14, 2012 - MINNEAPOLIS – Beginning Wednesday, August 15, 2012,
thousands of young, foreign-born Minnesota residents will have new
opportunities to participate in the state’s economy thanks to the
implementation of a new federal policy that resembles the DREAM Act. In
Minnesota, numerous philanthropic and business leaders are embracing
this policy change for its potential to significantly benefit our
state’s economy and create greater equity among our community's
To help our young people and our state make the most of this opportunity, The Minneapolis Foundation is pleased to launch the
The goal is to raise $500,000 to cover the legal services required to
help an estimated 850 low-income youth and young adults take advantage
of this opportunity and help our state add valuable new members to the
workforce. Businesses, foundations, and community members across the
state are invited to contribute to the fund. Initial gifts to the fund
have come from six foundations (see below).
youth are critical to our future economy and success. We need everyone
in Minnesota, including our next generation of new Americans, to
participate in our workforce if we want to compete in the global
economy,” says Sandra Vargas, CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation.
“Welcoming these young people into the mainstream economy means
businesses will have more workers at all ends of the skill spectrum to
help lead, sustain and grow Minnesota’s private sector.”
business case for supporting Minnesota’s immigrant youth is undeniable,”
noted Bill Blazar, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for the
Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. “More than 1 in 6 Minnesotans under the
age of 19 are the children of immigrants, and are key to the development
and growth of our state’s economy. The new federal policy will equip
thousands of young Minnesotans to fully participate in our economy,
lending their perspectives, insights and talents to make our state
stronger. It’s an undeniable win-win.”
August 15, 2012, new federal policy go into effect: young people who
entered the U.S. with parents who did not have proper immigration status
will now be eligible to reside and work in this country without risk of
deportation. In Minnesota, some 2,100 - 4,000 estimated young people
between the ages of 15 and 30 can apply for this special status known as
"deferred action status." In addition to employment eligibility, the
policy will open doors to higher education and the ability to acquire a
driver’s license. These young people are informally known as "DREAMers,"
in reference to the DREAM Act, a federal bill that would provide these
and other opportunities to immigrant youth.
to this policy change, undocumented youth who grew up in Minnesota,
attended the same K-12 schools as other young people – for many,
Minnesota is the only home they have known – and yet have been unable to
work, pursue higher education, or contribute intellectual capital to
our economy due to their lack of documentation. This missed opportunity
was felt particularly acutely in many greater Minnesota communities
where employers struggle to attract and retain native-born workers.
goal is to provide services to help 850 low-income youth and young
adults who cannot afford private attorneys gain deferred action status.
The Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota will directly provide and oversee
the delivery of these services. The Minneapolis Foundation established
and will administer the Fund, will manage the distribution of grants
from the Fund, and will report to the community on its impact.
grateful for the foundation and corporate leadership for making sure
ILCM can reach as many people as possible with valuable, accurate
information and legal representation. The Minnesota DREAMers Fund will
help ensure our state benefits from this constructive policy and that
eligible youth and young adults will be able to take full advantage of
the opportunity. It will also mitigate the risk of eligible individuals
being taken advantage of by unscrupulous parties,” says John Keller,
Executive Director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota.
“Unfortunately, with any vulnerable population seeking financial or
legal assistance, the risk of fraud is very real.”
To date, $200,000 has been raised.
Individuals, families, businesses, and others are invited to contribute
in any amount to help reach the $500,000 goal. There are three easy
ways to give:
- Donations in any amount are accepted via credit card at GiveMN.
- Text “MPLS" to 80077 to make a $10 donation with the charge applied to the next cell phone bill.
- Checks can be sent to The Minneapolis Foundation, 800 IDS Center, 80 South Eighth Street, Minneapolis MN 55402.
Learn more about immigration in Minnesota here. Visit the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota for more on the deferred action status policy.
Minnesota DREAMers Fund: Helping Immigrant Youth Shape A Stronger Future for All of Us contributors include:
- The Minneapolis Foundation
- El Fondo de Nuestra Comunidad
- The Blandin Foundation
- The F.R. Bigelow Foundation
- The Saint Paul Foundation
- Women’s Foundation of Minnesota
The Minneapolis Foundation
helps people support their community and causes they care about, and
invests in efforts to ensure every person in Minneapolis has the
opportunity to thrive. Established in 1915, The Minneapolis Foundation
now manages more than $600 million in assets, administers more than
1,100 charitable funds and distributes approximately $36 million in
grants each year. In addition, The Minneapolis Foundation works with
other community leaders to improve the quality of life in our region and
serve as a catalyst for discussion and action on critical issues. From
time to time, the Foundation brings together local foundations,
businesses, and individuals to give together for greater community
impact on critical issues. Most recently, the Foundation raised and
distributed more than $1.7 million to assist individuals impacted by the
2011 tornado in North Minneapolis through its Minnesota Helps Fund.