WES Mariam Assefa Fund: Opportunity Challenge
The Opportunity Challenge is a joint grantmaking initiative of the WES Mariam Assefa Fund and the Tarsadia Foundation, two funders committed to unlocking potential for all immigrants and refugees. The Challenge seeks solutions to support the success of immigrants and refugees in low-wage jobs and their communities across the U.S.
Economic mobility is not solely a function of a person’s education, skills, or networks. Immigrants and refugees encounter significant roadblocks outside the workplace: lack of access to childcare, transportation, and healthcare, among others. The Opportunity Challenge seeks to:
- Surface community-led solutions that address barriers to economic integration and mobility faced by immigrant and refugee workers in the U.S.
- Highlight how adjacent fields and organizations are linked to and can support immigrant and refugee communities
- Elevate public understanding of the many challenges faced by immigrant and refugee workers, particularly those in low-wage occupations, as they work toward achieving economic stability and mobility
Proposals will be considered in two categories:
1. New Ideas applications pilot innovative approaches. These applications may include:
- Ideas that have not been implemented yet or have only been implemented for less than two years
- Ideas that have been adopted or implemented elsewhere, but would be considered new if it is the first time it will be implemented in a particular community
2. Established Programs applications build on solutions that have already proved successful. These applications may include:
- Projects or programs that have been in operation for more than two years and have yielded some tangible results
- Projects or programs that have been successfully piloted and are ready for launch or scale
- Existing programs or organizations that are seeking to deepen their impact through program evaluation
The Foundations are interested to to hear from nonprofit organizations that address barriers to employment and economic advancement for immigrants and refugees, including those that may be serving other overlooked communities that also include many refugees and immigrants. For example, organizations working in the fields of transportation, labor unions, food services and agriculture, criminal justice reform, the environment, and more – anyone working to support communities that include many immigrant and refugee workers.
Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Impact: Does the project create deep, long-lasting impact focused on the economic advancement of immigrant and refugee communities?
- Vision: Does the project put forth a compelling vision for the advancement of immigrants and refugees that is informed by and responsive to community needs?
- Implementation: Do the project’s leaders understand the key considerations and resources required to successfully execute the envisioned project?
- Replicability: Does the project develop interventions that can be shared with or implemented in other communities?
- Partnership Orientation: Does the organization’s team authentically and intelligently collaborate with partners, when appropriate, to increase the project’s capacity?
- Innovation: Does the project test new solutions to persistent problems, drawing upon lessons learned in other social justice movements or in adjacent sectors?
Note: The impact of COVID-19 on immigrant and refugee communities and the communities that serve them is clear. As such, the WES Mariam Assefa Fund and Tarsadia Foundation have decided to proceed with launching the Opportunity Challenge, the mission of which is now more vital than ever.
Amount: A total of $1,000,000 is available. New Ideas grants may range up to $100,000 each and Established Programs grants may range up to $200,000 each.
Eligibility: Organizations that are:
- Mission-driven; for-profit, nonprofit 501(c)3, 4, or 6; or fiscally-sponsored individuals
- Of any organizational size, budget, and growth stage
- Providing products, services, or supports that directly or indirectly address the needs of immigrant and refugee communities
- Serving communities anywhere in the U.S., including U.S. territories
- Not recipients of funding from either the WES Mariam Assefa Fund or the Tarsadia Foundation in 2019-2020
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