We have been Partnered with the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) for one year now, and have made significant strides towards deepening IRCO’s impact in access to early childhood education for immigrant and refugee communities. IRCO is a nationally recognized community-based organization that delivers over 200 programs. Those programs include both culturally specific and culturally responsive services that have engaged 32,000 diverse community members in 2017 alone. They are uniquely positioned to bring underserved immigrant and refugee voices and priorities to the attention of local, state, and national leadership to effect change.
That’s why this year, we’re making a strategic investment in IRCO to help build their policy and advocacy infrastructure. Our capacity enhancement grant will help them take their communities’ voices to the next level, and assisting them in addressing the disparities their children face through legislative action.
In response to the increasing need for legislative advocacy in the immigrant and refugee communities, IRCO has increased their collaborative work with organizations like the Children’s Institute, Children First for Oregon, and Coalition of Communities of Color in order to advance early learning campaigns that are directly related to the communities they serve. Our continued investment in IRCO will assist them by addressing gaps in their existing resources, building the internal structure, and providing their consultant with more time to investigate the feasibility of the policy initiatives that they’re pursuing for 2018.
In addition to policy and advocacy work, IRCO will be investigating the feasibility of starting an early childhood preschool program for its clientele, as part of the focus for Year 2 of our partnership. Lead Partner Jane Williams Grube said “IRCO’s commitment to their clients and to early childhood is a clear strength. The staff that we engage with are talented and well-informed.” The first few months of 2018 will focus heavily on the feasibility of creating a new preschool as a facet of IRCO’s long list of services.