Immigrant Rights Fund

Brooklyn Community Foundation established the Immigrant Rights Fund in late 2016 in response to mounting uncertainty and fear within Brooklyn’s immigrant communities, combined with reports of xenophobic and racist attacks nationwide, and the creation of dangerous and exclusionary government policies. The $1-million Fund is designed to support both the immediate and long-term needs of immigrants in our borough and across New York City, while strengthening collaboration among immigrant-serving nonprofits.

We are committed to helping Brooklyn’s communities move from fear to strength, from trauma to healing, from division to wholeness, and from uncertainty to action.

Our Immigrant Communities

New York City’s immigrant population is at an all-time high, making it arguably the most diverse population in the world. Brooklyn’s increasing diversity reflects the changing face of our country and the strength new immigrants bring to our rich cultural landscape.

Brooklyn is home to nearly 950,000 foreign-born residents—nearly 40% of the borough’s population—who exhibit remarkable diversity across neighborhoods, from Bensonhurst’s Chinese community, to Mexican and Dominican immigrants in Sunset Park and Bushwick, to long-standing Caribbean communities in Flatbush and Crown Heights and growing numbers of Bangladeshi residents in East New York and Kensington. Immigrants are also significant contributors to Brooklyn’s economic strength—nearly 50% of all Brooklyn businesses are immigrant-owned.

There are upwards of 300,000 Muslims in Brooklyn, with Arab immigrants among the fastest growing immigrant groups in New York City. Recent figures indicate that over 40% of new Arab immigrants have settled in Brooklyn neighborhoods.

It is estimated that 172,000 immigrants in Brooklyn are undocumented—accounting for 7% of Brooklyn’s total population. Among U.S. counties, Brooklyn ranks 9th in total undocumented residents. Over a quarter of undocumented immigrants in the borough live with a child who was born in the United States, highlighting the potential impact deportations may have on separating parents from their children.

Fund Strategy

Through the Immigrant Rights Fund, the Foundation will support neighborhood-based, immigrant-led organizations working on the frontlines to address legal, safety, and civil rights issues. 

  • Unified Front: The Foundation will convene immigrant leaders to help us better understand the fears and concerns of their communities, gather accurate and timely information, and provide space for collaboration and shared resources
  • Emergency Grants: The Foundation will provide grants to address acute challenges that immigrant-serving nonprofits are already confronting
  • Long-Term Funding Strategy: The Foundation, in partnership with immigrant-serving nonprofits, will develop a multi-year funding and convening strategy for taking on pressing legal, advocacy, and organizing issues for the long-term

Brooklyn Community Foundation has created similar rapid-response funds in the wake of Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and the Haiti Earthquake in 2010. Our approach ensures that we support the most urgent needs of our communities while planning for a long-term response. 

Immediate Response Grants

In January 2017, the Foundation announced nearly $100,000 in grants to support the critical response of 8 local nonprofits to challenges triggered by the Trump Administration’s Executive Order on immigration.

These Immediate Response grants support the following organizations that are defending the liberties of immigrant individuals and families as well as promoting the safety and strength of our communities: 

  • New York Immigrant Coalition
  • Arab American Association of New York
  • Arab American Family Support Center
  • Black Alliance for Just Immigration
  • Brooklyn Defender Services 
  • DRUM, Desis Rising up and Moving
  • Make the Road New York
  • Jews for Racial and Economic Justice

Read about each of these new grants

Action Fund Grants

The Action Fund of the Immigrant Rights Fund is designed to support ongoing civil resistance and organizing efforts—including community-building, public education, action planning, and event logistics—with grants up to $2,500.

  • OCA-NY Asian Pacific American Advocates: In June 2017, OCA will host "Where Can Immigrants Living in Fear and Uncertainty Get Help?” a forum that brings together elected officials, government agencies, law professional, and community organizations to assist Asian immigrant communities in Brooklyn with legal advice and immigration fraud alert. The forum will be held at the Chinese Promise Baptist Church in Sunset Park.
  • New York Communities for Change: In May 2017, NYCC will launch a member-led community defense network in Flatbush to protect its Latinx, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern immigrant members and neighbors from deportations, police brutality, and mass incarceration—all of which disproportionately affect Brooklyn’s immigrant, especially Black immigrant, populations.
  • Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services: From April–June 2017, BACDYS will offer 4 free "Know Your Rights" workshops for East New York's Bangladeshi community, designed to empower immigrants and address fears by providing accurate legal education in Bengali.
  • The New American Leaders Project: On June 9, 2017, NALP will host “Ready to Rise,” a training for 120 first- and second-generation immigrants in New York City that will demystify the political process and embolden immigrant women to run for public office.
  • Black Alliance for Just Immigration: To fund the organization of a political education session highlighting issues affecting Black immigrant workers—including economic inequality, unemployment, racial discrimination, and the impact of harsh immigration enforcement practices—as well as mobilizing a Black contingent for May Day 2017 that lifts up unique issues facing Black immigrant workers.

Ongoing Funding Opportunities

Sustained Response grants are made on a rolling basis to immigrant-serving organizations to support organizing, mental health services, community safety, and legal services. These grants, awarded quarterly, will range from $10,000 to $25,000. 

Details on the Action Fund and Sustained Response grants are provided at

Pledge your support to Brooklyn’s immigrant communities:

Give to the Immigrant Rights Fund today

100% of contributions will directly support vital immigrant-serving nonprofits