FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 17, 2022
Assefash Makonnen, Communications Manager
African Communities Together Welcomes $3 Million Gift from MacKenzie Scott; Enabling Major Expansion of African Immigrant Organization
New York, NY.- African Communities Together (ACT), one of the country's largest organizations of and for African immigrants, welcomed a major gift of $3 million from philanthropist Mackenzie Scott, as part of Scott's commitment to distributing funds to organizations supporting the voices and opportunities of people from underserved communities.
For 10 years, ACT has supported, organized, and empowered African immigrant communities through legal and other services, leadership development, and advocacy. Powered by hundreds of grassroots members nationwide, and with offices in New York, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia, the organization has achieved critical social, economic, and civic wins for African immigrants across the country.
Amongst its key accomplishments, ACT pioneered a language access policy in New York that expanded translation to key languages for African New Yorkers, including Arabic and French. Over the course of the Trump Administration and Biden Administration, ACT has advocated and sued to block anti-immigrant policies, including Title 42, the Muslim and African Bans, the elimination of Temporary Protected Status, and the termination of Deferred Enforced Departure for African immigrants. As a result of this litigation, hundreds of thousands of immigrants retained their legal status; the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness program, the first new pathway to citizenship in decades, passed into law; and an estimated 8 million people worldwide regained eligibility to apply to the Diversity Visa program, with African nationals being the largest group of beneficiaries.
Over the past three years, ACT has organized to fight displacement of African immigrant tenants in the Northern Virginia community of Southern Towers, fighting illegal evictions by the CIM Group and winning rent relief for thousands of low-income African tenants.
“African immigrants are the fastest growing immigrant population in the U.S.,” said Amaha Kassa, Executive Director of African Communities Together. “Black migrant organizations like ACT are in the center of some of the biggest immigrant rights and civil rights battles in the country, and globally. And yet, organizations that fight for us, led by us, are often chronically under-resourced."
“We welcome and celebrate this major gift by Ms. Scott, and eagerly anticipate the boost it will give to the work we do with and for African communities. We commend the prioritization of racial justice, commitment to grassroots leadership, and provision of unrestricted, general support funding as models that should be embraced by philanthropy at large."
Scott’s funding strategy diverges sharply from much of the philanthropic sector, which dedicates a mere 1 percent of giving to programs benefiting immigrants and refugees.
In addition to Scott's gift, another welcome exception to systematic under-funding of Black migrant organizations is the recently-launched Black Migrant Power Fund. The fund aims to raise $10 million to support Black migrant organizations transforming the US immigration system to embrace the humanity and dignity of all migrants, and had already distributed millions in funds to 13 such, including ACT.
The donation to ACT signifies the largest single source of funding ACT has received in its decade of operation, providing a major boost to African immigrants across the country.
Among the priorities that the funding will support is the recent launch of the organization's third chapter in Philadelphia, a city whose African population has increased 121 percent since 2000.
About African Communities Together
African Communities Together is an organization of African immigrants fighting for civil rights, opportunity, and a better life for African families in the U.S. and worldwide. ACT connects African immigrants to critical services, helps Africans develop as leaders, and organizes African immigrant communities on the issues that matter.