Hispanics in Philanthropy COVID-19 Rapid Response Migration Fund- Funder Note

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Hispanics in Philanthropy COVID-19 Rapid Response Migration Fund- Funder Note

Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) invites our members to contribute to our COVID-19 Rapid Response Migration Fund, which will provide emergency mini-grants to frontline organizations responding to the immediate needs of migrants and refugees to respond to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fund will support HIP’s current Migration and Forced Displacement grantees and other organizations nominated by HIP’s current funders and partner organizations. These mini-grant funds will help bring front-line migrant serving organizations the resources they need to develop and launch emergency protocols, cover unexpected costs due to office closures or disrupted revenue streams, shift their service provisions, and address other unforeseen impacts of the ongoing pandemic.

Impact of COVID-19 

HIP’s migration and forced displacement grantee partners are at the front lines of supporting migrants along the Central America, Mexico and U.S. migrant corridor, and are already experiencing direct impact from the rapidly escalating pandemic. From conversations with partners, HIP has learned that service providers across the region are facing:

  • Barriers and unexpected costs in the delivery of services, including the quarantining of staff and limited services due to office closures, as well as facing the need for fast-tracked applications and increased fees to continue legal and social services, and continuing to protect migrants from deportations or prolonged detention under these circumstances.
  • Lack of Internal Protocols for Stemming Disease Spread. As even large international groups such as Doctors Without Borders are working on creating internal protocols on this issue, many grassroots organizations are starting from scratch. Information-sharing of best practices will be key in the coming months as both migrant detention centers and encampments brace for what is seen as the inevitable arrival and spread of COVID-19. Partners in Mexico, where thousands of migrants are currently estimated to be in camps awaiting legal proceedings in the United States, have also expressed concern that the government response in Mexico will be too little too late: as of March 13, 2020 the Mexican Federal government has yet to adopt significant response measures; it is believed there are many more cases than have been officially identified, due to limited government will and capacity to aggressively respond. 
  • Dramatic shifts indirect social and legal services and demands for those services; including lockdowns and restrictions to services in migrant shelters, encampments and detention centers in the U.S. and in Mexico; or otherwise limitations to emergency health and medical services. 
  • Increased immigration enforcement and deportations, continued en-masse court proceedings, delays in immigration and asylum procedures, and other policy changes as a result of efforts to contain COVID 19. This trend is particularly dangerous as high volumes of deportations back to Central America are further heightening the risk of spreading the disease throughout the region. 
  • Organizations’ unexpected costs to cover additional paid leave and child care support and other direct and overhead costs for organizations and staff.
  • Need to launch new legal suits to protect the human rights of those in quarantine, such as the right to food and water, and other legal issues that may arise.
  • Direct trauma and other impacts on healthcare workers and service centers.
  • Increased xenophobia and racism against immigrants as scapegoats or otherwise incorrectly seen as perpetrators of the spreading of COVID-19 that may serve to severely limit migrants’ access to healthcare or otherwise lead to increased enforcement, harassment, and discriminatory practices. (Grantee partners are advocating for policies similar to that of Costa Rica, which recently announced that it will provide COVID-19 treatment for all confirmed cases in the country, regardless of migration status or insurance coverage.)

HIP’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Migration Fund will provide grantee organizations with the additional financial capacity to begin to respond to the above-outlined challenges as fast as possible.

HIP’s Response and Call to Funders

In response to these current and anticipated challenges, HIP is offering rapid response grants to offset unexpected costs incurred for disruptions to operations as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak as described above. HIP will be funding current grantees from our Migration and Forced Displacement program (as well as a limited number of organizations nominated by HIP’s current funders or partner organizations) who are at the frontlines of providing direct humanitarian, social and legal services to migrants, as well as advocacy and narrative shift work. As HIP’s grantee partners span the migrant corridor, they are working to protect migrant rights at all points of the migration process—from transit to arrival or reintegration.

HIP will use existing grantmaking funds to offer our current grantees the opportunity to apply for a maximum of $15,000 through a short written or voice message needs assessment. HIP will respond to rapid response grant requests within a week of receiving requests and will offer the opportunity on an ongoing basis until at least May 1, 2020.

HIP has committed $200,000 to the COVID-19 Rapid Response Migration Fund and invites you to help us offer support to all our partners doing critical work on the ground. Additional funding matches to our emergency grantmaking fund will allow us to offer flexible grants to organizations so they can run sustainably and effectively during this time of crisis...

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