Immigrant Rights Fund

Advocates from Make the Road New York at the 2017 Ban the Wall Protest

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. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the Fund has distributed over $2 million in grants to frontline nonprofits and advocacy organizations. 

Our Immigrant Communities

Brooklyn is home to nearly 950,000 foreign-born residents—nearly 40% of the borough’s population. Immigrants are also significant contributors to Brooklyn’s economic strength—nearly 50% of all Brooklyn businesses are immigrant-owned. 

It is estimated that 164,000 immigrants in Brooklyn are undocumented—accounting for 7% of Brooklyn’s total population—and upwards of 22,000 Brooklyn youth are DACA-eligible. 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

Immigrant Rights Fund supports organizations that are working on the frontlines of change to ensure that immigrants in our borough have the opportunity and agency to achieve social and economic success. We prioritize support for Black-led and other people of color-led organizations, knowing that those who are closest to the challenges faced by our communities are closest to the solutions for our communities. 

Many of our grantees are unlikely to attract the kind of resources large national nonprofits do. While we do make strategic investments in larger organizations especially those that can advocate for systems level change, it is our local giving that is so effective: We know our community well and the organizations that keep it safe and strong. 

As of February 2021, the Immigrant Rights Fund follows a participatory grantmaking model, led by the Immigrant Rights Fund Advisory Council.

Recent Grants

In July 2021, we announced a commitment of at least $1.2 million over the next three years to support grassroots organizations expanding legal rights for immigrants, expanding benefits and entitlements for immigrants, and providing direct services and navigation support for immigrants whose primary language is not one of the 10 designated citywide languages. This is the first round of grants made in partnership with our Immigrant Rights Fund Advisory Council, whose members bring to the table their diverse experiences of being immigrants in Brooklyn — including their unique knowledge of the immigration system — as they review and select grant recipients together. 

  • Caribbean Women’s Health Association*
  • Carroll Gardens Association*
  • Documented
  • Freedom to Thrive
  • Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees
  • Mexican Coalition for the Empowerment of Youth & Families*
  • Mixteca
  • The New York Immigration Coalition
  • Queer Detainee Empowerment Project
  • Sakhi for South Asian Women*
  • Sauti Yetu*
  • Street Vendor Project
  • Surveillance Technology Oversight Project
  • Workers Justice Project

*One-year grants made possible with support from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation

Prior Grantmaking

From 2016-2020, the Fund deployed grants through three funding streams:

Immediate Response Grants

29 grants totaling $380,000 were approved within a week to support organizations that are defending the liberties of immigrant individuals and families as well as promoting the safety and strength of our communities in response to orders from the Trump Administration. Grants were awarded in response to:

Read about each of these grants

Sustained Response Grants

We awarded 70 grants totaling $1,255,000 to address long-term challenges, including increased threats of deportations that would separate parents and children, as well as continued funding for advocacy and organizing. Funding supported legal consultations, coalition building and community organizing, mental and physical health services, political education, workforce development efforts, and community safety for immigrant communities across Brooklyn. Grant amounts ranged from $10,000 to $45,000.

  • Arab American Family Support Center
  • Arab American Association of New York*
  • Asian American Writer's Workshop
  • AsylumConnect​*
  • Atlas:DIY*
  • Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services (BACDYS)*
  • Black Alliance for Just Immigration*
  • Brandworkers*
  • Brooklyn Community Bail Fund
  • Brooklyn Defender Services*
  • Center for Family Life*
  • Chinese-American Planning Council*
  • Chinese Staff and Workers’ Association
  • Churches United for Fair Housing*
  • Community Healthcare Network 
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY)
  • Documented*
  • DRUM - Desis Rising Up and Moving*
  • Emma’s Torch*
  • Equality for Flatbush*
  • Faith in New York*
  • Families for Freedom*
  • Freedom to Thrive*
  • Galapagos Center for New Americans
  • Laundry Workers Center 
  • Legal Aid Society of New York
  • Mixteca Organization*
  • Muslim Community Network*
  • New Sanctuary Coalition*
  • Nurun Foundation
  • Qualitas of Life Foundation
  • Queer Detainee Empowerment Project*
  • RIF Asylum Support*
  • Safe Horizon’s Immigration Law Project*
  • Sakhi for South Asian Women*
  • Street Vendor Project*
  • Surveillance Technology Oversight Project*
  • Unlocal, Inc.*
  • Volunteers of Legal Service
  • Womankind
  • Yemeni American Merchants' Association

​*Indicates Renewed Funding

Read about each of these grants

Action Fund Grants

The Action Fund of the Immigrant Rights Fund was designed to support ongoing civil resistance and organizing efforts—including community-building, public education, action planning, and event logistics—with grants up to $5,000. We awarded 14 grants totaling $39,800.

  • Adhikaar
  • Arab American Family Support Center 
  • Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services 
  • Black Alliance for Just Immigration 
  • The Black Institute
  • Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project
  • Black Women's Blueprint
  • Enlace 
  • The New American Leaders Project
  • New York Communities for Change
  • New York Immigration Coalition
  • OCA-NY Asian Pacific American Advocates 
  • Unlocal
  • Yemeni American Merchants Association 

Read about each of these grants

Support Brooklyn’s immigrant communities:

Give to the Immigrant Rights Fund today

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