The Immigration Fund: Accountability in a Pooled Community Fund

Loyola University Chicago



Case Study Sector


In this fictional case study, the Immigration Fund (IF) is a philanthropic collaboration of several Chicago grant makers and one national foundation. Although the IF collaboration began as a two-and-a-half-year project, the Fund identified emerging needs in the immigrant community through conversations with its grantee partners, providing a vital service to the community. The Department of Human Services (DHS) has provided a significant grant to the collaboration, an amount that will ensure continuation of the Fund for at least another year. However, the state must adhere to strict internal guidelines regarding the allocation process. These guidelines prohibit using funds for community readers in the allocation process. Future funds from the state—critical to continuation of the Fund and future programming to address emerging needs—were partially dependent upon adherence to its internal allocations guidelines. Community readers were a vital part of the Fund’s allocation process, but losing state support would challenge the accountability standards set by the Fund to its grantees and constituents. The challenges of this case are posed as Anna, the executive director, prepares for a meeting of the IF Steering Committee. Should she recommend continuing to use community readers, disregard the state’s requirements, and risk losing future funding, or should she recommend suspending community readers, or propose separate, yet combined, review processes to the Steering Committee?

This case study appears in the collection Lessons from Philanthropy: A Case Studies Approach: A Report to the Ford Foundation. The case studies are designed to increase the relevance of philanthropy teaching curriculums and better prepare future leaders that are engaged in philanthropy and nonprofit sector work. The overall goal of the present project was to develop case studies that would serve as teaching/learning tools about philanthropy by providing in-depth examination of critical issues and experiences related to foundation decision-making, governance and fund- distribution. Throughout the development of these cases, a special emphasis on philanthropic involvement in communities of color and other underserved communities was maintined in aorder to improve philanthropy’s work in relation to these populations.



  • Evaluation
  • Partnership


  • Northern America

Blog Posts


Jan 27

JOIN US Wednesday, January 27th at 4:30 PM, on Zoom, for a VIRTUAL discussion on reinventing local journalism with philanthropic and civic capital. Registration is Required