Immigrant Pathways Colorado Passes $100,000 Landmark in Grant-Giving

Immigrant Pathways Colorado (IPC) has given more than $100,000 in self-development grants to low-income, documented immigrants in Colorado, and in scholarships for immigrant students at Arapahoe Community College.

Susan Thornton, Founder and Chair of the nonprofit and former Littleton Mayor, made the announcement of the grant-giving landmark at a meeting of IPC’s Board on Dec. 17.

Thornton emphasized that the ability to give so many grants was remarkable, since the nonprofit is completely community-supported, receives no state or federal funding and has no staff, only a hard-working Board of Directors. She expressed gratitude for the community’s support of IPC and of New Americans.

Since it began grantmaking in 2010, IPC has made grants and scholarships to immigrants from 37 countries, Thornton said. In 2021 alone, IPC made grants and scholarships available to people from Afghanistan, China, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Senegal, South Korea, Tanzania, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

Grants have been for such things as learning English, applying for citizenship, studying to become a doctor, nurse, dentist, dental technician, pharmacy assistant, accountant or engineer, earning a commercial driver’s license, learning auto repair, purchasing tools for work, and much more.

The grants are intended to help immigrants, refugees and asylees build a better future for their families and to help them become more integrated into the community, Thornton said, adding that the nonprofit is preparing to provide grants to Afghan refugees expected in Colorado in 2022.

People wishing to support IPC’s work can make a tax-deductible donation online at www.ImmigrantPathways.org, can donate at www.ColoradoGives.org, or can send a check to IPC at PO Box 401, Littleton, CO 80160.

What difference can a small nonprofit make?

What difference can a small nonprofit — operating without staff but only with a hard-working Board of Directors — make?

A lot!

Immigrant Pathways Colorado is a prime example. Founded in 2009, this community-supported nonprofit makes self-development grants to low-income, documented immigrants. It also makes scholarships available each year for immigrant students studying at Arapahoe Community College.

Since it began making these grants in 2012, IPC has given more than $98,600 to immigrants to help them build a better life for themselves and their families. And the ability to make these grants comes completely from the community!

IPC receives no state or federal funding, just donations from the community and grants from organizations such as FirstBank, Littleton Rotary Foundation, Spring International Language Center, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the Credit Union of Colorado Foundation.

You can help IPC make important self-development grants and scholarships by donating at www.ImmigrantPathways.org, by donating at any time of the year at www.ColoradoGives.org, or by making a direct deposit via Zelle.

TO BUILD A DIVERSE AND THRIVING BUSINESS, EMBRACE IMMIGRANTS

Anda Gansca is an immigrant from Romania, who came to the U.S. 14 years ago to attend Standford University. Since then, she has co-founded a tech company – Knotch — built a team of more than 100 people and created a category of software and products that did not exist before the company invented it.

She says it hasn’t been a cakewalk. Simply getting a visa required a lot of time, multiple people vouching for her in front of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and financial assistance from early supporters who believed in our concept despite the risk of losing their investment..

She has faced similar hurdles in hiring other immigrants to build the company. A visa transfer can take anywhere from 30 to 45 days. A new visa can take two to three months. Legal fees can range anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000.

Despite these hurdles, immigrants comprise more than 20 percent of her company’s workforce. She says they are an indispensable asset to the company — and to other employers — for several reasons.

Immigrants are risk takers.  Ms. Gansca says that every immigrant she knows has made an immense leap of faith by leaving their home country, their families and everything they know to come to the U.S. Leaping out of ones comfort zone to see what else is out there creates a strong-willed and determined person.

Immigrants have diverse perspectives. Varied voices and backgrounds challenge the status quo, which leads to the development of innovative technologies.

Immigrants are change agents. Immigrants not only can handle change but also embrace and thrive in it.

Immigrants can see new possibilities. Immigrants have the ability to view the American market as both outsiders and insiders.

Immigrants have a strong work ethic. Just as immigrants were motivated to leave their countries to explore opportunities in the U.S., they are motivated to take full advantage of those opportunities by pouring their energies into their work.

Ms. Gansca highlighted some of these benefits last fall in a campaign called “Opportunity Makers,” a series of interviews and podcasts profiling 15 immigrant executives. It debunked the narrative that immigrants take opportunities away from Americans. More often than not, it found, the immigrant community actually creates opportunities, with their diverse voices and perspectives.

Credit: The Expert, April 30, 2021

Assistance for International Professionals

Did you know that more than two million immigrants and refugees with a college degree or higher are unemployed or underemployed?

That is why Immigrant Pathways Colorado’s valuable partner, Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning, is joining IMPRINT, a national coalition working to advance policies that promote career pathways for immigrants and refugees with international credentials.

The partnership complements Spring Institute’s Colorado Welcome Back Program for international medical graduates.

Read about Rohullah’s journey to become an RN in this country at www.immigrantpathways.org.

Large Increase in Fees for Citizenship

The U.S. Department of Security is planning to greatly increase the cost to immigrants applying for citizenship or for a Green Card (work permit).  In addition, for the first time ever in the U.S., there will be  a fee for those applying for asylum.

The cost for a citizenship application, which will go up on October 2, will be $1,170, up 80-plus percent. The cost to apply for a Green Card will rise 83 percent, to $1,140, plus a 51% increase in cost for children. In addition, fee waivers for low-income immigrants are being eliminated.

Many immigrants who are eligible to become citizens are unable to pay for an immigration lawyer to help with their applications, and many will be unable to pay these increased fees.

Immigrants: Essential Health Care Workers

A study by the New American Economy shows that across the U.S., 16.5% of all health care providers are immigrants!

  • Physicians: 28.7% immigrants
  • Surgeons: 19.7% immigrants
  • Registered Nurses: 15.7% immigrants
  • Psychiatrists: 32% immigrants
  • Lab Technicians: 19.6% immigrants
  • Respiratory Therapists: 13.6% immigrants
  • Home Health Aides: 36.5% are immigrants.

Many other immigrants work in housekeeping at hospitals and elsewhere, helping to keep the virus at bay; they are also considered “essential workers.”

Even before COVID-19, there was a severe shortage of health care providers in the U.S.  Here’s a cheer for the immigrants who are risking their own safety to keep us safe!

Key Lessons in Strategic Giving

Adapted from the work of philanthropic strategist Bruce DeBoskey, JD

Go deep, not wide

DeBoskey says that too many donors adopt the “peanut butter” approach to giving – spreading charity thinly across a variety of causes and nonprofits. He believes that donors benefit when they focus deeply on a few carefully selected causes.

Support smaller nonprofits

Many large nonprofits do great work, DeBoskey says, but they are often already well-funded and deeply endowed. Gifts to smaller “grass roots” organizations, in contrast, can make a big difference.

Start now and give boldly

DeBoskey says there is no better time to give than right now. Many people wait until their later years to start giving. In the meantime, philanthropy could have been playing a meaningful role in your life.

Give to repair the world

Philanthropy is a “powerful tool to repair the world,” while also helping donors find more purpose in their lives, DeBoskey says. Philanthropy is “inherently optimistic,” he notes, reflecting the “deeply held belief that we can have a positive impact on stubborn society issues and the lives of others.”

Through giving to nonprofits, you can make a difference, promote change and improve your community.

To learn more, go to www.visitdeboskeygroup.com.

Refugees from Syria

According to Amnesty International, 12 million Syrians have fled their homes in fear. Half of them are children and more than five million of them have left the country and become refugees. Today, 99% of Syrians are held in just five countries:

Turkey – more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees

Lebanon – 949,000

Jordan – 672,000

Iraq – 253,000

Egypt – 133,000

The refugee resettlement process is lengthy, extremely detailed and very safe. Only those Syrian refugees registered by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and identified as being particularly at risk are considered for U.S. resettlement. Syrians go through more security screenings than other refugees before allowed to travel to the U.S.

Amnesty International says there are approximately 225 million refugees – people fleeing their homes because of war, armed conflict, violence, etc. – across the globe.

Immigrants Filling Long-Term Care Jobs

A new study published in Health Affairs finds that immigrants make up nearly 1 in 4 workers in the long-term care sector, and over 25 percent of direct care workers (Yusra Murad, writing in Morning Consult). “Millions of Americans rely on direct care workers, such as nurse aides, home health aides and personal and home care aides, for daily assistance. There was a demand for roughly 2.3 million workers in 2015, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, and as the population ages, that is expected to inflate to 3.4 million by 2030.