What Immigrant-Serving Nonprofits Need Funders to Understand After the 2016 Election

Since the presidential election of 2016, immigrant-serving nonprofit organizations have been working in a political climate characterized by rhetoric and actions targeting minorities and immigrants. Through the Graduate Student Working Group, Social Protections in the New Administration: Nonprofit Responses Amidst Political Changes, C. Aujean Lee, Rachel Wells, Silvia Gonzalez, and Susan Baik examined how nonprofits have been affected by the November 2016 election and their strategies in this current political environment. Between July 2017 and December 2017, they interviewed 29 staff members from 26 immigrant-serving nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles County, including legal aid nonprofits, resettlement agencies, immigrant rights advocacy organizations, and human service organizations. Organizations varied in geography, size, mission, and budget. Findings were presented at the Association for Asian American Studies Annual Conference in March 2018 and the Urban Affairs Association Annual Conference in April 2018. In addition, an initial report to share findings with nonprofits and local foundations was created. This executive summary highlights major changes, best practices, and how funders can better support nonprofits during this time.

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C. Aujean Lee is a PhD candidate in the Department of Urban Planning. She is the key contact person for the project and will serve as the lead coordinator. She has experience on mixedmethod projects that have examined nonprofits. For example, her master’s thesis examined the effect of the foreclosure crisis on Asian American nonprofits and their clients. For her dissertation, she is using statistical regressions to examine the impact of ethnic neighborhoods on housing outcomes such as default and foreclosure. She also has conducted interviews with homeowners in the Los Angeles region. In addition to her research, she has previously worked for several Los Angeles nonprofits, including the K. W. Lee Center for Leadership, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles, the Koreatown Youth and Community Center, and Japanese American Citizens League.

Rachel Wells is a PhD candidate in Department of Social Welfare with an interest in studying ideas of poverty within the social welfare system and nonprofits’ roles at the neighborhood level. She has experience with nonprofit research through a qualitative case study on nonprofit survival and is currently designing an ethnography on service delivery. She previously worked as a program manager for a Detroit public health non-profit and volunteered with grassroots community organizations in Detroit and these experiences with case management, human services program design and grassroots community efforts have significantly influenced her research interests

Silvia Gonzalez is a PhD student in Urban Planning and the Assistant Director at the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. Her research interests focus on the implications of place and the urban spatial structure on socioeconomic inequality. Previously, Silvia worked with the Center for the Study of Inequality at UCLA and has worked as a researcher and consultant, with nonprofit, community based, and government organizations on projects related to housing, the environment, and gentrification. She has experience working on statistical analyses of nonprofits after the Great Recession for the Center of Civil Society. She holds a BA in Geography/Environmental Studies from UCLA and a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning with a focus on Economic Development also from UCLA.