COVID-19  Mexico Project #34181

Support Vulnerable Families During COVID-19 Crisis

by International Community Foundation
Support Vulnerable Families During COVID-19 Crisis
Support Vulnerable Families During COVID-19 Crisis
Support Vulnerable Families During COVID-19 Crisis
Support Vulnerable Families During COVID-19 Crisis
Support Vulnerable Families During COVID-19 Crisis
Support Vulnerable Families During COVID-19 Crisis
Support Vulnerable Families During COVID-19 Crisis
Support Vulnerable Families During COVID-19 Crisis
Support Vulnerable Families During COVID-19 Crisis
Support Vulnerable Families During COVID-19 Crisis
Support Vulnerable Families During COVID-19 Crisis
Support Vulnerable Families During COVID-19 Crisis
Donors visiting children at Madre Assunta shelter
Donors visiting children at Madre Assunta shelter

As the conditions in Central America and many other regions of the world continue to drive people from their homes to the border -- and recent changes in U.S. immigration policy such as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) are increasingly pressuring Mexico to absorb these immigrant populations for the long-term -- it is the Mexican nonprofit sector that has truly stepped up to meet the needs and defend the human rights of immigrants in their communities.

Recognizing the critical role of civil society in our border communities, and following on our grants to cover basic needs in 2018, ICF and the Border Fund is now investing in tools to strengthen and support the local nonprofit organizations in Tijuana/Mexicali and foster collaboration between local leadership, with the goal of developing long-term resilience and systems for receiving an ever-growing migrant population.

On May 17, ICF hosted a meeting for all of the organizations in Tijuana/Mexicali who are working to support immigrants, with the goal of:

• building trust and understanding of one another's work

• sharing lessons learned and collective challenges

• identifying solutions and opportunities to work together

Following on the enthusiasm and findings of the 30 attendees of this first meeting, throughout 2019 ICF will offer a series of capacity-building trainings specific to the challenges identified. Topics requested included mental health and self-care, "know your rights" workshops, best practices for shelter management, and nonprofit management and fundraising.

ICF's Border Fund will also fund locally-driven initiatives to strengthen the current services, for example;

• formal education, job-skills training, mental health services, and other programs specifically designed to meet the needs of both migrant and deported populations in Tijuana

• systems and communication platforms to improve information-sharing/collaboration

• building permanent infrastructure such as new shelters or community resource centers (as necessary)

• research and advocacy for public policy reform • mental health and self-care for first-responders (those who are working at shelters or serving the population)

In honor of International Refugee Day, you can support the organizations offering comprehensive, long-term solutions to refugees and immigrants at our border! Thank you!

A new mural is in the works at Espacio Migrante
A new mural is in the works at Espacio Migrante
Nonprofit Participants in the 1st meeting - May 17
Nonprofit Participants in the 1st meeting - May 17


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Founded in 1990, the International Community Foundation (ICF) is a nonprofit organization based in California, with the mission of facilitating and encouraging charitable giving from U.S. donors to international nonprofit organizations in Latin America, primarily Mexico and the San Diego-Tijuana border region. Through grants and strategic initiatives, ICF seeks to strengthen civil society and promote sustainable communities in the regions where we work.

As the go-to international grantmaker in the San Diego-Tijuana border region, ICF is uniquely positioned to understand and research regional issues, identify strategic partners, and quickly respond to situations as they arise. The ICF Border Fund is dedicated to strengthening key organizations that work to create healthy, vibrant, inclusive communities in the California-Baja California region.

Since April 2018 the ICF Border Fund has supported grassroots organizations responding to the basic needs of vulnerable migrants and deportees in Tijuana, providing shelter, food, medicine, psychological support and legal services. These organizations consist primarily of local shelters, as well as organizations providing legal and health services, including, but not exclusively, Casa del Migrante Tijuana, Instituto Madre Asunta, Espacio Migrante, Deported Veterans Support House, Dreamers Moms/USA-Tijuana, and Friends of Friendship Park. All of these organizations have ongoing immediate needs and continue to be valued partners of ICF.

Recognizing that the most critical action a funder can take is to provideimmediate general operating funding that allows organizations the flexibility to adapt as the situation evolves, in 2019, the Border Fund will support local organizations or collaborations that have the objective of developing the long-term resilience of Tijuana to receive an ever-growing migrant population, through one or more of the following strategies.  The following priorities were decided based on extensive conversations and field research conducted in 2018 amongst local organizations and migrant populations. These strategies may shift in response to changing policies and conditions on-the-ground.

In 2019, ICF’s Border Fund will benefit organizations whose mission or programs align with the following medium and long-term needs;


Interventions to be supported by the Border Fund include:

  • Adult and Youth Job Training and Workforce Development programs;
  • Adult and Youth English language training, particularly for migrants seeking asylum in the United States;
  • Formalized Education Programs for migrant Children & Youth.



Interventions to be supported by the Border Fund include:

  • Mental health/psychological services for migrant adults, children, and first responders working directly with these populations (lawyers, staff at shelters, etc);
  • Mobile Health Clinics and Medical Supplies for the network of shelters.



Interventions to be supported by the Border Fund include:

  • Legal case work and Know Your Rights workshops;
  • Advocacy and Collaboration with government agencies;
  • Training Staff at shelters and other institutions about immigration/asylum laws.



Interventions to be supported by the Border Fund include:

  • Institutional Capacity Building:
  • Hiring a Local Coordinator for civil society;
  • Developing Institutional Policies (i.e. volunteer liability waivers, child-safeguarding policies, etc.);
  • Ongoing Training for staff;
  • Quarterly Convenings between local organizations to share experiences and challenges; discuss and present policy recommendations to government, etc.;
  • Fundraising and Communications support to diversify funding for long-term sustainability (i.e., FIN system, BBCA mapping survey).
  • Permanent Physical Infrastructure
  • Establishing new Shelters or Resource Centers;
  • Upgrades at existing Shelters & Resource Centers.



Interventions to be supported by the Border Fund include:

  • Research or initiatives with the objective of shifting the public discourse about migrants or any particular demographic, in both Mexico and the United States.
  • Communications and advocacy support to educate the public and policy makers on the intersectional causes and impacts of migration policy, discourse, etc.
  • Promote urban cultural life and acknowledge cultural diversity as a source of innovation, creativity and economic vitality.



As the flows of people continue, it is clear that efforts should also be made to understand and support strategies aiming to reduce the displacement and forced migration of Central Americans to the United States, which has led to many of the current challenges that we are facing in the San Diego-Tijuana border region. ICF has existing grants and programmatic partners in Central America, and we are well-positioned to advise and facilitate grants to local organizations in the region. As of early 2019, ICF is investing limited staff time for research about the bilateral development community’s regional strategies and local grassroots organizations who are working to reduce high levels of forced migration to the United States/border. 

Our goal is to help our individual donors and the broader public better understand and respond to the needs of communities in Central America, in order to help reduce rates of forced migration, which will benefit both the people of Central America and the San Diego-Tijuana border community. 




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In the last several months, the International Community Foundation’s Border Fund has supported organizations in Tijuana, Mexico working with vulnerable migrant communities – either seeking asylum or recently deported from the United States. Funds have been granted to Casa del Migrante, Espacio  Migrante, and Instituto de Madre Asunta.

Casa del Migrante responding to the reality that many migrants will not be granted asylum in the U.S. and will likely seek refuge in Tijuana. Since 2016, Casa del Migrante has partnered with local government agencies and universities to offer programs such as high-school diplomas, computer classes, English or Spanish, parenting, financial management and job-skills courses that help migrants and deportees get back on their feet in their new communities. Building on the success of these programs, the shelter has purchased and is in the process of refurbishing a warehouse to offer these services “in-house” to the immigrant community in Tijuana. As of August 2018, they purchased and have been refurbishing their workforce development center.

Espacio Migrante, A.C. is an organization committed to raising social awareness about migrant’s causes and providing legal support to migrants in Tijuana. Since 2016, Espacio Migrante has designed and offered “Know Your Rights” workshops and guides for Central American and Haitian migrants; led a pilot program for the holistic reintegration of deportees; and provide coordination of ongoing policy and advocacy efforts, language and skills classes, cultural exchanges and basic services for the migrant community of Tijuana. With the assistance of donations, the organization recently opened a community center and shelter where they will teach language classes, assist with employment services, and offer legal and psychological support to migrants.

Instituto de Madre Assunta A.C. was the first women and children’s shelter in Tijuana to methodologically provide dignified assistance to women and children who have been displaced after deportation from the U.S. or are migrating from central Mexico. The shelter serves each woman and child that arrive at the shelter seeking shelter and support by providing a safe space to sleep, food, clothing, childcare, and access to legal, employment, and healthcare resources.

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Binational Garden (SD-Tijuana)
Binational Garden (SD-Tijuana)

In response to the family separation crisis that has dominated the news, ICF announced a campaign to support immigrants and asylum seekers in our San Diego-Tijuana border community.

Immigration is at the forefront of our headlines, yet we rarely hear about the impact on our neighboring  cities in Mexico, like Tijuana, where a robust network of grassroots organizations has been supporting migrants in transit and deportees for decades. 

Thanks to the support of our donor community, over the past 8 weeks we have raised approximately $22,000 for two local organizations supporting migrants in San Diego: Casa Cornelia Immigration Law Center and San Diego Organizing Project

Together with the $10,000 in grants from the Latina Giving Circle fund and $20,000 from a major donor, ICF has deployed $52,000 in support of immigrant communities in San Diego! We need your support for the important work that Casa Cornelia and SDOP are spearheading in San Diego. Their work is far from done. 

On the other side, Tijuana's small but mighty network of civil society organizations has been welcoming migrants and deportees and making sure their basic needs are met. And now more than ever they need our help!

Casa del Migrante, A.C.
Casa del Migrante, A.C.


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Organization Information

International Community Foundation

Location: National City, CA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ICFDN
Project Leader:
Lety Martinez
National City, CA United States
$47,459 raised of $50,000 goal
289 donations
$2,541 to go
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