On July 9, San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee and Board President David Chiu announced a three-year public-private partnership between the city and six philanthropic organizations to assist immigrants with the citizenship process. The program, called Pathways to Citizenship, intends to both guide citizenship-eligible immigrants through the process as well as encourage civic participation among them.
Currently, many of the Bay Area’s 100,000 citizenship-eligible immigrants struggle with the cumbersome process of becoming a citizen. This may be due to poor distribution of information or a lack of the necessary language support – barriers that Pathways to Education will tackle through local non-profit agencies. As more than 60% of this citizenship-eligible pool is made up of Asian Pacific Islanders, we expect to see many in our community and network benefit from this new program.
The initiative will cost approximately $1.2 million, with funding coming from two city agencies and six philanthropic organizations, each of whom have pledged $400,000 over three years. Among these sponsoring organizations are the Asian Pacific Fund; Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund; The San Francisco Foundation; The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation; and the Walter & Elise Haas Fund. Recipients of grants to implement the program include lead agency Self-Help for the Elderly; the Asian Law Caucus; Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach; Catholic Charities CYO; the International Institute of the Bay Area; Jewish Family and Children’s Services; and La Raza Community Resource Center.
Speaking to the necessity of supporting this population, Board President Chiu said, “Immigrants are a vital part of San Francisco, operating a third of our small businesses. This Initiative is an investment in our future, and the unique partnership between the City, community and philanthropy will ensure a stronger San Francisco for all.”