Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina Immigrant Families Initiative Grant Awards

As the national Immigrant Heritage month ends, the Foundation is pleased to announce that it awarded eight Immigrant Families Initiative grants totaling $107,210. These eight organizations serve S.C.’s immigrant and refugee populations.

Immigrants represent nearly 5% of South Carolina’s total population, with the majority coming from Latin America, followed by Asia and Europe. Research shows the foreign-born make multiple contributions to the state’s economy sharing business, leadership, education, labor and other skills. However, a large number of immigrants and children of immigrants experience poverty across South Carolina.

“Given the national dialogue, there is no better time to invest in South Carolina’s immigrants and refugees whose presence is diversifying, transforming and strengthening our state,” Tom Keith, Foundation President, said.  “We are excited this year to expand into new areas for wider impact including providing funding to enhance immigrants English language proficiency, providing access to supportive legal services to assist with citizenship and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and providing employment support for refugees. The time is now to compassionately welcome all.”

The Foundation recognizes the value of welcoming and embracing newcomers who strengthen the communities across S.C. Rooted in the Foundation’s mission and core values of compassion and courage, the Immigrant Families Initiative is dedicated to enhancing individual and family well-being through grant-making, forming strategic partnerships to support organizations that lift families out of poverty, and supporting efforts to build inclusive, welcoming environments for immigrants and refugees as they integrate into S.C., their new home.

“We are thrilled to support these organizations working hard to meet the unmet needs of immigrants and refugees across the state. Their work makes a difference each day in the lives of many who are often invisible or overlooked,” says Rick Mendoza, Board Chair for the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina.

The eight grantees include:

Arcadia Elementary School

Offering ESOL training, basic literacy and GED classes to adult learners while providing free child care so parents can participate in the program. (Spartanburg)

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Columbia

Implementing a site-based one-to-one mentoring program for Hispanic children of immigrants at Arden Elementary School in Richland School District One. Carefully screened volunteer Bigs will meet with their Littles at their school during the school day, for one hour every week to work on schoolwork, as well as engage in other activities such as sports, games, reading and meals. (Richland)

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Charleston

Helping relieve the financial burden of immigration applications for low-income immigrants applying for DACA and DAPA for clients who are at 125% of the federal poverty level and below. (Charleston, Beaufort, Horry, Florence)

Charleston County School District

Providing an intensive course(s) in academic English for graduates of R. B. Stall High School who remain Limited English Proficient (LEP) or lack confidence in their English skills. (Charleston)

Digna Ochoa Center for Immigrant Legal Assistance

Supporting naturalization, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and/or Deferred Action for Parental Accountability applications for immigrants. (Statewide)

Lutheran Family Services in the Carolinas

Building relationships with potential new employers in order to place more refugees in suitable jobs within a shorter time frame, ultimately helping more refugees feel like they are in control of their own lives again with meaningful employment and are better positioned to move out of poverty. (Richland, Lexington, Greenville, Dorchester, Charleston

Neighborhood Outreach Connection

Creating learning opportunities for more than 75 children employing tools that build skills, knowledge, self-reliance and pride through a year-round afterschool and summer learning and tutoring program that help preschool and school-age children overcome the achievement gap common among Hispanic children. (Beaufort)

Student Action with Farmworkers

Promoting leadership development among college students and increase health, legal and education services to migrant and seasonal farmworkers in South Carolina through recruitment, training and mentoring of six bilingual (Spanish/English) interns to reach over 750 predominately immigrant Mexican farmworkers in isolated labor camps in rural areas of South Carolina. (Statewide)