Anonymous Donor Contributes $1 Million to 805 UndocuFund
A $1 million anonymous gift to the 805 UndocuFund will provide a major boost for undocumented workers in need of financial help during the pandemic. More than 7,000 people in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties have registered for aid after they lost jobs or work hours.
“We are thrilled by this generous gift which will allow us to help more than 800 families,” said Eder Gaona-Macedo, Executive Director of Future Leaders of America – one of several nonprofit groups that operate the relief fund. “This is the largest gift to the Fund since it was created in 2018!”
The anonymous gift brings the total raised for pandemic relief for undocumented immigrants to $2.6 million – with $3.4 million more needed to meet the $6 million fundraising goal. Applicants to the Fund have lost jobs at local restaurants, hotels, bars, farms, and other businesses. Many who earn their living cleaning houses have also been left unemployed due to social distancing mandates.
“Families have not worked since mid-March and are behind on rent and are feeling desperate about affording the basics including groceries and covering their utility bills,” Eder said. “The UndocuFund is now sending $1,200 checks to those who have lost jobs.”
The 805 UndocuFund launched in 2018 to help immigrants in the aftermath of the Thomas Fire and Montecito Debris Flow. The Fund distributed close to $2 million to 1,300 families, some of whom lost homes, while many more lost employment or wages for weeks at a time. Since then, the Fund supported immigrants following other fires in the region.
The 805UndocuFund is a partnership among organizations known to and trusted by many undocumented residents: Future Leaders of America (FLA), Mixteco/Indigenous Community Organizing Project (MICOP), and Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE). The Ventura County Community Foundation (VCCF) provides fundraising and fund administrative support, while the McCune Foundation provides leadership support.
Spanish-speaking staff and more than 60 volunteers process applications and verify loss of employment for applicants. Volunteers who speak indigenous languages are also crucial to the effort.
More than 700 individuals have donated to the UndocuFund, including several prominent community members who contributed their federal stimulus checks. Dozens of foundations have also funded the project, including grants to cover all operating costs. Major foundation contributors include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Libra Foundation, and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees.
Donations should be made through the Ventura County Community Foundation and designated for the 805 UndocuFund. More information at www.805UndocuFund.