Dallas receives $500,000 for immigrant communities impacted by COVID-19

City of Dallas

The City of Dallas Office of Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs (WCIA) has partnered with the Open Society Foundations (OSF) to establish the Emma Lazarus Resilience Fund, a public-private effort providing $500,000 in financial assistance to individuals and families ineligible for federal COVID-19 relief programs. The Emma Lazarus Resilience  Fund will be administered by the Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT).

The $500,000 will be disbursed to Dallas families who have been severely financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, prioritizing those who are out of reach of the federal relief programs, including immigrant workers who play a vital role in the city’s economy.

“Dallas is a vibrant, diverse, and welcoming city,” Mayor Eric Johnson said. “Our people are our greatest asset, and they routinely help their neighbors during times of crisis. As we fight the COVID-19 pandemic, this private fund will help provide relief to the many communities in need.”

CFT, together with WCIA, will select nonprofit organizations with demonstrated track records serving immigrant families in Dallas. The intention is to leverage this initial funding to attract additional funding sources from private individuals and foundations in Dallas.

“About 25% of Dallas’ residents are immigrants and refugees, and WCIA was established to ensure our City responds to their needs,” said City Manager T.C. Broadnax. “This type of public-private partnership with OSF and CFT is critical to support our residents during this critical time of COVID-19. We thank the Open Society Foundations for identifying Dallas as a partner in making financial assistance available to Dallas’ immigrant communities.”

Participating nonprofit organizations will collect non-personal identifying information on individuals provided cash assistance. CFT will aggregate data from partner nonprofit organizations and report to WCIA. Data will be analyzed to inform future emergency response for Dallas’ immigrant residents.

“Immigrants have played a key role in driving Dallas’ economic growth. And they haven’t stopped working throughout the COVID crisis,” said OSF President Patrick Gaspard. “They are this city’s essential workers and Open Society Foundations is honored to support them at this critical time. Our funding is just the tip of the ice-berg. It won’t come close to addressing the need. We will continue to advocate for federal and state funding for these essential workers in times of crisis.”

To learn more about how residents can access Emma Lazarus Resilience funds, or if you are an interested donor, sign up to receive the City of Dallas Equity and Inclusion newsletter by notifying  Sommer Iqbal at sommer.iqbal@dallascityhall.com. To learn more about WCIA’s work, visit dallascityhall.com/departments/wcia/Pages/default.aspx.

“Our team at CFT is thrilled to partner with the City to deploy much needed funds to residents of Dallas who are ineligible for federal COVID-19 stimulus relief,” said Sarah Cotton Nelson, Chief Philanthropy Officer at Communities Foundation of Texas. “Like the City, our foundation has been doing all we can to support our most vulnerable community members during this time of need.  This investment and collaboration with local nonprofits will help support individuals and families who have some of the most urgent needs related to COVID-19.”

The Emma Lazarus Resilience Fund is named after the American poet, whose words, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” appear inscribed in bronze plaque on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

Information on more programs are accessible from DallasCityHall.com/covid19.

  • City of Dallas