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MPI Honors Exceptional Immigrant Integration Initiatives in Business, Government and Non-Profit Sectors with Prizes Rewarding Innovation

Press Release
Tuesday, May 18, 2010

MPI Honors Exceptional Immigrant Integration Initiatives in Business, Government and Non-Profit Sectors with Prizes Rewarding Innovation

WASHINGTON —The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) on Tuesday announced the four winners of its second annual E Pluribus Unum Prizes for exceptional immigrant integration initiatives, honoring a century-old settlement house in Washington State, a North Carolina credit union, an Illinois state/non-profit partnership and a non-profit with offices in San Francisco, New York and Chicago that helps immigrants make their way in the U.S. job market.

The E Pluribus Unum winners, each given a $50,000 award, reflect the diversity of actors in the public and private sectors which are involved in immigrant integration efforts at the state and local levels. The winners will be honored tonight at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. attended by national policymakers and elected officials.

The prizes program, established by MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy with generous support from the J.M. Kaplan Fund, seeks to encourage the adoption of effective integration practices and to inspire others to take on the important work of integrating newcomers and their children so they can become full participants in U.S. society.

The E Pluribus Unum winners (click on links for more detail about each initiative) are:

  • Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights – Chicago: The New Americans Integration Initiative is an innovative public-private partnership that makes immigrant integration a deliberate, strategic priority for the state. For nine years, the initiative has operated a set of programs ranging from helping 42,000 people become U.S. citizens to making sure that an array of training and other services provided by the department are accessible to Limited English Proficient (LEP) customers.
  • Latino Community Credit Union – Durham, NC: A member-owned nonprofit financial institution with ten branches across North Carolina, LCCU offers bilingual financial services and financial education to the Latino community and other unbanked consumers. By providing personal loans, mortgages and micro-financing for businesses and allowing immigrants to build credit histories, LCCU is helping immigrants on their path to greater financial security.
  • Tacoma Community House – Tacoma, WA: A settlement house founded 100 years ago to assist Italian immigrants, Tacoma Community House today works with immigrants and refugees from over 80 countries, helping them learn English, become U.S. citizens and contribute to the economic, cultural and civic life of Washington State. TCH, which also operates the statewide Literacy Now program, combines the experience gained from its long history with a willingness to adapt and change according to the needs of the region’s most recent arrivals.
  • Upwardly Global – San Francisco, CA: A non-profit organization that provides job readiness training, career counseling, placement services and mentoring to skilled immigrants and refugees. Upwardly Global helps immigrants achieve their greatest potential in the United States, using an entrepreneurial approach to address the unemployment and underemployment (known as "brain waste") of college-educated refugees and legal immigrants. The non-profit also has offices in New York and Chicago.

In addition, one organization was recognized with an honorable mention for its contribution to immigrant integration in the United States:

  • McDonald’s Corporation – Oak Brook, IL: McDonald’s English Under the Arches is an innovative workplace English instruction program that provides shift managers with the language skills they need to manage restaurant operations and staff. Leveraging partnerships with community colleges, known for their expertise in teaching adult English-for-Speakers-of-Other-Languages classes, McDonald’s has created a low-cost, high-impact model of English workplace instruction.

"There is so much important and dynamic integration work that is taking place at the state and local levels – work that is sometimes overshadowed amid the near-total focus on comprehensive immigration reform," said Margie McHugh, co-director of MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy. "The winners exemplify how both businesses and non-profit organizations are forging ahead with new ideas for successful immigrant integration, which is so crucial to the vibrancy of our economy and society."

"These awards shine a spotlight on exceptional programs that are leveraging public-private partnerships, powerful volunteer networks and innovative technologies to help immigrants become full participants in U.S. society," said MPI Senior Vice President Michael Fix, who is co-director of the National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy. "These initiatives, which harness the talents of both newcomers and Americans who have been here for generations, can be sustained and replicated by others."

Profiles, videos and more about the honorees can be found 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 [email protected].

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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.