Esperanza Fund Distributes Fourth Round of Funding


Grants made to community-based organizations in support of Nevada’s immigrant communities.

Total distribution now reaches $1 million in assistance during COVID-19 pandemic.

Note: this is originally a press release published December 21, 2020.

The Esperanza Fund, established in August 2020 to support Nevada’s immigrant communities and strengthen nonprofits working with these communities, just completed its fourth round of funding to 13 community-based organizations (CBOs), bringing the total distribution to $1 million.

According to Duncan Lee, chair of the Esperanza Fund, who also serves as chair of the Nevada Community Foundation – a nonprofit foundation that helps families with their philanthropic legacies, the Esperanza Fund was established only four months ago in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to provide support to immigrant families who do not qualify for federal or state aid. Recipient CBOs are well positioned to identify immigrant families most in need of emergency assistance for critical necessities such as housing, food and utilities.  

The Esperanza Fund was established via an inaugural gift of $750,000 from George Soros’ The Open Society Foundations, the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights. The Amalgamated Foundation’s Families and Workers Fund, a New York-based foundation committed to expanding the capabilities of small public foundations such as the Esperanza Fund, contributed two gifts totaling $240,000. Duncan and Irene Lee and their children made a gift of $10,000 to bring the total fund to $1 million.

The Esperanza Fund is working closely with the Governor’s Office for New Americans (ONA), created through Senate Bill 538, one of Governor Sisolak’s priority during the 2019 legislative session. ONA promotes opportunities for immigrants, refugees, and aspiring Americans to thrive in Nevada.

“First Lady Kathy Sisolak and I are proud of the commitment of the Governor’s Office for New Americans and the Esperanza Fund board to bring assistance to those impacted by COVID-19 who are otherwise ineligible for state or federal assistance,” said Gov. Steve Sisolak. “It is imperative we come together to support one another during these trying times. I am thankful for the donors who have invested in our community and to Duncan Lee for his leadership and donation that brings the total raised for the Fund to $1 million. We want to ensure that home means Nevada to every Nevadan, and we are grateful for all those involved in this important project.”

“We are grateful for the financial support of the George Soros’ The Open Society Foundations and the Amalgamated Foundation’s Families and Workers Fund, for believing in our mission to support immigrant individuals and families who have long been integral to our community fabric state-wide,” said Lee. Especially as the effects of the pandemic continue, it’s incumbent upon us to do all we can to support them through this trying time.”  

Organizations from both Northern and Southern Nevada have received funds from Esperanza in several rounds including:

  • Asian Community Development Council
  • Arriba Las Vegas Worker Center
  • Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada
  • CSN Foundation
  • Dream Big Nevada
  • Ethiopian Christian Fellowship Church
  • Immigrant Home Foundation
  • Make the Road NV
  • Mi Familia Vota
  • Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada
  • REACH Las Vegas
  • UNLV Diversity Initiatives

In addition to Lee, the Esperanza Fund board includes Francisco Aguilar, Nevada Assemblyman Alexander Assefa (District 42), Erika Castro, Vadim Fridman, Vida Lin and Francisco Morales, a majority of whom are first-generation immigrants. 

For information about the Esperanza Fund, contact Gian Brosco at Nevada Community Foundation at