Brooklyn Community Foundation Partners on $2.2M "Welcome NYC" Initiative for Nonprofits Serving Asylum Seekers

Friday, March 3, 2023

Brooklyn Community Foundation Partners on $2.2M "Welcome NYC" Initiative for Nonprofits Serving Asylum Seekers

This week, we were honored to join NYC City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, City Council members, and our philanthropic partners to announce a new public-private partnership to support the organizations assisting asylum seekers and communities in New York City. The $2.2 million dollar initiative, “Welcome NYC,” will fund organizations providing urgent legal services, workforce development, literacy programs, youth services, faith-based services, and food assistance across the City.

“Our immigrant communities are an essential part of the fabric of our city, and critical to who we are and our success,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “From the very beginning, our local non-profits and community-based organizations have stepped up to fill the gaps and shouldered the heroic work of supporting newly arriving people and families. Welcome NYC will help organizations on the ground providing support to asylum seekers, and our communities more broadly, with crucial services. As we continue to advocate for increased federal and state support, the Council will pursue comprehensive solutions to help migrants and all residents access health, opportunity, and safety. I thank our philanthropic partners and the entire Council for their hard work and partnership to launch this new initiative.”

Brooklyn Community Foundation joins Robin Hood Foundation, New York Community Trust, Bronx Community Foundation, New York Women’s Foundation in collectively contributing an additional $1 million towards the “Welcome NYC” initiative. The Council is allocating $1.2 million in Council funding to more than two dozen nonprofit organizations providing crucial services on the ground to families, people seeking asylum in New York City, and local communities.

“As our city continues to welcome a new wave of New Yorkers, we want them all to feel supported and part of the fabric of our communities,” said Dr. Jocelynne Rainey, President and CEO of Brooklyn Community Foundation. “That belonging is made possible through the work of grassroots nonprofit organizations, many of which we support through our Immigrant Rights Fund. Our partnership with the City Council on Welcome NYC will help drive critical additional funding across our city, and especially Brooklyn, to bolster nonprofit lifelines and help them deliver essential services to those navigating uncharted roads.”

Every dollar donated to our Immigrant Rights Fund now through April 30th will go to this urgent fundraising effort, and we mare thrilled to share that this funding will be in addition to $630,000 in grants already committed for immigrant-led organizations through the Fund. 

Since we launched the Immigrant Rights Fund in 2016, we have raised and distributed more than $2.5 million for grassroots nonprofits serving Sunset Park, Bensonhurst, Bushwick, and beyond. We focus on long-term investments in organizations working on legal rights, connecting immigrants to benefits and supports, and providing direct services and navigation for indigenous language speakers. Grants are awarded in partnerships with our Immigrant Rights Advisory Council composed of immigrants, and children of immigrants, who have lived experience with the issues that we address, and who review and select the organizations that we fund. 

Since last spring, New York City has welcomed more than 47,000 people seeking asylum in the United States. More than 29,000 people remain in the City’s care, primarily in 88 emergency shelters and seven Humanitarian Emergency Relief and Response Centers (HERRCs). Local nonprofits and community-based organizations have shouldered the work of supporting new arrivals—from distributing warm, weather-appropriate clothing, food, and basic supplies, to coordinating transportation. Over the past year, Council Members and Council staff have met with organizations and service providers delivering support in communities throughout our city. The organizations have repeatedly conveyed the specific gaps that exist in services, and the need for resources and support to help fill them.

“Every New Yorker seeks information and resources from trusted advisors—whether that’s a community-based organization, religious institution or a teacher,” says Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “The Welcome NYC initiative recognizes the vital role these trusted sources play in the lives of all people, but especially for asylum seekers and other immigrants who also need the benefit of cultural and language fluency to help integrate into and navigate their new home. We commend Speaker Adams, the New York City Council, and partnering foundations for ensuring that our newest neighbors can seek help from people they trust in their own communities. It was clear from the moment when the first buses arrived at the Port Authority that giving asylum seekers a proper New York welcome would take the participation of all levels of government, nonprofits, charitable organizations, and all New Yorkers. Welcome NYC takes us one step closer to truly living up to New York’s potential of being a welcoming beacon for all.”

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