The Immigration Litigation Fund (ILF) at Borealis Philanthropy is announcing a call for applications. The ILF is a national donor collaborative whose goal is to ensure that the nation’s immigration enforcement system is fair, humane, and prioritizes the civil and human rights of those vulnerable to deportation or exclusion.

Litigation supported by the ILF brings harms to light, keeps the day-to-day experiences of immigrants in front of the court and in the public eye, and addresses problems not solved by legislation and in public opinion. The fund supports impact litigation that addresses discriminatory, unlawful, and overly punitive practices at any stage of the enforcement trajectory, from identification and apprehension to detention, removal or exclusion of immigrants.

The ILF supports impact litigation as a tool for achieving public policy and social change on immigration issues. In 2020, the Fund will prioritize investment in litigation efforts that demonstrate an ability to partner with local and state-based, grassroots groups, show potential for systemic change, work in regions with limited legal capacity, and address issues facing under-represented communities. Read more about the Fund’s priorities.

In addition to supporting impact litigation focused on immigration enforcement issues, the ILF also supports convenings to advance coordination and strategy on issues related to impact litigation, and organizing and communications efforts that are related to impact litigation.

Since 2017, the ILF has awarded $8.8 million to 128 grantees. Some examples of past litigation brought by ILF grantees include challenging the Muslim Ban and the termination of DACA, ending ICE arrests near courthouses, preventing abusive conditions in immigrant detention facilities, and defending asylum protections for survivors of domestic violence.

Historically, the ILF has provided time-limited project support to impact litigation specific projects. Due to the current economic and health crisis related to COVID-19, ILF grants awarded will be general operating grants rather than project grants. Borealis asks that applicants to the ILF continue to request support for specific impact litigation projects focused on immigration enforcement issues, but will provide grant dollars in the form of general operating support to allow organizations maximum flexibility to respond to changing and unforeseen needs and circumstances, that arise during the grant period.

The ILF is a collaborative effort of the Ford Foundation, JPB Foundation, NoVo Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Reis Foundation, and Anonymous Donors.

How To Apply to the Immigration Litigation Fund: 

The deadline for applications is June 1, 2020. To be considered for funding, applicants must first speak with a Borealis staff person to discuss their project. Applicants must set up a call with Borealis staff between April 15 and May 22, 2020. Borealis staff can be reached at to discuss projects.

Applicants will be notified about whether or not their project will be funded by July 1, 2020. Projects that are approved for funding will receive their grant awards by July 30, 2020.

Please carefully review the updated ILF funding priorities and FAQs as there have been some changes to the ILF’s grantmaking process.