The mission of the Four Freedoms Fund is to secure the full integration of immigrants as active participants in our democracy. We fund state-based and regional organizations to strengthen them in three capacities: policy advocacy, immigrant civic engagement and defense of immigrant and refugee rights. Our grantmaking strategies across all three areas are to build institutional capacity, strategic collaboration among grantees, effective communications and alliances with other constituencies.
For both its grantees and funders, the Four Freedoms Fund plays three critical roles:
- Investor – Since 2003, FFF has made more than $77 million in grants to 249 grantees working in 39 states, plus national support organizations. Multiple funding streams have helped build organizational and aggregate capacity in policy advocacy, civic engagement, response to harsh enforcement, strategic communications and organizational sustainability.
- Strategist - FFF staff is constantly researching and assessing changes in the immigrant rights field – within specific states and at the federal level. This information is analyzed and shared on an ongoing basis with our donor Steering Committee to ensure that FFF is able to meet immediate needs, fill gaps or position the field for impending challenges. We use our intermediary role to help donors make more informed decisions with their own grantmaking and to help the field respond to opportunities or challenges as they arise.
- Capacity Builder – Several times a year, FFF sponsors convenings that allow grantees to share information and build relationships of trust and cooperation. Additionally, we provide direct, one-on-one support for individual grantees. Through convenings and one-on-one assistance, we are building the capacity of our grantees via a combination of skills building, peer learning and strategizing sessions and trainings. We work closely with grantees to ensure that all trainings reflect what they need.
The Fund’s work is guided by the long-term vision of immigrants and refugees fully integrated into American civic life. In particular, FFF supports state and regional coalitions that work in the three areas above and which connect up to nationally coordinated campaigns and down to grassroots, often ethnic-specific groups.
FFF awards grants to foster a strong, national immigrant rights field by:
- Supporting a coherent infrastructure of effective local, state and regional organizations;
- Providing multi-year capacity-building funding and peer-learning opportunities to benefit anchor organizations;
- Building the communications capacities of key grantees;
- Commissioning research to identify strategic funding opportunities;
- Sponsoring in-person, telephonic and webinar briefings for funders; and
- Operating as a “link tank,” coordinating with other grantmakers and grantee networks.
Grantmaking and Initiatives
Grants are made in geographic areas with sizable and/or growing immigrant populations. Additionally, the Fund offers supplemental support to grantees by hosting convenings and providing technical assistance.
Based on the needs of the immigrant rights field, FFF has incorporated specialized initiatives into its work, including Strategic Communications, Civic Participation, Capacity Building and Enforcement Reform. Since its inception, FFF has demonstrated its commitment and capacity to move nimbly and focus its grantmaking strategy to address the ever-changing needs and challenges in the immigrant rights field and helping to build its infrastructure for the long run.
Current funders include the Carnegie Corporation of New York; Ford Foundation; Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund; Horace Hagedorn Foundation; JPB Foundation; J.M. Kaplan Fund; Gill Foundation; Open Society Institute; Unbound Philanthropy; and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.
FFF co-founders Geri Mannion and Taryn Higashi were named the 2009 co-recipients of the Council on Foundations’ Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking. Read more . . .