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ADVANCING GOOD JOBS AND FINANCIAL CAPABILITY

Our 2019 grantmaking begins with just over $3.7 million in the first-quarter grants.
We awarded 13 grants to partner organizations that advance our mission to expand economic opportunity in underresourced communities by supporting organizations rooted in the communities they serve. The Q1 grantees represent four states of our eight-state region, and together they reflect the spectrum of our funding priorities. Here’s a little more about two of our Q1 grant partners and their projects.

An IRCO grant supports financial literacy and skill building that allow immigrants and refugees to thrive.

Portland, Oregon–based Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) will use a two-year $250,000 grant to build financial literacy and skills among recent immigrants and refugees.

IRCO’s mission is to promote the integration of refugees, immigrants, and their Oregon community at large into a self-sufficient, healthy, and inclusive multiethnic society. It has a 40-year track record of designing and implementing culturally and linguistically specific services for Oregon’s immigrant and refugee populations.

Its staff of 500—who collectively speak 98 languages and represent 73 ethnicities—engages more than 31,000 clients each year.

As part of our Financial Inclusion portfolio, this most recent grant to IRCO will support its response to the ongoing need for financial-literacy classes and skill building for low-income recent immigrants and refugees in Portland and in more rural Ontario, OR. IRCO will offer classes to an estimated 495 individuals. The curriculum focuses on incorporating financial skills into daily routines, improving financial stability, using banks and other financial institutions, and developing plans to absorb and weather financial shocks.

“I learned how to read bills and write checks. I understood rent and utility payments. . . . So when I got my first electricity bill, I knew how to work with it . . . ”

— Participant in an IRCO financial literacy class

IRCO has a significant and lasting impact on the people it serves. One participant in a financial-literacy class describes how IRCO’s programs helped her: “At the financial class, I learned how to read bills and write bank checks. I understood rent and utility payments are the most important part of my family budget. So when I got my first electricity bill, I knew how to work with it and what my next steps should be.”

Through a OneAmerica grant, underrepresented communities in Washington state advocate for a more equitable workforce-development policy.

OneAmerica will use a two-year $100,000 grant to expand its workforce-development advocacy in King County, Washington.

OneAmerica’s goal is to improve opportunities for underrepresented communities to have a strong voice in the workforce-reform process by directly engaging policy makers with equitable solutions.

The City of Seattle and King County are in the process of reimagining their Workforce Development Council to effectively meet the needs of underrepresented communities. This crucial moment of change creates an opportunity for OneAmerica to advocate for the perspectives of people of color, including immigrant and refugee populations.

OneAmerica offers organizing and leadership development in lower-income and refugee communities; encourages civic engagement to build the political power of those communities; and helps build multiracial coalitions that cross sectors and overcome barriers to effective political engagement by underrepresented communities.

The OneAmerica grant aligns with our Work Opportunity portfolio and our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). OneAmerica will use grant funds to shape and implement a strategy to organize community members affected by King County’s workforce-development policies. The goal is to improve opportunities for underrepresented communities to have a strong voice in the workforce-reform process by directly engaging policy makers with equitable solutions.