Funders Briefing on Asylum-Seeking Families



As you know, the issue of asylum-seeking families being dropped off at churches, hospitals and other nonprofit locations has exploded in Arizona. Estimates are that more than 22,000 asylum seekers have come through Phoenix alone. We invite you to join us for an Arizona Grantmakers Forum meeting co-hosted with Vitalyst Health Foundation on April 23, 2019 to learn more and strategize how philanthropy could play a role in addressing this pressing issue.


Aaron Rippenkroger, the executive director of the International Rescue Committee, and Connie Philips, president and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest, met with the Vitalyst team to discuss the emerging coalition that is working to help migrant families after they are released from detention. You can learn more about the coalition here.

They said that what has worked well in Tucson and Yuma is setting up a central shelter where services and resources can be consolidated, which is easier to staff and reduces inefficiencies. They have met with the Phoenix Elementary School District and there is a closed school that may be available to use. It’s a 10-acre site with buildings and ample buffer from the neighborhood. They will confirm this within the next week.

Vitalyst is preparing a capacity-building grant to help pull the coalition together more formally. Elisa de la Vara, chief community officer at Arizona Community Foundation, also attended a meeting of service providers, churches, elected officials and city staff. She believes ACF has some funds available to help with printing a common service pamphlet (something they found very useful during its DACA experience).

Rather than each funder doing something separately, AGF members thought it would be a good idea to pull funders together and discuss if anything could be done collectively—or at least if we can coordinate efforts. At the meeting, Aaron and Connie will brief members on the situation and answer questions. Following their presentation, we will hold a funders-only discussion. Vitalyst will record the program for those members who cannot attend. We hope you can join us.

To join in person:

  1. Please park in The Phoenix Plaza parking garage which can be access from Catalina or 2nd Enter through the “Visitor” lane and obtain a parking ticket.
  2. Park in any space, on any level, that is not indicated as RESERVED and bring your parking ticket to the Vitalyst office with you.
  3. Walk through the building attached to the parking garage and exit into the courtyard area.
  4. Building 2929 will be on your right. Go to the far set of elevators, which are marked 12-21, and select the 15th You’ll see Vitalyst when you exit the elevator.
  5. We will validate your parking ticket(s) for free parking.

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