The Institute for the Study of the Americas at UNC-Chapel Hill was awarded $1.55 million from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation. The funding will support Building Integrated Communities, a planning and leadership initiative of the Latino Migration Project that partners with North Carolina local governments to create inclusive practices and policies for immigrant residents from Latin America and other underrepresented world regions.
An additional $2 million from the Blue Cross NC Foundation will go directly to the program’s community-based and local government partners to support their work.
The program helps local governments communicate with immigrant residents and facilitate language access, strengthen civic engagement and leadership, and generate strategies to address local needs.
“This funding invests in cities, towns and counties seeking to expand the participation of immigrants and underrepresented communities in decision-making processes. Representative leadership is critical in improving the health and well-being of all residents,” said Hannah Gill, associate director of ISA and principal investigator.
Gill and team members, as well as graduate and undergraduate students at UNC-Chapel Hill, work with the communities who are accepted into the program. Communities generally participate for two years.
“Carolina students are hands-on in many aspects of the process, doing community-engaged research, facilitating meetings and building professional communication skills,” Gill added.