The California Campus Catalyst Fund (the Catalyst Fund) is a three-year grantmaking initiative to expand support for undocumented students and their families across the state’s three public higher education systems: California Community Colleges, California State University, and University of California. To date, the Fund has raised nearly $12 million dollars.
A group of funders, advocates, and educators formed the California Campus Catalyst Fund to seed hope and a powerful path forward at a time when undocumented communities are grappling with fear and uncertainty. As undocumented immigrants question whether they will be torn from their homes, their schools, their jobs, and their families, this initiative builds on the proactive solutions and relief coming out of California’s public higher education campuses. Thanks to the leadership of students, faculty, and administrators, our state’s public colleges and universities have emerged as sites for innovation in welcoming undocumented students out of the shadows and providing them with the resources they need to succeed.
The California Campus Catalyst Fund seeks to strengthen this wave of innovation. It provides an opportunity for campus leaders to develop creative strategies to respond to the needs of large numbers of undocumented students and their families. We draw the connection between students and families for two principal reasons. First, many undocumented students view their futures as closely linked to the security of their families. Second, immigrant students, especially the ones that are the first in their families to go to college and/or translate and navigate U.S. systems, can be important and trusted links to connect family members to needed services.
This grantmaking initiative is supported by private philanthropic dollars with the intent of enhancing the capacity of campuses across the state to serve undocumented communities in ways that are ultimately sustained through the campuses beyond the life of the Catalyst Fund.