May 20, 2009
Contact: Michelle Mittelstadt
WASHINGTON — The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) on Wednesday announced the four winners of its inaugural E Pluribus Unum Prizes for exceptional immigrant integration initiatives. The Prizes seek to reward exceptional efforts that uphold and update the ideal of "out of many, one" and inspire others to take on this important work.
The winners, each given a $50,000 award, are reflective of the diversity of government and non-government organizations involved in immigrant integration efforts at the state and local levels. The award winners, from Texas, New York, Colorado and Tennessee, operate programs that improve academic outcomes and build stronger families through early childhood and parenting education; improve educational outcomes for late-entry immigrant students with limited English proficiency; organize a city's government and civic leaders to welcome new residents and create a stronger, more integrated community; and create new avenues for constructive public dialogue on immigration and its impacts.
The E Pluribus Unum Prize winners, who will be honored tonight at an awards ceremony at the Library of Congress attended by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and other national leaders, were selected from more than 500 applicants. The awards are given by MPI's National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy with generous support from the J.M. Kaplan Fund.
"There is a pressing need to bolster immigrant integration efforts at the national, state and local levels," said Margie McHugh, co-director of MPI's National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy. "Too often our national immigration debate proceeds without addressing immigrant integration issues. Yet, the thousands of groups and individuals engaged in immigrant integration initiatives across the country are ultimately playing the most important role in ensuring that our immigration policies are a success."
"From the outset these awards have sought to identify exceptional programs that assist immigrants and their children in joining the mainstream of U.S. society and that build stronger relationships between immigrant and native-born communities," said MPI Senior Vice President Michael Fix, who is co-director of the National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy: "The award winners represent innovative, sustainable and replicable programs whose success benefits both newcomers as well as Americans who have been here for generations."
The E Pluribus Unum winners are:
- AVANCE – El Paso, Texas: An innovative early childhood and parenting education initiative hosted by 14 schools in the nation's fourth poorest city, AVANCE-El Paso helps pre-school children and their immigrant parents break the cycle of poverty through early childhood development, parenting education, adult literacy and healthy marriage classes.
- Internationals Network for Public Schools – New York and California: A network of 11 small public high schools operating on existing school campuses in New York City and Oakland, California, Internationals Network educates late-entry, overwhelmingly low-income children from more than 90 countries. Ninety percent of its graduates go on to college – a remarkable result considering the graduation rate for limited English proficient students in New York City stands at 24 percent. The network is serving 3,500 students this year, all having arrived with limited English skills.
- Littleton Immigrant Integration Initiative – Littleton, Colorado: Created by civic and government leaders to address rapid demographic change head-on, the Littleton Immigrant Integration Initiative includes a one-on-one citizenship mentoring program described as unique by the federal government. The initiative also operates an innovative One-Stop Information Center, housed at a local public library, which assists immigrants on topics ranging from jobs, education, health and dental care, transportation, banking and housing.
- Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition's "Welcoming Tennessee Initiative" – Nashville: A public education and communications campaign aimed at fostering constructive public dialogue in a state facing profound demographic change, the Welcoming Tennessee Initiative creates opportunities for Tennessee residents, native-born and immigrant alike, to discuss the effects of immigration, its historical and national contexts, and how to develop strategies for strong, inclusive communities. The initiative is conducted via town hall-style meetings, welcoming committees, immigrant "ambassadors" and a billboard campaign.
In addition, two finalists are receiving recognition for the positive impacts they have had on immigrant integration in the United States:
Queens Library – Jamaica, New York: Serving one of the nation's most ethnically diverse counties, Queens Library provides literacy and English language classes, multilingual computer workshops and e-books, online portals to social services for immigrants, civic engagement and citizenship courses, increased access to health care networks, assistance in launching a business and homework help for the children of non-English speakers, among other services.
Latino Community Credit Union – Durham, North Carolina: Created in 2000, the Credit Union has brought more than 51,000 people into the financial mainstream by providing affordable, full-service banking financial products and services. With its innovative and comprehensive bilingual financial education program, the Credit Union has reached more than 9,755 low-income and unbanked immigrants hampered by language barriers, limited education or cultural distrust of financial institutions.
Tonight's E Pluribus Unum Prizes ceremony will take place at the Library of Congress, beginning at 5:30 p.m. EDT.
Profiles, photos and additional information about the award winners and finalists can be found online at www.integrationawards.org.
For more information, or to set up interviews with award winners, please contact Michelle Mittelstadt at 202-266-1910 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Migration Policy Institute is an independent, non-partisan,
non-profit think tank in Washington, DC dedicated to analysis
of the movement of people worldwide. MPI provides analysis, development
and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at the local,
national and international levels.