Kalyan Kanuri [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

August 6, 2019; Daily Democrat (Woodland, CA)

A contemporary funder using a trendy model to raise money has come to the table to work with an 80-year-old, $2 billion traditional foundation to fund desperately needed legal services for immigrants.

Together Rising, founded in 2013, raises money for specific causes—in this case, through crowdfunding. The organization had hoped to raise $240,000 for law clinic fellows, but they ended up raising almost $1.2 million in one day after national news reports of conditions at the facilities where the Border Patrol detains children. They then more than doubled that amount in a week.

Together Rising’s page on GuideStar by Candid is distinctive. It displays a list of the number of followers for its Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts as a part of outcomes, along with funds raised.

On the other hand, The James Irvine Foundation formed in the 1930s as a major stockholder to the James Irvine’s agricultural company, which covered about a third of what is now California’s Orange County. The foundation only funds projects in California; in 2018, they provided $1 million to unite families at the US/Mexico Border.

But the two have joined in their support of the Immigration Law Clinic at the University of California Davis School of Law. Together Rising’s $900,000 grant will fund two legal fellows for three years, while Irvine Foundation’s $600,000 grant will fund the central work of the clinic itself.

Holly S. Cooper co-directs the Immigration Law Clinic with Amagda Pérez. Cooper was an attorney on the 1997 Flores settlement, which established standards for the treatment of migrant children detainees. Cooper, who was part of one of the teams evaluating the conditions at the detention centers, after discovering inadequate water, food, and sanitation at Clint, Texas, told the Associated Press, “In my 22 years of doing visits with children in detention, I have never heard of this level of inhumanity.”

Gloria Goeres, program manager for Together Rising, says the goal was to “expand the reach and impact of the life-saving work they have already been doing [and] help make meaningful change for these detained children.”

The stories of horrific conditions that children suffer moved two philanthropic organizations to come together from completely different directions toward the same goal. More of this, in active collaboratives, is needed.—Marian Conway