HILSC Provides Funding to support Collaborative and Creative Projects and Organizations

HILSC makes grants through “participatory grant-making”, a model that cedes decision-making power about funding decisions—including the strategy and criteria behind those decisions—to the organizations and communities that a foundation aims to serve. For us, this means that our Executive Committee is the decision-making body for HILSC grants. Seven members of the Executive Committee serve on a Grants Committee that does initial application review and scoring.

We are incredibly fortunate to work with foundations who share our vision for how philanthropy can be done differently, and who trust our process to fund great projects in the greater Houston region. We have developed a list of core values that helps us choose organizations that projects that demonstrate innovation, creativity and collaboration; that make systems-level impacts and close gaps in existing services; and that build capacity within small organizations.

Our process has a reasonable level administrative burden, is transparent for grantees, and is a reliable and empowering process for Executive Committee members. We have made a significant commitment to funding with an equity framework in 2019, investing in our grassroots partners and organizations that don’t always have access to other sources of institutional funding. HILSC funding is limited to organizations who are members of the Collaborative.

Since 2015, HILSC has awarded $4,511,872 in grants to 33 organizations.

Keep reading for information about our most recent rounds of grants.

Supporting Mental Health for Immigrants Experiencing Detention

Funding partner: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (also supporting our Forensic Evaluation Capacity Building Program)

Grants awarded: July 2019

Summary: Detention – even for a short period of time – is traumatizing and has proven deleterious, long-lasting effects on the mental health and physical well-being of children and adults. We also know that trauma-informed, culturally-competent mental health services and care are not easily accessible to the immigrant community, both in detention and outside of detention. The HILSC Supporting Mental Health for Immigrants Experiencing Detention Project supports culturally competent behavioral and mental health care for adults and children who are currently detained or who have experienced detention. Applications were by invitation, solicited through a nomination process. A total of $240,000 was granted to:

  • St. Francis Cabrini Center for Immigrant Legal Assistance (Catholic Charities) to expand the current legal-counseling model established with Catholic Charities’ Counseling Program to provide the much-needed mental health services, such as individual counseling and group therapy to migrant youth served under the PACT+ (Parents and Children Together Plus) legal assistance program.
  • Trauma & Grief Center @ Texas Children’s Hospital to provide direct counseling to youth who have experienced detention through a mobile clinic in partnership with four schools with large newcomer populations.
  • The Alliance and the Program for Immigrant & Refugee Children’s Health (Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s Hospital) to support the Alliance Wellness Center and Human Rights & Asylum Clinic in providing culturally competent counseling and psychiatric services supporting the immediate and long-term mental health needs of adult and youth migrants who have experienced detention.
  • YMCA International Services to support mental health counseling services to adult migrants who have experienced detention as well as group processing sessions for legal services staff.
  • Finally, we will be contracting directly with Sarah Howell (MSW, LCSW) for her work to create a manual of strategies and interventions that can be used by educators, social workers, and mental health providers to support newcomer students who have experienced detention.

Capacity Building Grants for Small Organizations

Funding Partner: Delivering on the Dream Fund (DOTD), which is pooled from Houston Endowment, Simmons Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Open Society Foundation, and JPB Foundation administered by Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR).

Grants awarded: March 2019

Summary: Funding from an equity framework was very important to us this year, and we developed the Capacity Building for Small Organizations RFP to be able to support organizations with limited budgets, staff, and capacity that limit their access to institutional funding. We invited proposals from HILSC partners with annual budgets under $300,000 and that support the Houston region’s immigrant communities with innovation, quality, and inclusivity. These grants support general operations, strategic planning, fundraising development, board development, trainings and capacity building expenses for expanding legal services. We issued $150,000 in three, two-year general operating grants to these small and mighty organizations:

  • Living Hope Wheelchair Association, to strengthen work around health justice, transportation equity, worker rights, immigrant and refugee rights, just and inclusive disaster recovery.
  • La Unidad 11, to strengthen support for the organizations’ community based deportation defense network and girls empowerment efforts.
  • OCA Greater Houston, to support immigration legal services, advocacy, and civic engagement work.

Grant Impact Report: Harvey Assistance for Immigrants

Funding partners: The Harvey Assistance for Immigrants Fund was supported by Houston Endowment, JPB Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, Kaiser Family Foundation, David & Lucile Packard Foundation, The Grove Foundation, and Simmons Foundation.

Grant period ended: May 2019

Summary: Shortly after Hurricane Harvey, the Collaborative established a pass-through fund (HILSC Harvey Assistance for Immigrants) to provide Harvey recovery support to immigrants and refugees, and particularly undocumented individuals. Grants were made through a light-touch application process to organizations who met the Collaborative’s standards of quality of services. Funding could be used for direct assistance for clients who are ineligible for other forms of relief as well as assistance for the staff of immigration organizations. Seven organizations received grants to support individuals and families with services ranging from emergency services and housing repairs to legal services and worker compensation for lost wages due to wage thefts.


Harvey Assistance for Immigrants Grantees

In total, these organizations received $200,000 for an array of direct assistance projects, with a maximum of 10% per grant for overhead and administrative costs.

Total Clients Served: 221 undocumented individuals, 77 mixed-status families, and a total of 325 individuals assisted.

 Individuals supported resided in Harris, Fort Bend, Brazoria, Montgomery, and Galveston counties; with most individuals residing in Harris. Individuals assisted were migrants from all over the world, including Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Pakistan, Nigeria, Rwanda, Jordan, Palestine, Mexico and Central America.

Client story: 

One grantee had a client who had a total of six people in her household, including very young toddlers. The trailer had a mold infestation and the smell of mold was dominating. After talking with the head of the household about mold dangers and mold remediation, she asked a question: “Should I spend the cash stipend you gave me to get rid of the mold or to pay a lawyer to help get my husband out of detention?” A few days earlier, her husband had been detained by ICE. She now knew the dangers of mold, especially for the children, but she was conflicted because her husband was the sole worker in the house, and she knew the children needed their father. She wanted to get a lawyer to help with her husband’s case, but she had children that she needed to make sure were living in a healthy and safe environment. The grantee advised her to use the cash stipend in the way she thought best, and told her about organizations that could possibly help her with her husband’s legal situation. It’s a horrible choice to have to make: mold or legal representation

In addition to the direct client services, The Alliance used their grant to support the establishment of a permanent “Self Care Corner” to support the wellness of its incredibly hardworking staff, most of whom are still helping Harvey-impacted immigrant and refugee families recover. In all, 69 staff members of grantee organizations received wellness and self-care assistance.

Read the full report about the impacts of these grants.