Nonprofit Takeaways on Working with Immigrant Communities

Nonprofit Takeaways on Working with Immigrant Communities

CNE Workshop Panel (l to r) Luz Padilla, Catholic Charities, Ricardo Nuñez, UFW Foundation, Sarait Martinez, CSUMB, Israel Villa, MILPA, Bronwyn Moreno, Hartnell College, Ariadna Renteria, Watsonville Law Center, Kaki Rusmore, Center for Nonprofit Excellence of the Community Foundation for Monterey County

By Kaitlyn Throgmorton

Nonprofits: Immigration & Deportation

A recent Center for Nonprofit Excellence (CNE) workshop featured a panel of six people sharing their passions and their encounters with immigration-related issues in their nonprofit. The panel included voices from higher education, legal counsel, community-focused nonprofits, and large national organizations.

In the room, voices mingled as discussion groups grappled with difficult issues. All were speaking about first-hand accounts of organizations working with communities navigating our broken, complicated immigration system.

The attendees came together to identify the impacts that this issue has on them as nonprofit organizations and staff and find ways to address them.

The rich discussion led to many useful suggestions around four key issues for nonprofits that serving immigrant communities in today’s climate. Listed below are some key takeaways, along with links to a more extensive compilation of specific ideas.

Key Issues & Takeaways

1) Your Nonprofit as a Safe Place (being an ally for immigrants)

  • Respect stories you hear and follow through to create trust-based relationships
  • Clearly communicate that all people are welcome, independent of their immigration status.

For more tips download: CNE Resource for Nonprofits – Safe Space and Ally

2) Mental Health Issues for Providers

  • Go back to your roots, share a roundtable with others who will listen to your concerns and help you work through your stress.
  • Remember to take good care of yourself so you can continue to be a resource for others.

For more suggestions download: CNE Resource for Nonprofits – Mental Health Issues for Providers

3) Adjusting your Program Strategies

To better serve the immigrant community:

  • Listen when they tell you their stories, find out exactly what they need and what they want, and keep that in mind when designing and implementing programs.
  • Learn what other organizations do. Let them do what they do best, work with them, so you can focus on your mission and work towards your vision for a better system.

For more download: CNE Resource for Nonprofits – Adjusting Program Strategies

4) Nonprofit Actions Regarding ICE

  • Take control of the discourse. We all have a voice. It’s now a matter of using it.
  • At the same time, be mindful about your actions and your voice. Learn the legal consequences of possible actions your nonprofit might take.

Download: CNE Resource for Nonprofits – Nonprofit response to ICE

Let’s work together to create a community where all voices can be heard, no matter the language being spoken.

Kaitlyn Throgmorton is a Program Assistant at the Center for Nonprofit Excellence. She is also a graduate student at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies studying public administration.