The Neighbor Fund is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that supports the immigrant communities of Windham and Tolland counties, providing direct financial support to those facing detention and deportation.
The Neighbor Fund works as a genuine partnership, drawing on the leadership and resources of communities primarily in Mansfield and Willimantic. Created in February 2017, the first donations came from a bilingual community meeting organized by Embracing the Same Dream/Alcanzando el Mismo Sueño and members of the Sagrado Corazon faith community.
The Fund is now a growing coalition that stands in solidarity with all our neighbors — regardless of their immigration status – and is led by representatives from Embracing the Same Dream/Alcanzando el Mismo Sueño, Windham Immigrant Rights Coalition, CT Students for a Dream, Grow Windham, and several informal progressive alliances working in both counties.
The Neighbor Fund began to take shape in the early spring of 2017, but only as an inkling of an idea for a resource that might be needed. However, by March the need became concrete when plainclothes ICE agents picked up three men near the Frog Bridge in Willimantic on their way to work.
All three were detained in the Suffolk County Jail near Boston, MA – far away from their families, and with their liberty and livelihoods in the balance. One man chose deportation immediately, rather than wait out what he felt would be a long and unjust process. On May 1st, after nearly two months in detention, the two other men had initial bond hearings at the Boston Federal Courthouse. One of these men was granted the opportunity of bail, and the Neighbor Fund was able to pool resources to get him out of detention. He still faces steep legal fees, but is now able to apply for asylum.
Most all funds we raise directly aid our immigrant neighbors facing the threat of detention and deportation because of their immigration status. We have no paid staff, so our administrative costs are minimal.