Program Areas

Immigrants and Refugees

In Oakland International High School’s Family Resource Center, Parent Education Teacher, Aeisha Penaloa, supports literacy student Martha to read and write the days of the week.Learn More

ZFF’s Immigrants and Refugees grantmaking category takes a regional approach to immigrant integration that is attuned to and reflective of shifting demographic changes, emerging needs, and resource gaps within the Bay Area’s immigrant-serving sectors. The program advances proven program strategies and works in collaboration with our partners to break new ground, innovate, and seed promising new projects.

The Immigrants and Refugees Program is designed to take a comprehensive approach to facilitating the successful integration of newcomers and encouraging their informed and widespread participation in community life.


  1. Immigration Legal Services: Increase access to reliable and affordable immigration legal services and decrease fraudulent immigration practices
  2. Community Education & Outreach: Educate newcomers about immigration regulations, community services, public benefits, and pertinent laws and public policies; educate providers and agency personnel about immigration laws and immigrant eligibility for community services and public benefits
  3. Increase Economic Security: Increase the economic security of low-income immigrants through support of programs that create viable business and employment opportunities and/or educate workers about labor laws and how to protect themselves and others
  4. Leadership Development & Civic Engagement: Equip program participants with the skills and knowledge they need to engage with other residents and with decision makers; teach newcomers about opportunities for civic engagement, participation in decision-making bodies, and community organizing
  5. Policy Analysis, Development, and Implementation: Support efforts of nonprofits to inform policy makers about the local impacts of public policies on newcomers and to work with them to design and implement improvements
  6. Organizational Capacity-Building: Strengthen the capacities of nonprofits and their staffs to carry out their missions
  7. Coalitions and Networking: Support and participate in coordinated funding and implementation networks in order to better utilize limited resources and forge partnerships among funders, practitioners, and public agencies

The following principles guide grantmaking in the Immigrants and Refugees Program:

  • The Bay Area’s large and diverse immigrant population enriches our communities with new ideas, cultures, talents, and energy.
  • Immigrant integration is a “two-way street.” Newcomers need to learn about and adapt to life in the United States, and established residents, institutions, and community organizations also need to learn about newcomers and make basic accommodations that will facilitate their successful transition into local communities.
  • Treating immigrants as full members of our communities strengthens the social fabric and improves the quality of life for everyone.
  • Immigrants and refugees have the same primary needs and concerns as other residents: safe and secure families and neighborhoods, quality education, and affordable health care.

Focus of Current Work
Zellerbach Family Foundation funding responds to the needs of newcomers and to the challenges of the organizations that serve them. Collectively, the grants in this program support projects in the San Francisco Bay Area that build the skills and knowledge of community members and/or project participants, promote fairness in public policies, strengthen the capacity of community-based organizations, and promote better communication and coordination among organizations so that the needs of community members can be met more effectively. Many of our projects will include activities that cut across these categories.

Grantee Highlights
ZFF supports grantees like Oakland International High School for their efforts and their contributions. Read More»

To learn more about other ZFF grantees please visit our highlights page.

For more information, please contact:

Navin Moul
Program Executive