Professional Curator

Veyom Bahl

Immigrants & Refugees Portfolio

United States, Nationwide

Immigration provides one of the greatest sources of opportunity for people around the world. Families seeking better, safer futures can come to the United States to rebuild their lives. But between global conflicts, new policies, challenging labor markets, and limited access to higher education, hard-working immigrant families are struggling. I believe everyday philanthropists can create life-changing ladders of opportunity through smart investments in the best nonprofits around the country. I’ve selected five that you can trust with your support.

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I focus my giving on the highest need issues, the highest-impact organizations, and where small donations can make a big difference. The best nonprofits set clear goals and make smart choices about how to spend their limited resources. And they build on the talents and tenacity of people who have persevered – immigrants and refugees who have made it to the United States against the odds and who are committed to succeeding here.

My approach to philanthropy is grounded in:
• Creating opportunity: I believe philanthropy can help level the playing field, giving all people an equal shot at prosperity.
• Shining a light: I focus my giving on causes and on nonprofits that don’t get a lot of attention, where I know my dollar can really make a difference.
• Measuring impact: I support organizations that set clear goals for the impact they want to have and rigorously measure their progress against them.

This portfolio uses strategies that have a strong evidence-base and that are proven to help immigrants integrate into the U.S. economy. And these nonprofits are run by talented leaders with strong operating credentials. In combination, the portfolio helps immigrants get good healthcare to overcome trauma and persecution. It helps them go to college and find good jobs that provide upward mobility. And it helps shape government policies that can create opportunities for immigrants to succeed in and contribute to the United States.

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About the curator

I’m the son of immigrants from India, and that history underlies my passion for these issues. But I’m also an assertive grant maker at a foundation that’s best known for how we measure impact. This portfolio combines those two approaches – a little heart and a lot of data.

I’ve done research in Mexico, I’ve built a social enterprise in London, I’ve worked in finance, and I’ve helped shape federal policy at the White House. I now manage a $10-million philanthropic portfolio on immigrants and refugees at Robin Hood, a foundation focused on fighting poverty in New York City.

In my work, I have helped create a national immigration nonprofit and launch partnerships between donors, nonprofits, and state and local governments. My professional grantmaking leverages the skills that I’ve acquired through a diverse career. This includes a deep appreciation for the people being supported, an understanding of the business challenges of running a nonprofit, and a focus on quantitative outcomes that comes with having worked in finance.

5 Years in grantmaking
Experience at Robin Hood
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Opportunities in this portfolio

National Immigration Law Center (NILC)

NILC General Operating

NILC is one of the country’s most important organizations defending the legal rights of low-income immigrants. Akin to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), NILC advocates for policies that protect immigrants’ rights to come to the United States, to work and go to school, and to keep their families together. NILC’s budget is much smaller than other similar organizations, so your dollar can have tremendous impact here.

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Make the Road New York (MRNY)

MRNY General Operating

Make the Road is a one-stop shop for nearly 20,000 Latino immigrants in New York City. Make the Road trains immigrant women for good jobs in the growing healthcare industry, creates communities of support for LGBTQ immigrant youth, and helps immigrant families stay in their homes when faced with eviction. Make the Road’s grassroots organizing also helps to create policy change. As one example: Make the Road’s organizing at JFK Airport helped stop the “Muslim Ban” from going into effect in early 2017.

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Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC)

Justice Fellowship

Immigrant Justice Corps is a fellowship that trains the country’s best immigration attorneys. Created by the renowned federal judge, Robert A. Katzmann, Immigrant Justice Corps trains 25 new attorneys each year to work directly with low-income families in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. These young fellows – many of whom are immigrants themselves – are successful with more than 90 percent of their cases in immigration court. And when they win their case, their client is immediately able to stay in the United States with her family, contribute to the local economy and build a more prosperous future.

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Montefiore Medical Center (MMC)

Terra Firma

Terra Firma is the country’s first health clinic dedicated to helping Central American refugee children. Tens of thousands of Central American children are fleeing to the United States each year on their own. They carry with them the post-traumatic stress of a violent home life, a treacherous journey, and the struggles of starting over in the United States. Terra Firma’s evidence-based health care, group therapy, and enrichment activities create a stable new home for hundreds of refugee children in New York City each year.

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New Venture Fund (NVF)

TheDream.US

TheDream.US is the country’s premier scholarship program for helping young immigrants go to college. Many immigrants don’t qualify for federal financial aid. Without support, they simply can’t afford a college degree. With one program in New York City, TheDream.US scholars are on track to graduate at more than two times the national rate for community college students. An investment in TheDream.US is a long-term investment in the hard work and aspirations of talented, young immigrants nationwide.

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