Immigrant Relief Fund for San Mateo County

In late May, John A. Sobrato began working with a small group of local donors and nonprofits focused on providing support for those in our community who have been hardest hit and yet have received the least assistance. Specifically, they worked to identify solutions for the nearly 60,000 undocumented individuals in San Mateo County who have been excluded from other funds and supports. What emerged from their collaboration, and his absolute commitment to rallying others to join their efforts, is a new Immigrant Relief Fund for San Mateo County. The new fund is a partnership between Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, Samaritan House, Faith in Action Bay Area, and Mission Asset Fund (MAF). From John A. Sobrato's initial investment of $5.2M, they have grown a nearly $9.6M fund that will provide more than 9,000 families with an infusion of funds and access to wraparound services to help them weather this crisis.

Bolstered by an additional nearly $2.4M in collective contributions from other local families and foundations, John A. Sobrato called on the San Mateo board of supervisors to further expand the fund’s reach and impact. In early July, they contributed an additional $2M to the fund on behalf of the county and committed to consider additional $1M contributions at each upcoming monthly meeting. 

With John A. Sobrato's gift focused specifically on serving communities in San Mateo County through the San Mateo Immigrant Relief Fund, Sobrato Philanthropies contributed an additional $3M to related funds – $1M will go to Santa Clara County to support Destination: Home and $2M will support nine Bay Area counties through Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR)’s California Immigrant Resilience Fund. 

The fund has since grown to $10.7 million (as of August 7, 2020) but is still far from enough to help our neighbors in need.


Watch SVCF President & CEO Nicole Taylor, philanthropist John A. Sobrato and José A. Quiñonez of Mission Asset Fund in a conversation that illuminated the challenges being faced by undocumented immigrants in San Mateo County. The speakers also recommended effective philanthropic responses to help undocumented residents during the COVID-19 crisis. 

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