Special to the Sun
Mayor Michelle Wu and the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement (MOIA) are awarding $50,000 in mini-grants to five nonprofits for creative initiatives that help green card holders become U.S. citizens. The grants range from $2,000 to $12,000 for programs including citizenship classes, education, and outreach.
“Becoming a U.S. citizen is an important milestone yet we know for many in our communities that it can be an expensive, intimidating and never ending process,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I’m grateful to MOIA and these organizations for their critical work in reducing barriers to citizenship with creative and community-driven initiatives.”
“Many immigrants want to become U.S. citizens but are deterred because of how much it can cost, questions about the process, and even anxiety about navigating the system,” said Monique Tú Nguyen, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement. “By giving diverse nonprofits mini-grants, immigrants can get help through trusted sources in their communities.”
Five local organizations are selected to receive funding from the MOIA Promoting Access to Citizenship Mini-Grants. They are:
Agencia ALPHA: Funding will increase capacity to provide citizenship classes.
Azerbaijani Society of New England: The organization will hold a citizenship awareness workshop and start test preparation classes for the Azerbaijani community.
Nigerian American Multi-Service Association: The mini-grant will help launch a new “Citizenship Pathway Program” that focuses on outreach and application help to green card holders in African communities.
Project Citizenship: Funding will support the creation of a free online self-navigated portal to guide people through the naturalization application process.
Vietnamese American Civic Association: The organization will help the Vietnamese community prepare for citizenship interviews through individual and group practice sessions.
There are several benefits to becoming a U.S. citizen including being more active in the community, having the right to vote, and living in the United States without risk of deportation. About 30,000 Boston residents are eligible for U.S. citizenship.
“The fulfillment of being citizens of a country after living here for years is something that many in our community earnestly look forward to,” said Godwin Nnanna, President of the Nigerian American Multi-Service Association. “This grant will help make that a dream come true for a number of green card holders in our community.”
“We’re grateful for the City’s support on this critical issue,” said Thuan Tran, Executive Director of the Vietnamese American Civic Association. “This shows the City’s understanding and recognition of the public issues faced by immigrant communities today. This mini-grant will certainly support our continuing effort to assist Vietnamese green card holders in performing their citizenship interviews competently.”
These mini-grants will support programming from March through September 2023. Anyone interested in joining these programs can contact the organizations directly.