Sisters of Charity Foundation awards $197,500 through the Immigrant Families Initiative

COLUMBIA—The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina is pleased to announce the 2018 Immigrant Families Initiative grants totaling $197,500 to 13 organizations serving South Carolina’s immigrant and refugee populations.

Immigrants represent nearly 5 percent of South Carolina’s total population and research shows these individuals make multiple contributions to the state’s economy by sharing business, leadership, education, labor and other skills. However, a large number of immigrants and their children experience poverty across the state.

The foundation recognizes the value of welcoming and embracing newcomers who strengthen our communities. Rooted in the mission and core values of compassion and courage, the Immigrant Families Initiative was launched in 2014 to enhance individual and family well-being through grant-making and the creation of strategic partnerships to support organizations that lift families out of poverty. The initiative also supports efforts to build inclusive, welcoming environments for immigrants. The goal of the Immigrant Families Initiative is to improve the health, well-being and economic mobility of first- and second-generation immigrants, mixed status families, and refugees working alongside our grantees, community stakeholders and philanthropic partners.

Funding in the Immigrant Families Initiative category is intended to assist these programs to:

1) boost resources of families living below 200 percent of the poverty line to meet basic needs (e.g. a safe, stable place to live, access to enough food, affordable health coverage, and quality child care);
2) build inclusive, welcoming communities increasing social capital of newcomers;
3) employ two generation strategies to strengthen and support families;
4) improve educational outcomes from early childhood to postsecondary educational pathways;

5) enhance workforce and career skills for family-sustaining employment or entrepreneurship;
6) support DREAMers positioning them for success and next generation leadership;
7) bolster efforts to obtain citizenship, naturalization or other legal statuses; and
8) increase civic engagement to strengthen communities and create social change.

The foundation is pleased to partner with the 13 grantees serving immigrants and refugees across South Carolina:

Hispanic Alliance – Student DREAMers Alliance Program: Funding will support the Student DREAMers Alliance, which is an intensive, six-session intervention, spread out over an academic year, for a select group of high-achieving Hispanic youth of mixed immigration status, who face barriers to higher education. Each session provides participants a space for introspective dialogue and self-discovery and the resources and knowledge needed to unleash their potential, develop resilience, and build their own toolbox to position themselves for success and leadership. This model was inspired by the Aspen Institute’s and Liberty Fellowship’s approach to fostering enlightened leadership. (Greenville County)

Beaufort-Jasper YMCA of Lowcountry – Summer Migrant Education Program: Funding will support a summer camp for children of migrant workers on St. Helena Island. The camp includes educational components focused on math and literacy plus normal camp activities such as swim lessons, library visits, and field trips. This funding will also support the Out of School Youth Program (OSY) which serves young migrants ages 16-20 who have dropped out of school to work in agriculture to help support their family. The OSY program offers these migrants an opportunity to learn basic English and math skills plus basic life skills such as the importance of proper hydration and nutrition, the dangers of exposure to pesticides, and where they can find additional services in the community, if needed. These lessons are given in the evening after a full day of work in the fields. (Beaufort County)

Catholic Charities Office of Immigration Services – Expanding Capacity for Immigration Legal Services Program: Funding will support partial salary of a full-time staff attorney position in the Mount Pleasant office, which will increase capacity to meet the overwhelming demand for low-cost, high-quality immigration legal services and to provide community outreach and education on immigrant issues. This attorney will provide direct immigration legal services to immigrants and assist them in applying for permanent residency, citizenship, DACA, U visas, VAWA self-petitions, and temporary protected status. This attorney will also provide community education for immigrants and service providers serving immigrants on topics such as “know your rights,” changes in immigration laws, and eligibility for immigration programs/benefits. (Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Darlington, Dillon, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown and Orangeburg Counties)

Community Initiatives – The Immigrant Support Initiative Program: Funding will support the partial salary of the medical director, clinic manager, and intake coordinator, who provides clients with the ability to find information, support, and intervention through bilingual case management services and enrollment assistance to address obtaining citizenship, afterschool/summer programs for children, referrals to county food banks, and housing support. This program allows for immediate access to all programs with staff who monitor and guide participants to ensure their specific needs are being met. Community Initiatives directly addresses barriers by presenting service and opportunities to address them. (Greenwood, Abbeville, McCormick and Saluda Counties)

Greenville Tech Foundation – Support DREAMers Attending Greenville Technical College: Funding will support the cost of emergency needs for DREAMer youth pursuing post-secondary education and economic mobility. Emergency needs include things such as text books, tools, childcare costs, healthcare emergencies, rent, utilities, bus passes, and gasoline vouchers. Low income students often drop out of school so they can work more hours and pay these costs. This funding will help these students stay in school. (Greenville, Pickens, Anderson, Laurens, and Spartanburg Counties)

Lutheran Family Services in the Carolinas – Helping Refugees Reach Self-Sufficiency through Employment Program: Funding will provide employment and workforce education services to both newly arrived refugees and refugees who have arrived within the last five years. Specifically, LSC offers pre- and post-employment education, such as interviewing skills, completing job application paperwork and navigating the workplace culture. Funds will also be used to support the agency’s efforts to increase its pool of potential new employers across the state (particularly in the Midlands and Charleston areas) to enable more refugees to find suitable jobs within a shorter time. (Richland and Charleston Counties)

My Amigos Bilingual Education Center – Living Diversity Through Play: Funding will support the purchase of multicultural and diversity resources for the new preschool site scheduled to open for the 2018-2019 school year, plus purchase a smaller number of new materials for current classrooms. Items to be purchased include bilingual and multicultural books, dolls and figurines representing a variety of races, multicultural dress up clothes, and additional bilingual materials to complement current lesson plans. (Lexington and Richland Counties)

Neighborhood Outreach Connection – Sustainable Community Development: Funding will support existing outreach programs focused on education through supplemental learning support to augment skills in reading, math and language arts; health screenings to include preventative health care, proper nutrition and wellness activities; workforce development to ensure children stay in school and graduate on time and that adults have access to English classes, financial literacy public safety, health and nutrition; and community development activities that result in stability, lower crime rates and increased property values. (Beaufort County)

PASOs – Building Stronger Latino Communities Together Program: Funding will support the enhancement and expansion of the grassroots leadership training program for Community Health Workers, which is founded on the best practice model used extensively throughout Latin America and considered the culturally appropriate way of reaching the Latino population and other disadvantaged or hard to reach populations. Community Health Workers support immigrant families in improving their health, education and self-reliance while supporting PASOs mission of building “Healthy Latino communities contributing to a stronger South Carolina”.  Funding will also allow for two statewide leadership events. (Statewide)

Richland Library – Mano a Mano Program: Funding will support expertly trained tutors, comprehensive assessments and integrated progress monitoring to achieve more than an incremental changes for students at the greatest risk of falling behind their English-speaking peers. These funds will also provide support for the parents of tutored students, providing them with tools and skills necessary to reduce language and societal barriers when communicating with teachers and other school staff. Families will also receive support and guidance on how to help their children succeed in school through learning kits and supplies. (Richland County)

Richland School District 2 – Si Se Puede’s “Student Interpreters” Program: Funding will support the Student Interpreter program, which aims to bolster student success through developing students’ professional and academic skills in interpretation and translation. The program also keeps students engaged in school in order to promote on-time graduation as well as providing some program participants with the opportunity to open their own interpreting businesses post-graduation. (Richland County)

SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center – Power of Dreams: Leadership & Civic Engagement Program: Funding will support the development of a leadership and civic engagement training program open to undocumented individuals, DACA recipients, permanent residents, and US citizens from immigrant families.  Focus of the program is to strengthen participants’ civic engagement and organizing knowledge while providing a space to deepen relationships and collaborations. Short term goal of registering eligible people to vote and impacting voter turnout among new and unlikely voters in South Carolina. (Richland, Lexington, and Newberry Counties)

Student Action with Farmworkers – Into the Fields/Hacia Los Campos: Funding will support developing the leadership of young people so they can link farmworkers to services in their communities, and also work in solidarity with farmworkers to advocate for policy change, organize their workplaces, and educate them about social justice. SAF addresses the direct needs of migrant farmworkers, while developing the leadership of young people from farmworker families. (Statewide)

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, established in 1996, is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System. The foundation is committed to addressing the needs of the poor and underserved in all 46 South Carolina counties, and strategically uses resources to reduce poverty through action, advocacy and leadership.

File photo, provided: Migrant workers pick tomatoes at a farm in the Beaufort area.