The Boston Foundation enhances commitment to immigrant rights, joins Greater Boston Immigrant Defense Fund collaborative

Total support for immigrant rights efforts in 2017 exceeds $400,000

September 12, 2017

Boston – The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, today announced it had pledged support as a funder to the Greater Boston Immigrant Defense Fund, a public-private partnership and funding collaborative that seeks to strengthen the Greater Boston area’s capacity to protect and defend its many immigrant communities, refugees, and temporary status holders by increasing education and access to legal services.

The fund was announced this afternoon at a Boston City Hall news conference featuring Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and representatives of a dozen lead partners including the Boston Foundation. Other partners include the Boston Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement, Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, the Barr Foundation, the Hyams Foundation, the Fish Family Foundation, the Herman and Frieda L. Miller Foundation, the Klarman Family Foundation, and corporate funders, Foley Hoag and Mintz Levin.

The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation will serve as the fiscal sponsor for the fund, which is made possible by Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR), a national network of foundations working on issues related to immigrant integration, as well as by contributions from local philanthropic, corporate and legal partners.

“At a time when the justice scales seem to be weighted against those with immigrant status, it is inspiring to see so many rally to ensure that these residents get the legal support they need,” said Orlando Watkins, Vice President of Programs at the Boston Foundation. “For thousands of people, many of whom have been here since they were young children, who today live in fear and uncertainty, we hope this inspires and strengthens them to persevere in difficult times.”

The Foundation’s support for the Greater Boston Immigrant Defense Fund is the latest in well over $400,000 in discretionary grants made to organizations focused on immigrant rights. The grant making is part of the Foundation’s concerted effort to ensure equal rights and protections for all Greater Boston residents, as part of our mission to sustain a vital, prosperous city and region, where justice and opportunity are extended to everyone.

Other recipients so far in calendar year include:

Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition
Irish International Immigration Center
African Community Economic Development of New England (ACEDONE)
Student Immigrant Movement (fiscal sponsor Center for Labor Education & Research)
Chinese Progressive Association
United for a Fair Economy
Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice
International Institute of New England
Greater Boston Legal Services - Asian Outreach Unit (AOU)
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Mas Boston Society (Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center)



The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the largest community foundations in the nation, with net assets of some $1 billion. In 2016, the Foundation and its donors paid $100 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of more than $107 million. The Foundation is proud to be a partner in philanthropy, with more than 1,000 separate charitable funds established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. The Boston Foundation also serves as a major civic leader, think tank and advocacy organization, commissioning research into the most critical issues of our time and helping to shape public policy designed to advance opportunity for everyone in Greater Boston. The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), a distinct operating unit of the Foundation, designs and implements customized philanthropic strategies for families, foundations and corporations both here and around the globe. For more information about the Boston Foundation or TPI, visit or call 617.338.1700.