Current Initiatives: Our Ongoing Efforts to Create Positive Change
Meeting Today’s Global Challenges
As part of our commitment to address the needs of underserved communities and natural habitats, ICF is leading the following initiatives:
Promoting Human Rights and Dignified Migration
THE BORDER FUND: MEETING THE NEEDS OF MIGRANTS AND REPATRIATED MEXICANS IN TIJUANA
Since 2018, ICF and our generous donors have invested over $2M in local grassroots organizations responding to the basic needs of vulnerable migrants, asylum seekers, and deportees in Tijuana and Mexicali, providing shelter, food, medicine, psychological support and legal services.
In addition to providing these immediate needs, the ICF Border Fund has supported local organizations with technical assistance and capacity building in topics ranging from strategies for trauma informed care, psychological support, and fundraising and communications. With ongoing support from a diverse pool of donors, the Border Fund will continue to prioritize grants for initiatives that have the objective of developing the long-term ability of Tijuana/Mexicali to receive a growing and increasingly diverse migrant population, through one or more of the following strategies:
- Education for Migrant Children and Adults
- Access to Basic and Mental Health
- Defense of Human Rights: Legal Services and Advocacy
- Strengthening Civil Society: Capacity and Infrastructure
- Cultural Inclusion and Equity
These priorities are determined in collaboration with the local organizations and migrant populations themselves and funding shifts in accordance to changing policies and local conditions.
CO-POWERING COMMUNITIES IN CENTRAL AMERICA
Building on geographical and cultural connections to our border and previous work in the region, in 2019 ICF received a generous donation of $2 million from the Candeo Fund, to launch the Central America Grants Fund, which seeks to strengthen existing, locally led efforts to address the root causes of forced displacement from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. This funding was deployed to 22 local partners whose impact is as diverse as the challenges they face. Many are providing training in sustainable agriculture practices that reduce deforestation and make harvests more resistant to climate change; others are investing in capital infrastructure such as meat processing plants or greenhouses to scale production; or are helping small shareholder businesses adopt new technologies and develop business models that increase access to markets.
Ultimately the goal is to create favorable socio-economic conditions and develop resilience to climate change impacts so that families feel safe and stable in their home communities.
In 2022-2023, with the renewed support of Candeo and other generous donors, ICF is investing an additional $3.3 million in organizations implementing proven models in economic development and sustainable agricultural models, increasing food security, and advancing access to sexual and reproductive health services. We are also partners in the multi-donor RECARGA Initiative to address the regional education crisis following the global COVID-19 pandemic.
In a region where nonprofits are operating under increasingly restrictive political and administrative regulations and attacks on civil society, ICF seeks to provide flexible, operating funds and is co-powering our civil society partners by investing in tools and resources that strengthen their institutional capacity.
Protecting Natural Beauty and Ecological Integrity
Focused on high-priority coastal sites in the Gulf of California and Pacific Ocean.
Laguna San Ignacio Conservation Alliance
Over the past 20 years, the alliance has worked to protect Laguna San Ignacio and the Pacific Gray Whales that migrate to this protected lagoon. The alliance has successfully secured and protected 340,000 acres (about half the area of Yosemite National Park) and 150 miles of coastline, virtually eliminating the threat of industrial or large-scale commercial activity and successfully securing the permanent protection of over 199,000 acres of critical habitat. The alliance works towards sustainable economic alternatives to maintain this beautiful and wild place.
BAJA CALIFORNIA WATERKEEPERS FUND
The Waterkeepers of Baja California are a regional collaborative of ten individual Waterkeepers. Together, they monitor over 75 watersheds and coastal areas for contaminants and pollutants that pose health risks. They build community resilience through workshops, beach cleanups, youth leadership programs, illegal fishing surveillance and lead efforts to restore and protect watershed ecosystems. Strengthening their work helps to shape future environmental policy and behavior in this incredibly biologically diverse region. Watch to learn more about their work from Margarita Diaz, Tijuana Waterkeeper.
Ensuring that Baja residents enjoy a high quality of life and sense of place
Working to improve urban mobility, air quality, land-use zoning, and large-scale infrastructure projects throughout the region.
Restoring the Colorado River Delta
Raise the River is a coalition of six U.S. and Mexican organizations bringing life back to the Colorado River Delta. The Colorado River provides water to nearly 40 million people, irrigates 5.5 million acres of farmland, spans across seven U.S. states and two Mexico states, and serves as the lifeblood for native tribes, seven National Wildlife Refuges, and 11 National Parks. Starting in the Rocky Mountain National Park, the Colorado River stretches over 1,450 miles to a mostly dry delta at the start of the Gulf of California in Mexico. Flows to the delta have dwindled as the river has been drastically depleted due to people taking too much water out of the river basin and a megadrought, exacerbated by climate change. Raise the River’s efforts will restore 2,300 acres of forest and marsh, generate rural economic activities and job opportunities for local people, including river restoration, tourism, recreational hunting, and sport and commercial fisheries.
Keeping Kids In School and Learning For The Future
Access to quality education has been a profound, ongoing challenge in Latin America. Structural inequalities, outdated teaching methods, inadequate materials and physical infrastructure, and socio-economic barriers lead to poor learning outcomes, which in turn limit the full development and engagement of millions of young people.
ICF seeks to guarantee equitable, robust and relevant education programs that empower individuals to reach their full potential by supporting scholarships, teacher trainings, after-school programs, and innovative curriculums.
We are currently seeking funding and implementation partners for our STEAM program which seeks to provide a STEAM education early and consistently to all school-age students, particularly in remote and low-resourced areas.
Cultivating Healthy, Just Food Systems
Food System Initiatives in the Baja Peninsula
Food has the powerful ability to nourish and connect us as families, communities and nations. At the same time, decisions we make about food impact our collective health, wellbeing, ecosystems and economic stability. Around the world, conflict, climate extremes and economic shocks continue to intensify food insecurity and malnutrition trends, and to exacerbate the fragility and inequality of today’s food systems the pandemic exposed.
The International Community Foundation is committed to supporting and catalyzing bold, transformative action to build more equitable and just, economically stable and environmentally healthy regional food systems.
ICF’s food system impact is particularly focused in the Baja Peninsula, (Baja California Sur and the Cali/Baja region) where food systems are inextricably linked, and where rapid growth and migration are straining existing systems.
ICF is investing in partner organizations and building movements to lead transformational shifts in key strategic areas:
- Increased equitable access to fresh, healthy culturally appropriate food
- Nourished healthy and resilient communities, boosted economic mobility and deepened community networks
- Prevention and reduction of food waste and loss
- Regenerated healthy soils, protected watersheds and increased climate resiliency
- Increased viability of small- and mid-scale producers and local food business
Mobile Cervical Cancer Screening Study:
ICF and several partners funded a collaborative initiative to develop and test a smartphone-based cervical cancer diagnostic tool to provide cost-effective screening and care to women in underserved communities.
Baja California Sur was found to be 18th of 32 states in Mexico in the number of households categorized as “food insecure.” (NIPH-INSP, 2012).
Helping children and families improve nutrition and access healthier foods
Southern Baja Food Security Initiative:
ICF is committed to achieving the highest level of health for all people. Sadly in Baja California Sur (BCS), a land of abundance and wealth, a 2013 community survey in La Paz and Los Cabos found that approximately 50% of all families lack financial access to fresh food. In 2016 ICF responded to this issue by teaming up with governmental and nonprofit partners, including Raíz de Fondo and the BCS Secretariat of Social Development to pilot a demonstration garden and nutrition education program at two local food kitchens in La Paz and Cabo San Lucas.
In 2017, ICF plans to build on the success of this pilot to expand to four additional sites. Meanwhile, ICF has been laying the groundwork for the creation of a Food Bank and Food Rescue Program in Los Cabos, which will distribute fresh fruits and vegetables gleaned from the fields of local producers, and prepared foods from restaurants and hotels in the area, to the families most in need. Help us bridge this gap!
In 2017, ICF’s local partners need to raise $137,000 to implement 6 community gardens and to build the infrastructure for a Food Bank and Rescue Center in Los Cabos, where fresh produce that is currently wasted will be distributed to food insecure populations
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