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Barr Commits $2 Million to Immigrant-Serving Organizations

Newest grants in response to COVID-19 focus on supporting Massachusetts’ immigrant communities.

So many of those on the front lines of COVID-19 are immigrants. They are our physicians and health care workers. They are staffing essential roles at grocery stores, pharmacies, and delivery services. In these roles and many more, immigrants are contributing significantly to helping our society continue to function right now. And they are also bearing the risks of COVID-19 in disproportionate numbers.

Indeed, the more we learn about the impacts of COVID-19, the more apparent it becomes that the coronavirus is a revealer and magnifier of inequity. Today’s Boston Globe included a front-page story describing the disproportionate impact of the virus on the city of Chelsea, where the infection rate is the highest in the state.

Immigrants are contributing significantly to helping our society continue to function right now. And they are also bearing the risks of COVID-19 in disproportionate numbers.

It is this reality that informs the Barr Foundation’s next round of grants in response to COVID-19. Today, we announce 23 grants totaling $2 million to the following organizations serving immigrant communities in Massachusetts:

  • African Community Education Program ($50,000)
  • Berkshire Immigrant Center ($50,000, Fiscal Sponsor is the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, Inc.)
  • Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Inc. ($100,000)
  • Brazilian Immigrant Center, Inc. ($75,000)
  • Catholic Social Services of Fall River, Inc. ($50,000)
  • Centro Comunitario de Trabajadores, Inc. ($50,000)
  • Centro Presente, Inc. ($75,000)
  • Chelsea Collaborative, Inc. ($125,000)
  • East Boston Ecumenical Community Council ($50,000)
  • Greater Boston Immigrant Defense Fund ($200,000, Fiscal Sponsor is the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation)
  • GreenRoots, Inc. ($125,000)
  • Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion, Inc. ($100,000)
  • Justice at Work, Inc. ($50,000)
  • Lawyers for Civil Rights, Inc. ($150,000)
  • Massachusetts Census Equity Fund ($25,000, Fiscal Sponsor is Philanthropy Massachusetts, Inc.)
  • Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, Inc. ($150,000)
  • Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, Inc. ($75,000)
  • Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts Education Fund, Inc. ($75,000)
  • Political Asylum Immigration Representation Project, Inc. ($75,000)
  • Rian Immigrant Center, Inc. ($150,000)
  • Sociedad Latina, Inc. ($100,000)
  • Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts, Inc. ($50,000)
  • The Islamic Society of Boston ($50,000)

We know that organizations working most closely with our immigrant communities have been overwhelmed. Deluged with requests as human needs have grown, they have expanded services, even as new challenges to their own organizational health have emerged.

These grants are fully unrestricted and will be paid out immediately. We hope these resources, along with others that are being contributed, can enable these critical organizations to remain stable at a time when they are needed most.

This new grantmaking builds on support Barr was able to provide to many of these same organizations as part of a 2017-18 special initiative, and it follows the $2.6 million in grants we announced earlier this month to a set of community foundations and other pooled funds to augment emergency response funds that have been created in communities across the state.

Barr’s $4.6 million in COVID-19-related grantmaking to date has been oriented towards immediate and urgent needs. While a significant commitment of resources, we know it is dwarfed by the level of need in our communities. This is why we have invested in organizations closest to those communities and most in touch with their needs. We trust our partners to make the best decisions about the use of these resources, and we have minimized process and paperwork, so that funds get to work as quickly as possible. That’s what matters most right now.

We also know that there is still significant work to come. At some point, we will emerge from this phase of emergency crisis response. We will turn our collective attention to recovery and to rebuilding. Importantly, we will also have opportunities to reimagine our communities and, ideally in the process, to address the very inequities that this virus has laid bare.

This will be vital work for the Barr Foundation and our partners. To that end, we are committed to shifting the majority of our grantmaking this year to efforts that enable us to recover and rebuild as we continue to pursue our mission and priorities. We will have more to report on that in the weeks and months ahead, and we remain ever grateful to our many partners for the critical work they are doing in these challenging times.

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