The Tamarack Institute and WES Mariam Assefa Fund are excited to announce that six organizations have been selected for funding by a People’s Panel through the Building Equitable Economies for Immigrants and Refugees in the Peel Region funding opportunity! Through this initiative, immigrant-serving organizations in Peel Region will receive a total of $600,000.
This opportunity was developed as part of a participatory grantmaking pilot funded by the WES Mariam Assefa Fund to shift decision-making power to residents and community stakeholders in Peel. As part of this, the People’s Panel was formed to co-design the funding opportunity. The Panel, which includes immigrants and leaders from the immigrant-serving sector, reflected on their knowledge and lived experiences to identify priorities to create impact and remove economic barriers for immigrants and refugees. This process was also supported by the Peel Newcomer Strategy Group (PNSG), whose sector knowledge and understanding of the local landscape helped ground the Panel’s work.
Through this process, many high-quality applications were received, and the People’s Panel thoughtfully assessed each project proposal. Each application was evaluated based on the following criteria: relevance and needs-based, alignment with objectives of the funding opportunity, equity, impact, engagement and collaboration, and accountability. More information on our criteria can be found here.
Congratulations to the six organizations selected for funding! With these new grants, the organizations will support employment-focused efforts to ensure that immigrants and refugees in the Peel Region can access greater economic opportunity and thrive. The following will offer holistic, responsive, and collaborative solutions that are grounded in the Peel community to remove barriers that often prevent immigrants from achieving their goals and thriving.
· Afghan Women’s Organization ($74,520) will provide employment readiness training while also offering wrap-around services and mental health to refugees and immigrants in the Peel region. Peer leaders will support participants in developing relevant job search skills and sector experience. Through this process, participants will develop individualized employment plans.
· Family Services of Peel ($149,695) is developing an evidence-based family needs framework for newcomer and refugee clients. This includes a study that will allow Family Service of Peel to better understand the needs of their newcomer clients so that they can develop more responsive services. Upon completing research on the needs of potential clients, they will map out responsive service pathways for them, prioritizing the prevention of any primary or secondary traumatic experiences during the settlement period.
· Laadliyan ($75,000) will promote equitable hiring practices for businesses hiring women-identifying international students in Peel. Laadliyan will engage women-identifying international students to help develop training modules for local small and midsize employers to create safer, more inclusive workplaces. This project will include a participatory model that meaningfully engages both employers and international students. They will also facilitate support networks for these international students to ensure their overall well-being and sense of belonging.
· MIAG Centre for Diverse Women and Families ($131,832) will offer a self-employment training program for immigrant and refugee women. Through this program, participants will be provided with resources and tools to support their work towards a self-employed career pathway, including individualized coaching.
· Peel District School Board ($75,000) will create a new role, a Pathways Coach, who will exclusively support marginalized immigrants and refugees enrolled in adult educational programs. The Pathways Coach will support adult immigrant and refugee learners through guided job readiness training and entrepreneurial skills and make connections to employers and job opportunities.
· Sikhs Serving Canada Association (Seva Food Bank) ($93,953) will offer a culinary training program for immigrant women from low-income communities. The program will provide 10 weeks of culinary training, coaching, and mentorship. Participants will also be supported in developing relevant job search skills, such as resume building, networking, and interview skills, and in finding relevant job placement opportunities
Community organizations say there is value in building a flexible system — one that can change and transform based on what a community needs at any given moment. Learn more about the participatory grantmaking pilot project facilitated by the Tamarack Institute in partnership with the WES Mariam Assefa Fund to build more equitable economies for immigrants and refugees in the Peel Region.
Zari Gill, Marina Nuri, Jessica Kwik, Karenveer Pannu and Myriam Bérubé had a conversation about engaging individuals with lived experiences in informing funding priorities and making grantmaking decisions. They shared early insights and learnings from this pilot project and why they believe this model can transform relationships between communities and funders.
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