Immigrant program gets name change
Initiative offers help across metro area

Littleton Independent, Monday, May 2, 2016 8:33 pm

Sonya Ellingboe

Since it was founded in 2009, the Littleton Immigrant Integration Initiative has expanded its coverage across the metropolitan area, according to the chair of the busy nonprofit. It has offered assistance to immigrants from around the world as they are integrated into our communities via self-development grants.

Grant money has gone for English language classes, tools for work, professional certification, obtaining a “green card” and naturalization and citizenship requirements.

At an April 21 donor appreciation luncheon, a new banner was unfurled. The organization will continue its program of “one immigrant at a time,” assisting people from across the world, under a new name: “Immigrant Pathways Colorado.” The change reflects outreach across the metro area.

The initiative has assisted 36 individuals with citizenship applications, which can cost from $800 to $1,000 — a large amount to limited-income families. They have come from Bolivia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Venezuela.

Currently, they receive about 19 requests a year, some through Littleton’s Immigrant Resources Center at Bemis Library, where the busy agency helps with English, connection to community services and application for U.S. citizenship.

A recent example that chair Susan Thornton cites with pride is the need of a young woman from Ethiopia who had passed her examinations to become a physician, but couldn’t afford to travel to interviews for a residency. She is happily situated in a program in Chicago, thanks to a grant.

Another success story is about a man who needed tools to work. It cost $300 a month to rent tools. Thornton visited the Breakfast Optimists with this need and the man, a translator who had to leave Iraq for personal safety, was able to work. He was here after a call from Joe Rice of Littleton, who was serving in Iraq, Thornton recalls. “He’ll arrive at the airport Friday — can you get him an apartment, find him a job and tools?”

Immigrant Pathways Colorado is completely community-supported. Fundraising events will include an annual campaign, a fall Taco Bar at Platte River Bar and Grill, with silent auction (they are looking for items) and an end of the year “ask” letter.

The April 21 luncheon speaker was journalist Helen Thorpe, who is author of “Just Like Us,” a story of four immigrant girls (two were documented citizens and two were not). Thorpe followed them for six years — out of high school and into college — including to parties, Mexican dance halls … “it was eye-opening to spend time in the Spanish-speaking Latino community.” She hung out with the girls as they dressed for a prom. The father of one was determined to go with her. The girls dealt with two cultural traditions.

Thorpe hopes to help more Americans realize how hard it is to become a citizen. Those here illegally have to return to their country and apply from there — which can take years. “I want people to understand about the undocumented life,” Thorpe repeated, saying she was still closely in touch with three of the girls.


Generous Grant Received from the Buck Foundation

Immigrant Pathway Colorado is proud to announce the receipt of a generous grant of $5,000 from the Buck Foundation of Littleton in September of 2015.  The grant will help cover operating costs and increase the organization’s outreach and fundraising ability.

The Buck Foundation is a family foundation with a commitment to peace and social justice that supports children, youth, women, and minorities. It was founded by Douglas H. Buck and Mildred M. Buck in 1986 and benefits from continuing involvement and support by their children and grandchildren.

Based on the progressive values of the founders, the Buck Foundation maintains strong family values to help those most in need, and to work closely within the community to build a just world. Values of compassion, justice, fairness, inclusivity, and equality are central to the foundation and our philanthropy. The Buck Foundation originated in Colorado and continues strong associations there, although no family members currently live in Colorado.

Jose – Mexico – Citizenship

Over the last 27 years small grants have been made to non-profit organizations, mostly in the Denver area. Some grants have been made to organizations in East Maui, Hawai’i, and to national organizations.  The Buck Foundation makes grants through a responsive, open application process once each year. If you have not received a grant from the Buck Foundation in the past, you are required to complete an online letter of intent by February 15th. Full Grant applications are due on April 15th for those applicants who have received a grant from us in the past and for those new applicants who received an invitation to apply.

The Foundation supports grassroots organizations, often overlooked by mainstream philanthropy, that build a more just society by dealing with issues of human need, education, community development, support to immigrants, and the advancement of social justice and peace among nations and peoples. We support community-building activities, and we favor programs and organizations that are led by and work with people living in poverty, immigrants and refugees and people of color. The Buck Foundation values innovation and welcomes organizations prepared to take risks to address pressing social issues.


Memorial Donations

Recently a supporter of Immigrant Pathways Colorado very generously donated $1,000 in memory of her mother, Helen K. Amter. The donor said that her mother was a wonderful woman and a force behind many social justice activities — similar to activities of  Immigrant Pathways Colorado — during her lifetime.

Do you have a family member you would like to honor with a donation? We’d love to hear from you.  Contact us.




Helen K. Amter, In Memorium