BENTONVILLE, Ark., September 26, 2013 – Today, the Walmart Foundation announced $1.5 million in grants to help nearly 19,000 Hispanic immigrants access integration programs that will provide the knowledge, training and support needed to more easily assimilate into the American culture and become citizens of the United States. The grant will be divided between The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and the Hispanic Federation, working in partnership with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) to improve opportunities for Latino families. Specifically, the organizations will utilize their own grassroots networks to help immigrant families access English as a Second Language (ESL), civic and citizenship classes, as well as the support and information they need to complete the naturalization process over the next year.
More than 40 million foreign-born individuals live in the United States and about half of this population is comprised of immigrants from Latin America, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A Pew Hispanic Center survey revealed that the majority of Hispanic immigrants would like to become U.S. citizens but face common barriers that prevent them from completing the naturalization process. These barriers include a lack of language proficiency and the high cost associated with the naturalization process.
“Our ability to empower immigrants working to become U.S. citizens through support systems and valuable services is an important factor in the growth and prosperity of our nation,” said Lee Culpepper, vice president of corporate affairs at Walmart. “The integration programs offered by trusted organizations, like the NCLR, LULAC and the Hispanic Federation, help us work together to reduce the social and economic barriers immigrants face every day, and ultimately enable families to fully participate in the civic and economic life of our great country.”
Through a $1 million grant from the Walmart Foundation, NCLR will launch the “Bienvenidos” project to support 15,000 Hispanic adults as they work to become citizens. The project will provide ESL training and help immigrants engage with citizens and organizations in their local communities. The grant will impact adults in Albuquerque, N.M.; Chicago; Cleveland; Denver; Houston; Los Angeles; Memphis, Tenn.; New York; Oakland, Calif.; Philadelphia; San Antonio; San Diego; and Washington.
“We are grateful to the Walmart Foundation for their commitment and support of our new Bienvenidos project,” said Janet Murguía, president and CEO, NCLR. “As Congress continues to debate immigration reform, we must not forget the millions of immigrants who are aspiring to become U.S. citizens and want to contribute to our great nation’s future prosperity."
The Hispanic Federation and LULAC will receive a $500,000 grant to support 3,900 immigrants through the launch of the Hispanic Integration Project. The program will offer civic and citizenship classes that teach American history and the importance of community involvement. The grant also will help families prepare for and complete U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services applications, including those for citizenship, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and family-based petitions. Services will be available in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.
“Becoming a U.S citizen can be a difficult and at times an intimidating process. Many of these challenges can be alleviated with programs designed to provide critical information regarding the citizenship process,” said LULAC national president Margaret Moran. “We are grateful for the assistance provided by the Walmart Foundation and optimistic that such programs can make a significant difference in our community. Every immigrant who is able to successfully navigate the citizenship process not only comes out of the shadows but also becomes an active participant in our great democracy.”
“We are deeply grateful to the Walmart Foundation for their leadership and pioneering support of our immigrant integration work,” said José Calderón, president of the Hispanic Federation. “There’s a huge need and demand for services which help Latinos become American citizens, get deferred action, and reunite with loved ones in the U.S. This support will help thousands of families achieve their American dreams and strengthen our community and nation as a whole.”
To learn more about the Walmart Foundation’s commitment to helping families in the United States live better, visitfoundation.walmart.com.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better through philanthropic efforts. By operating globally and giving back locally, Walmart is uniquely positioned to address the needs of the communities it serves and make a significant social impact within its core areas of giving: Hunger Relief & Healthy Eating, Sustainability, Career Opportunity and Women’s Economic Empowerment. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are leading the fight against hunger in the United States with a $2 billion commitment through 2015. Walmart has donated more than 1 billion meals to those in need across the country. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit foundation.walmart.com.
NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
About Hispanic Federation
The mission of the Hispanic Federation is to empower and advance the Hispanic community. The Hispanic Federation provides grants and services to a broad network of Latino non-profit agencies serving the most vulnerable members of the Hispanic community and advocates nationally with respect to the vital issues of education, health, immigration, economic empowerment, civic engagement and the environment. For more information, please visit www.hispanicfederation.org.
About the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 900 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org.