Like many other states across the country, Colorado’s immigrant population has increased over the last decade and now makes up a growing portion of Colorado’s population. In the late 1990s, through ongoing monitoring of health and well-being issues across Colorado, The Trust learned that there are a number of unmet needs of immigrants. For example, when people from other countries relocate here, they face challenges in trying to find health care, understanding a new school system and even in basic communication with their new neighbors. At the same time, established residents may have concerns about connecting with immigrants who are now their neighbors, and the resulting potential isolation in their communities. The Trust’s initiative supported newcomers and established residents in working together for strong, healthy communities.
Initial grants of The Trust’s Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Families Initiative (SIRFI) supported 23 organizations that provided mental health or cultural adjustment services to immigrants and refugees. As the initiative unfolded, The Trust recognized the need for greater commitment by both immigrants and their receiving communities to achieve successful immigrant integration, including collaboration among mainstream institutions, immigrant-serving organizations and individual community members.
Building on SIRFI, funding supported 19 Colorado communities (10 communities began receiving support in 2004; an additional nine communities received grants in 2006) in their efforts to support immigrants and established residents in working together for healthy communities. Each of the 19 grantee communities first conducted an inclusive planning process to establish their specific needs and strategies to address those needs. Those plans and implementation efforts included strengthening local health care providers’ ability to offer competent care to people from different cultures, helping immigrant parents to become more involved in their children’s schools, improving access to English classes for immigrants, and developing mentoring opportunities among foreign and native-born families.
Learn more about the 19 communities’ and the lessons learned in their work to develop and implement comprehensive, local integration plans. The Trust also created a Frequently Asked Questions document regarding this grant strategy.
Colorado Department of Education
Additionally, recognizing that schools are where immigrant families often have the most community interaction and the important role education plays in the long-term integration of children, the Colorado Department of Education and The Trust jointly created the Immigrant Integration Educator Resource Guide. This guide provides specific recommendations to help immigrant students integrate into their new schools, with a focus on enrollment, family and community outreach, classroom instruction, student assessment, school-based adult ESL classes, family literacy and more. To pilot the guide’s recommendations, The Trust provided support to the 10 schools and school districts listed first under the Grantees section (see top right).
Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning
- Cycle I (2004-2009)
- Cycle II (2006-2011)
Adams, Alamosa, Arapahoe, Boulder, Conejos, Costilla,Delta, Denver, El Paso, Garfield, Gunnison, La Plata, Lake, Mesa, Moffat, Montrose, Morgan, Pitkin, Pueblo, Routt, San Miguel, Summit and Weld
- Alamosa Public Schools
- Aurora Public Schools
- Denver Public Schools
- Gunnison Watershed School District
- Montrose County School District
- St. Vrain Valley School District
- Steamboat Springs School District
- Summit School District
- Telluride School District
- Weld County School District 6
- Aspen to Parachute Region - Cycle I
- Boulder County - Cycle I
- El Paso County - Cycle I
- Gunnison County - Cycle I
- Lake County - Cycle I
- City of Littleton - Cycle I
- Mesa County - Cycle I
- Morgan County - Cycle I
- Pueblo County - Cycle I
- Summit County - Cycle I
- City and County of Denver - Cycle II
- Cities of Greeley and Evans - Cycle II
- Commerce City - Cycle II
- La Plata County - Cycle II
- Montrose and Delta Counties - Cycle II
- Original Aurora - Cycle II
- Routt and Moffat Counties - Cycle II
- San Luis Valley - Cycle II
- Telluride Region - Cycle II
Community Science conducted an independent evaluation to examine how communities collaborate around issues of immigrant integration and to track grantee activities around integration. Evaluation highlights were published in October 2011.