More than $1,750,000 in new funding to support Boston's immigrant communities impacted by COVID-19
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced over $1,750,000 in funding for the Boston Immigrant COVID-19 Collaborative (BICC) to provide direct emergency relief to the immigrant community. The City of Boston assisted in initially creating and seeding the BICC, with $650,000 in funding from the Boston Resiliency Fund. In total, $2.4 million has been raised to support the BICC, allowing the Collaborative to expand beyond the 20,000 immigrant families in Boston they have already served.
"Boston's immigrants are our essential workers and will help fuel our economic recovery," said Mayor Walsh. "I am grateful for these generous donations that help us build upon our work to support the critical services being led by the Boston Immigrant COVID-19 Collaborative."
With the support of the City of Boston and the Boston Resiliency Fund, the Boston Immigrants COVID-19 Collaborative was formed to bring together 11 immigrant-serving organizations to provide direct emergency relief and culturally competent food to immigrant families. Partners include: Rian Immigrant Center (fiscal sponsor), Agencia ALPHA, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Brazilian Worker Center, Centro Presente, Immigrant Family Services Institute, Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Center for Collaborative Education (BINcA), Caribbean Youth Club, Sociedad Latina, and ICNA Relief. In this phase II of funding led by Klarman Family Foundation and Open Society Foundations, BICC has grown beyond Boston, including two new organizations - Centro Comunitario de Trabajadores in New Bedford and Casa del Trabajador in Framingham and Milford. The BICC released its Phase I report today, outlining the impact the Collaborative has already had in the lives of many immigrants.
The Boston-based Klarman Family Foundation, an early contributor to the Boston Resiliency Fund, is providing a $1M contribution. In addition to providing direct relief to families, this funding will help BICC reach more families across the Greater Boston region.
"Immigrant families are among those disproportionately affected by this crisis. As a family foundation rooted in Boston, we strive to make our region healthier for all," said Beth Klarman, President and Trustee, The Klarman Family Foundation. "We are proud to stand with this vibrant network of neighbors and partners. BICC is a model for how diverse groups can come together to support each other, foster connections and build resiliency-now and in the future."
The Open Society Foundations (OSF) is providing a $600,000 contribution. The money will offer direct relief payments to families hardest hit financially by the crisis and is part of a $130 million global initiative by OSF to combat the effects of COVID-19 in vulnerable communities in the U.S. and around the world.
"On behalf of the immigrant families we support, we thank the Klarman Family Foundation, Open Society Foundations, the other Foundations, and Mayor Walsh for recognizing the need to assist those most vulnerable in our community," said BICC Steering Committee members Patricia Sobalvarro, Natalicia Tracy and Ronnie Millar. "Their partnership has equipped our partner organizations to support more than 20,000 immigrants strategically, efficiently and with cultural understanding. Supporting families with food and basic needs is not charity - it is a human rights issue - and BICC stands in solidarity with immigrant families through this COVID-19 crisis."
"We're proud to partner with the Boston Resiliency Fund to provide support to undocumented immigrants and other vulnerable workers on the front lines of this pandemic," said Patrick Gaspard, president of the Open Society Foundations. "The pandemic has revealed for all to see who our essential workers are. They are stacking our supermarket shelves, caring for our elderly, providing childcare for first responders. Yet, in far too many cases they have been left out of federal relief packages. We commend the Mayor of Boston for recognizing their contribution to his city, and for his steadfast support for these essential workers at this difficult time."
Additional donations have been provided by the United Way, the Cradle to Career Grants Program, managed by the Philanthropic Initiative, Dan & Penny Fireman and the Paul & Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation and the Tomfohrde Foundation.
"As we focus on helping our communities and our economy recover from this crisis, we must stand with the residents of our City who have been on the front lines of the pandemic and who are among our most vulnerable," said Michael K. Durkin, President and Chief Executive Officer at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. "United Way is proud to partner with Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston to award relief funding to the Boston COVID-19 Collaborative to support immigrant families, especially those who have not had access to as many other sources of support. To date United Way has awarded more than $2M in funds to support organizations specifically focused on serving immigrants and newcomers."
The Mayor's Office for Immigrant Advancement (MOIA) has led an interagency effort to provide Boston's immigrant communities with support and resources since Boston has been impacted by COVID-19. Boston.gov/immigrants continues to be updated with new resources and MOIA has held webinars with organizations, leaders, and multilingual media outlets to both provide information and understand community challenges. Most City services have been made available to all Boston residents, regardless of immigration status, including adult and youth meal sites, Pandemic-EBT, and COVID-19 health care.
Since launching in March, the Boston Resiliency Fund has raised $30.8M and distributed $18.5M to 214 community-based organizations, providing millions of dollars in additional funding to organizations that serve Boston's immigrant population. To learn more about Boston Resiliency Fund grants, visit boston.gov/brf.