UCLA has received $1.5 million from the Ford Foundation for efforts to help disadvantaged populations, including children and youth from immigrant families and undocumented and low-wage workers.

Grants of $750,000 each will go to the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies’ Institute for Immigration, Globalization, and Education and the UCLA Labor Center, part of the UCLA College’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment.

The Institute for Immigration, Globalization, and Education will use its grant to improve the experiences of immigrant-origin children and youth, who often are stigmatized for their backgrounds. The funding will enable UCLA to equip educators at schools, museums, libraries and other sites across the nation with training and resources to foster empathy, inclusion and an understanding of migration as a fundamental part of human experience.

Specifically, the funds will help to develop Re-imagining Migration, a curriculum applying the latest research in educational practices; the Moving Stories app, a tool for gathering immigrant narratives; and UndocuScholars, a research program to support undocumented youth. The grant also will drive a national media campaign designed to change the public narrative about migration. Activities will engage the institute’s growing network of more than 35 partner agencies.

“While immigration continues to be in the headlines, the children of immigrants endeavor to grow up to be tomorrow’s scientists, teachers, nurses, social workers and so much more,” said Carola Suárez-Orozco, professor of human development and psychology and co-director of the institute. “This generous grant from the Ford Foundation is supporting our work with teachers, school leaders and museum directors to nurture these young people as they become members of the tapestry of our nation.”

Immigrant youth are also a focus for the Labor Center, which will use its grant to increase access to higher education and employment through leadership development. The center provides yearlong Immigrant Justice Fellowships and facilitates the Dream Summer Fellowship program, which has placed more than 650 youth participants from across the nation at organizations working in immigrant justice, technology and labor. The new funding will sustain these programs and enhance alumni networking and awareness-building efforts.

The Labor Center also seeks to improve working conditions and career prospects for low-wage employees, including immigrants and young workers. Under the Ford Foundation’s grant, the center will provide technical assistance for worker centers in Los Angeles, engage in local and national industry research and evaluate state workforce development programs.

“This new support from the Ford Foundation will make it possible for the UCLA Labor Center to continue to partner with workers, people of color and young people to promote social, racial and economic justice in higher education and the workplace,” said Kent Wong, director of the center. “These partnerships have helped Los Angeles emerge as a national center to raise the minimum wage, advance the rights of immigrant youth and workers and support multiracial worker movements.”

The Ford Foundation has supported UCLA for more than 60 years. Its philanthropy focuses on reducing poverty and injustice, strengthening democratic values, promoting international cooperation and advancing human achievement.

The foundation’s latest contribution is part of the Centennial Campaign for UCLA, which is scheduled to conclude in December 2019 during UCLA’s 100th anniversary year.