The Knight-funded Immigrant Participation & Immigration Reform (IPIR) initiative is a five-year evaluation of a broad, diverse cohort of its grantees in the immigrant field across the country. IPIR organizations have included the National Immigration Forum (NIF) and its New America Opportunities Campaign (NAOC); the Center for Community Change (CCC and its Immigrant Organizing Committee (IOC)/Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM); the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) with its Latino Empowerment and Advocacy Project (LEAP); local and state immigrant integration organizations supported by Knight’s American Dream Fund (ADF); Organizations that anchor state and regional immigrant participation networks and other grassroots immigrant organizations supported by the collaborative Four Freedoms Fund (FFF).
ASSESSMENT PURPOSE & APPROACH
This first-year evaluation report tells a story of human and social development, of newcomers joining and strengthening the democracy among immigrants through self-governance, leadership opportunities and civic activity.
- How do immigrants grow, learn and develop relationships in the community when they engage actively in civic life, and what is the role of immigrant civic participation in national movements for policy reform?
- What are the unique strengths – and therefore the priorities – of community organizations that encourage newcomers to engage in civic life and that work in coalitions with one another on policy issues?
- How do local-national networks of immigrant organizations form and grow – and how do they grow best – in movement-building activity toward positive immigration policy change?
Approach: Insights gained through the development and implementation of annually administered surveys and intensive qualitative, ethnographic documentation of selected participating organizations.
Report Partners: This report was produced by Craig McGarvey and David Scheie of Touchstone Center for Collaborative Inquiry.
- Immigrant Civic Participation – 63 percent of survey respondents said one of their major motivations to be active in the community was that "I like being a part of an organization that does good work." 41 percent reported that they “helped or encouraged people to register to vote and/or to vote” in the past year. Another 27 percent “helped people to become citizens,” and 15 percent “became a citizen.”
- Leadership – Survey results reflect a high number of leaders active within participating organizations. High marks were given to organizations for their learning and community outreach practices used to engage immigrants in campaigns on immigrant or local issues, as well as democratic activity.
- Organizational Capacity and Accomplishments – Surveys reflect praise for organizational increases in immigrant participation and extensive and useful working relationships with allies. Lower marks were given to internal administration, fundraising and evaluation.
- Local-to-National Networking – Coalitional strains often exhibit themselves most dramatically in local-to-national networking. Despite the inherent challenges of such efforts, however, IPIR surveys demonstrate that careful, deliberate, and patient work can create networks of mutual support, trust, and positive impact.
To support the continuation the Ad Hoc Working Group on Naturalization that has been a catalyst for bringing Knight grantees, foundations and national organizations supporting naturalization together to increase funding, capacity and effectiveness
To support a naturalization program to increase applications for naturalization by five-hundred thousand in Knight communities over three years
To design and pilot a Camden Early Childhood Research Learning Academy serving children birth through 5 and their families
To help sustain healthy communities in a democracy, we aim to increase the ability of individuals to engage in change. Trabian Shorters on our strategy
As part of our grant making process, program teams work with grantees to establish indicators that will be tracked to provide feedback on project implementation and outcomes. In certain cases, we also partner with grantees to conduct in-depth third-party evaluations to understand the effectiveness and impact of specific projects.