The Phoenix Fund for Workers & Communities
Since its founding in 1996, the Phoenix Fund at The New World Foundation has supported grassroots organizing at the intersection of three social movement steams: immigrant rights, economic justice, and the new electorate. The intersection has proven very fertile for both social conflict and social change, as a historic new wave of immigrants transforms every corner of American life.
Our U.S. program has focused on immigrant worker centers and the peer networks that directly serve them. We invest in these organizations because they reach deeply into new immigrant communities, particularly the undocumented, and because they have been major vehicles through which new immigrant leaders and activists can represent themselves in broader social action.
The Fund’s grantees have been on the frontlines of battles against the xenophobic Right, campaigns to secure immigration reform, organizing drives to achieve labor rights, and struggles to achieve voting rights for New Americans.
Many of these frontline groups have evolved into multi-dimensional community institutions that combine service, organizing and policy action. Many have become important partners in alliances to build a progressive, multi-racial electorate in major metro centers across the country.
New World feels the movement for immigrant empowerment is reaching a new stage of influence and potential, after a harsh period of attack and defense that followed 9/11. To shift into pro-active modes, the movement needs a denser organizational infrastructure and greater internal capacity. In 2008-9 Phoenix Fund grants will be made strengthen frontline anchor groups as they:
- Organize the unorganized, especially in areas where new immigrant communities are rapidly growing, as in the South;
- Expand peer-to-peer networks, such as those being established by day laborers, domestic workers and immigrant youth;
- Create strategic alliances, bridging Black-Brown tensions and other racial divides, and strengthening ties between immigrant communities and labor and interfaith groups.
- Launch pro-active policy campaigns, taking the policy process beyond the Beltway around issues like immigration reform, guestworker policy, wage theft and fair labor standards.
- Build a leadership stream from the network of youth activists who have organized for the Dream Act at state and national levels.
- Demonstrate that immigrant voting power can be decisive in the many places where New Americans hold a potential balance of power.
The Phoenix Fund also operates a small grants program to support global economic justice work in Mexico building on the work of the anti-sweatshop movement in the US. This movement is seeking ways to support on-the-ground organizing through human and labor rights campaigns, trade policy, corporate codes of conduct, consumer action, and worker-to-worker solidarity.
For more information, please contact Ann Bastian.