About this event
The state of Washington is home to over 943,000 immigrants and receives the 8th most refugees of any U.S. state. The state’s immigrant communities - particularly undocumented immigrants -were especially vulnerable to the health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, yet they were excluded from federal relief funds and many other formal relief efforts.
Last year, several Washington immigrant rights groups demanded the governor devote more than $100 million in funding for urgent economic relief for the state’s immigrant communities.
The effort was impressive not only for its scale - one of the largest such funds in the nation - but also for being implemented in close partnership with directly impacted communities. Using a participatory grantmaking model and drawing on the expertise of several community-based organizations, the Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund was driven by and for immigrant communities. This model allowed the Relief Fund to reach more than 100,000 immigrants in just a few months, delivering resources to a population often left out of philanthropic efforts. It also allowed immigrant organizing groups to extend and deepen their reach, creating a unique opportunity to build the power of undocumented immigrants and strengthen the state’s immigrant rights movement infrastructure.
Please join a panel of funders and immigrant rights leaders to reflect upon the lessons learned from the WA COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund and how the recent growth of rapid relief funds create opportunities for funders to leverage long-term power building for social change.