The City of Dallas has announced that 813 families received cash assistance through the Emma Lazarus Resilience Fund in the span of five months.
In October 2020, the City of Dallas Office of Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs selected 16 nonprofit organizations to distribute cash payments to immigrant residents that were excluded from federal safety net programs.
The community-based organizations that were selected for funding include:
- Catholic Charities of Dallas, Inc.
- Center for Survivors of Torture
- Children's Food Ministry
- Community Action Organizers
- Family Independence Initiative
- Heard That Foundation
- International Rescue Committee
- Mi Familia Vota Education Fund
- Open Arms, Inc. dba Bryan's House
- Rosa Es Rojo, Inc.
- The Concilio
- The Stewpot of First Presbyterian Church
- UNT Dallas Foundation
- Wilkinson Center
- Workers Defense Project
Through a partnership with with the Open Society Foundations and Communities Foundation of Texas, $600,000 was distributed among the 813 families through the chosen nonprofits.
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According to the City of Dallas, 100% of the funding went towards assistance for immigrant families that were left out of federal economic relief programs.
The cash payments that families received ranged from $500 to $1,500 depending on the family size, the City of Dallas said.
The recipients came from countries around the world, including Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, Bolivia, Chile, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Chad, Sudan, Cameroon, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Iran, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Syria.
Last year, the City of Dallas Office of Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs applied for the Open Societies Fund grant opportunity to provide financial assistance to individuals who were left out of the federal economic relief programs.
In July 2020, Dallas was selected among 30 cities to receive a catalyst fund amount of $500,000. United Way of Metropolitan Dallas also donated an additional $100,000, growing the fund to a total of $600,000 for residents in need.
The Office of Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs entered into an agreement with Communities Foundation of Texas to create the Emma Lazarus Resilience Fund and begin the process of selecting nonprofit partners who could provide direct cash payments to residents.
This initiative was named after the famous 19th Century poet, Emma Lazarus, whose words, "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free," have been immortalized on the Statue of Liberty.
Through the Emma Lazarus Resilience Fund, many families were also connected with additional support services, including physical and mental health, banking services, legal support, and educational support.
According to the City of Dallas, officials hope that the partnerships and experiences that have resulted from the Emma Lazarus Resilience Fund will create systems that help to protect the health and well-being of all Dallas residents in the longer term.