration.
     
  • $2,500 to OCA-NY Asian Pacific American Advocates for an immigrant forum to assist Asian immigrant communities with legal advice and immigration fraud alert in Sunset Park.
     
  • $2,500 to The New American Leaders Project for a two-day training for 120 first- and second-generation immigrant women and women of color in New York City that demystifies the political process and emboldens them to run for public office.
     
  • $2,500 to Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services for four free "Know Your Rights" workshops in East New York designed to empower immigrants and address fears by providing accurate legal education in Bengali.
 

Ongoing Funding Opportunities

Sustained Response grants are made on a rolling basis to immigrant-serving organizations to support organizing, mental health services, community safety, and legal services. These grants, awarded quarterly, will range from $10,000 to $25,000.

Details on the Action Fund and Sustained Response grants are provided at www.bcfny.org/apply


Pledge your support to Brooklyn’s immigrant communities:

Give to the Immigrant Rights Fund today

100% of contributions will directly support vital immigrant-serving nonprofits