As new immigrants transition to life in America, they face a panoply of complex issues, not the least of which is the isolation that comes with joining a community where few speak their language. At the same time, those who have been in the United States somewhat longer are engaging in an unprecedented level of activism and are increasingly sophisticated in their use of media to share information and advocate for change. As new Americans become more and more civically engaged, their ability to harness the power of media--particularly at the local level--to share their stories and organize has been a powerful tool for change. In October 2006, the Foundation approved renewal of the Sound Partners program to build on the power of this phenomenon, combined with the lessons learned from a series of focus groups conducted with new immigrants about the challenges they face as they transition to life in America. Not only will this effort employ the Sound Partners model of community collaboration to help new immigrants in up to ten communities around the United States address the challenges they face using the power of local media, the lessons learned from the effort will inform the Foundation's strategy as it relates to this especially vulnerable group. It is the Foundation's hope that this program will result in vital community programs that not only achieve change on specific issues that new immigrants face, but that also provides valuable insights about the nature of their challenges and immigrants' priorities and tools for meeting them. Additionally, the effort will support the Foundation's strategic objectives by working at the intersection of health and social factors. More than half of immigrant families live at or below the poverty level, and many are hesitant to access the social services that are available to them because they are suspicious of government and government programs. Through this effort, the Foundation will provide support to the Benton Foundation for technical assistance and direction, and to make up to 10 grants to community partnerships. The Benton Foundation has provided support to the Sound Partners program since 1996, and many of the projects have focused on the needs of new immigrant communities.
Amount Awarded $4,018,264.00
Awarded on: 1/19/2007
Time frame: 1/15/2007 - 6/30/2011
Grant Number: 58665