Non-profit

Four Freedoms Fund

Website:

neophilanthropy.org/collaborative-funds/four-freedoms-fund

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Formation:

2003

Type:

Donors Collaborative

Project of:

NEO Philanthropy

Director:

Anita Khashu (2014-Present)

Margarita Rubalcava (2006-2014)

Naomi Abraham (2003-2004)

The Four Freedoms Fund is a donor collaborative of NEO Philanthropy, a left-of-center pass-through nonprofit. The Fund primarily focuses on pushing a left-of-center immigration policies, including “legalization of undocumented immigrants” through a path to citizenship and comprehensive immigration reform legislation. The Fund is critical of what it calls “anti-immigrant ordinances” created by conservative legislators, including deportations by U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE). [1]

A 2017 report by NEO Philanthropy called the Four Freedoms Fund “one of the largest funders of pro-immigrant movement groups throughout the country.” [2] NEO Philanthropy describes the Fund’s mission as “work[ing] to secure the full integration of immigrants as active participants in our democracy.” [3]

Background and Initial Funders

The Four Freedoms Fund was created in 2003 as a project of NEO Philanthropy (then named Public Interest Projects), a center-left pass-through and fiscal sponsorship nonprofit, with startup funding from five center-left foundations: Carnegie Corporation of New York, Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations (formerly Open Society Institute), Mertz Gilmore Foundation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Initial funding for the Four Freedoms Fund totaled $2.8 million, $1 million of which originated with the Carnegie Corporation. [4]

The foundations chose the name “Four Freedoms Fund” after the “Four Freedoms” speech delivered by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt before Congress in February 1941, in which Roosevelt identified four key universal freedoms: the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom to worship God in his own way, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. [5] Craig McGarvey, a consultant and ex-program officer for the James Irvine Foundation, reportedly suggested the name. [6]

Later additions to the Fund’s list of left-wing funders include the Joyce Foundation, Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, California Endowment, Akonadi Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Hagedorn Foundation[7]

Program Goals

The Four Freedoms Fund was founded with four goals: [8]

  1. Advocating for state- and local-based policies “supporting immigrant integration”;
  2. Touting the “political and social contributions of immigrants” to policymakers;
  3. Expanding federal immigrant “integration policies”;
  4. Encouraging naturalization and civic integration of recent immigrants through English-language programs, education, and voter registration

The Fund primarily targets five regions in the United States: southern California, New York, Chicago, Detroit, and Florida.

Political Activities

Criticism of Deportation Policies

The Fund has criticized the American immigration system as “broken” and “regressive” for detaining and deporting illegal migrants. The Fund has criticized both Republicans and Democrats, including the Obama administration, for expanding resources for border security and immigration enforcement as well as laws requiring local law enforcement to fingerprint illegal aliens before transferring them to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for detention and deportation. In 2017, the Fund criticized former President Obama, writing: [9]

Despite the incongruity of deporting people who would be eligible for relief under proposed legislation, in his first term Mr. Obama’s administration deported as many immigrants as the administration of George W. Bush did in two terms; over two million have been deported, more than the number of deportations in the United States from 1892 to 1997.

The Four Freedoms Fund has championed passage of the DREAM Act, failed legislation proposed by Democrats during the Obama administration which would have granted permanent residency to many illegal aliens in the United States.

Expanded Gay and Lesbian Immigration

One of the Funds’ objectives is aligning left-wing immigration policies that favor expanded immigration levels and citizenship for aliens living in the U.S. illegally with pro-gay and lesbian activism. A 2017 report authored by NEO Philanthropy entitled Out of the Closet, Out of the Shadows noted that the Four Freedoms Fund “work[s] at the intersection of immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights and racial justice.” The report claimed that “75 transgender inmates are housed by [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] each night and account for one in five victims of sexual abuse within the detention center network.” [10]

In June 2011, Fund co-founders Geri Mannion and Taryn Higashi awarded two lesbians living in the U.S. illegally, Tania Unzueta and Reyna Wences, with a “Freedom from Fear” award, given by the Four Freedoms Fund. The award was given in response to the couple’s role in organizing the 2010 National Coming Out of the Shadows Day, a march intended to encourage gay and lesbian non-citizens living illegally in the country to announce their status as illegal aliens. [11]

Criticism of State Immigration Enforcement

The Fund has criticized Arizona as “the epicenter of state-based anti-immigrant legislation,” particularly in the wake of the state’s 2010 immigration law (SB 1070) requiring aliens to carry proper documentation and authorizing state police to arrest illegal aliens. The Fund attacked the legislation as “draconian,” calling the state’s efforts to combat illegal immigration an “anti-immigrant crusade.” [12]

Funding

According to a report by the Carnegie Corporation, between 2003 and 2008 the Fund received approximately $80 million from its member foundations. [13] In 2015, the group reported grants to 95 organizations in 28 states and the District of Columbia. [14]

Current Member Foundations

The Four Freedom Fund had 14 member funders as of May 2019 mostly comprised of left-of-center foundations and one anonymous donor: [15]

Grant Recipients

Early grant recipients from the Four Freedoms Fund include the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, New York Immigration Coalition, National Korean American Service & Education Consortium, Families for Freedom, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, and Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition.

The Four Freedoms Fund has bragged about its successes in altering immigration policy. The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, a grant recipient, pushed for the adoption of the Illinois Executive Order for Immigrant Integration, which registered 80,000 newly naturalized voters and assisted 10,000 non-citizens in becoming U.S. citizens. The group runs the Democracy Fellows Program, which carries out voter mobilization and registration efforts. The New York Immigration Coalition trumpets expanded immigration policies. The group reportedly registered over 230,000 newly naturalized voters between 1998 and 2008 and secured additional funding to immigrant services in New York. Families for Freedom is a legal defense nonprofit that provides legal services to illegal aliens facing deportation from the United States. [16]

Leadership

Co-Founders

Geri Mannion, a program director for the Carnegie Corporation of New York, is a Fund co-founder.

Taryn Higashi is a co-founder of the Fund. Higashi headed immigration grants for the Ford Foundation from 1997 to 2008 and currently works as executive director of Unbound Philanthropy, a member of the Four Freedoms Fund. Higashi is a member of the advisory board for the Open Society Foundations’s International Migration Initiative. [17]

Michele Lord, then a consultant for the Ford Foundation, was executive director of the Fund; Lord currently works as president of NEO Philanthropy.

Program Director

Naomi Abraham was the initial program officer for the Four Freedoms Fund.

Margarita Rubalcava was program director of the Fund from 2006 to 2014. [18]

Rubelcava was succeeded as program director of the Fund in December 2014 by Anita Khashu. Khashu previously worked as founding director of the Vera Institute for Justice’s Center on Immigration and Justice.[19]

References

  1. “Four Freedoms Fund: A Pioneering Foundation Partnership Advocates for Immigrants.” Carnegie Results. Winter 2008. Accessed May 30, 2019. Original URL: https://www.carnegie.org/media/filer_public/7c/74/7c744b4f-101f-4f4f-893e-3698675a62ad/ccny_cresults_2008_fourfreedoms.pdf. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/05/Carnegie-Results-2008-Four-Freedoms-Fund.pdf ^
  2. Robert C. Winn. “Out of the Closet, Out of the Shadows: LGBTQ Leadership in the Struggle Against Depression.” Four Freedoms Fund (NEO Philanthropy). November 2015. Accessed May 31, 2019. Original URL: https://neophilanthropy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/FFF-LGBT-report.pdf. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/05/Four-Freedoms-Fund-LGBT-Report-2017.pdf ^
  3. “NEO Philanthropy Media Kit.” NEO Philanthropy. Accessed May 31, 2019. Original URL: http://neophilanthropy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/NEO-media-kit.pdf. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/05/NEO-Philanthropy-Media-Kit.pdf ^
  4. “Four Freedoms Fund: A Pioneering Foundation Partnership Advocates for Immigrants.” Carnegie Results. Winter 2008. Accessed May 30, 2019. Original URL: https://www.carnegie.org/media/filer_public/7c/74/7c744b4f-101f-4f4f-893e-3698675a62ad/ccny_cresults_2008_fourfreedoms.pdf. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/05/Carnegie-Results-2008-Four-Freedoms-Fund.pdf ^
  5. “Franklin D. Roosevelt speaks of Four Freedoms.” History. February 27, 2019. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/franklin-d-roosevelt-speaks-of-four-freedoms ^
  6. “Four Freedoms Fund: A Pioneering Foundation Partnership Advocates for Immigrants.” Carnegie Results. Winter 2008. Accessed May 30, 2019. Original URL: https://www.carnegie.org/media/filer_public/7c/74/7c744b4f-101f-4f4f-893e-3698675a62ad/ccny_cresults_2008_fourfreedoms.pdf. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/05/Carnegie-Results-2008-Four-Freedoms-Fund.pdf ^
  7. “Four Freedoms Fund: A Pioneering Foundation Partnership Advocates for Immigrants.” Carnegie Results. Winter 2008. Accessed May 30, 2019. Original URL: https://www.carnegie.org/media/filer_public/7c/74/7c744b4f-101f-4f4f-893e-3698675a62ad/ccny_cresults_2008_fourfreedoms.pdf. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/05/Carnegie-Results-2008-Four-Freedoms-Fund.pdf ^
  8. “Four Freedoms Fund: A Pioneering Foundation Partnership Advocates for Immigrants.” Carnegie Results. Winter 2008. Accessed May 30, 2019. Original URL: https://www.carnegie.org/media/filer_public/7c/74/7c744b4f-101f-4f4f-893e-3698675a62ad/ccny_cresults_2008_fourfreedoms.pdf. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/05/Carnegie-Results-2008-Four-Freedoms-Fund.pdf ^
  9. Robert C. Winn. “Out of the Closet, Out of the Shadows: LGBTQ Leadership in the Struggle Against Depression.” Four Freedoms Fund (NEO Philanthropy). November 2015. Accessed May 31, 2019. Original URL: https://neophilanthropy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/FFF-LGBT-report.pdf. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/05/Four-Freedoms-Fund-LGBT-Report-2017.pdf ^
  10. Robert C. Winn. “Out of the Closet, Out of the Shadows: LGBTQ Leadership in the Struggle Against Depression.” Four Freedoms Fund (NEO Philanthropy). November 2015. Accessed May 31, 2019. Original URL: https://neophilanthropy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/FFF-LGBT-report.pdf. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/05/Four-Freedoms-Fund-LGBT-Report-2017.pdf ^
  11. Robert C. Winn. “Out of the Closet, Out of the Shadows: LGBTQ Leadership in the Struggle Against Depression.” Four Freedoms Fund (NEO Philanthropy). November 2015. Accessed May 31, 2019. Original URL: https://neophilanthropy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/FFF-LGBT-report.pdf. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/05/Four-Freedoms-Fund-LGBT-Report-2017.pdf ^
  12. Robert C. Winn. “Out of the Closet, Out of the Shadows: LGBTQ Leadership in the Struggle Against Depression.” Four Freedoms Fund (NEO Philanthropy). November 2015. Accessed May 31, 2019. Original URL: https://neophilanthropy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/FFF-LGBT-report.pdf. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/05/Four-Freedoms-Fund-LGBT-Report-2017.pdf ^
  13. “Four Freedoms Fund: A Pioneering Foundation Partnership Advocates for Immigrants.” Carnegie Results. Winter 2008. Accessed May 30, 2019. Original URL: https://www.carnegie.org/media/filer_public/7c/74/7c744b4f-101f-4f4f-893e-3698675a62ad/ccny_cresults_2008_fourfreedoms.pdf. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/05/Carnegie-Results-2008-Four-Freedoms-Fund.pdf ^
  14. “Four Freedoms Fund.” NEO Philanthropy. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://neophilanthropy.org/collaborative-funds/four-freedoms-fund/ ^
  15. “Four Freedoms Fund.” NEO Philanthropy. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://neophilanthropy.org/collaborative-funds/four-freedoms-fund/ ^
  16. “Four Freedoms Fund: A Pioneering Foundation Partnership Advocates for Immigrants.” Carnegie Results. Winter 2008. Accessed May 30, 2019. Original URL: https://www.carnegie.org/media/filer_public/7c/74/7c744b4f-101f-4f4f-893e-3698675a62ad/ccny_cresults_2008_fourfreedoms.pdf. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/05/Carnegie-Results-2008-Four-Freedoms-Fund.pdf ^
  17. “Team and Staff.” Unbound Philanthropy. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://www.unboundphilanthropy.org/team-and-board ^
  18. “Margarita Rubalcava.” LinkedIn. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://www.linkedin.com/in/margarita-magui-rubalcava-55825924/ ^
  19. “Anita Khashu.” NEO Philanthropy. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://neophilanthropy.org/team/anita-khashu/ ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Taryn Higashi
    Co-Founder
  2. Anita Khashu
    Program Director (2014-Present)
  3. Geri Mannion
    Co-Founder
  4. Darren Sandow
    Consultant
  5. Margarita Rubalcava
    Former Director
  6. Michele Lord
    Executive Director
  7. EunSook Lee
    Consultant
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Four Freedoms Fund

45 W 36TH ST FL 6
NEW YORK, NY 10018-7635