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Calling All Advocates: 2021 Lightkeeper’s Report

A WORD FROM LIA’S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR


To our fellow advocates,

As of April 2022, I am proud of leading a remarkable team that numbers in the double-digits for the first time. Our combined efforts through 2021 have prepared Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates to step up to serve at a scale that would have previously been unimaginable without compromise in our empathy, expertise, and care in practice.

In 2022 (and beyond), we plan to continue to expand, without compromise – following the needs of our community. We overcome challenges together, we celebrate together, and we will see the continued rise of family stability and safety here in West Michigan.

Thank you for helping to keep the light on. Undoubtedly, there are many rocks ahead and big waves, but our lighthouse will keep shining for people from across the globe, old neighbors and new, to find their way home.

Warmest regards, on behalf of LIA,

Eva S. Alexander, MM
Directora Ejecutiva

STORIES OF STRENGTH | STRENGTH IN WELCOME

Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates saw an unmet need – to coordinate the legal needs of hundreds of Afghan evacuees resettling in West Michigan – and took action to partner with refugee and immigrant-serving organizations across Michigan. As advocates, and an immigration law practice, we knew that this was the right thing needed. In the fall, LIA began intake interviews, assisted greatly by a dedicated team of volunteers, and working closely with Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, Wayne State, and resettlement agencies to coordinate the complex and time-limited opportunity to gather evidence, prepare for asylum cases, and connect with our new neighbors. The work continues in 2022 with the New Americans Legal Clinic!

The #WelcomeChallenge supported our efforts to meet the legal needs of over 300 Afghan evacuees. Signs and stickers popped up all around West Michigan, helping to welcome new Afghan neighbors in their own languages, and we raised awareness and funding for the New Americans and Operation Afghan Refuge legal clinics.

Strength in Stories shared narratives centered on the experiences of immigrants, and the strength and resilience that their journeys created. Booklists were curated by our friends at Herrick District Library, with support from the Bluestocking Bookshop, and a matching gift campaign from the Brooks Family Foundation!

2021 IMPACT SUMMARY

“I’m really amazed and grateful for the way LIA sprung into action, expanded their services and innovated wonderful ways to welcome the Afghan community arriving in Michigan this past year.”

– Lora Miyamoto Kleinsasser, LIA Board Member

2021 SUSTAINABILITY

Our annual revenue has continued to grow as awareness, demand, and need for
high-quality accessible immigration services increases in our community.

2021 Grants

In 2021, LIA was the recipient of grants from key community and family foundations, including:

Community Foundation of the Holland/ Zeeland Area
Grand Haven Area Community Foundation
Herman Miller Cares Foundation
Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance
Douglas UCC
The JSJ Foundation
The Shine Foundation
Holland Young Professionals
Old National Bank Foundation

We are grateful to these partners for their partnership to improve our community’s stability!

2021 Volunteers

Volunteers made the efforts of our office sustainable throughout 2021, and especially by serving by doing intake, hospitality, data, and admin for the OAR Clinics:

Abigaile Wichman
Adriana D’Agostini
Ben Farac
Cassie Atallah
Chad Schmucker
Cindy Bahena
Diane Perez
Diane Perez
Elizabeth Brubaker
Elizabeth Brubaker
Enrique Perez
Esther C.Fifelski
Gloria Goodwin
Guadalupe Camacho

Guadalupe Camacho
Hannah Meade
Katelyn DeReus
Katie Weatherwax
Kristen Gray
Kristi Van Howe
Maggie Haveman-Gould
Marc Poole
Noella Poinsette
Sarai Gomez
Shannon Sheridan
Tsion Weldetsadik
William Van Doornik

Become a Lightkeeper

Donate

Financial support from individuals, businesses, and churches represents the majority of our funding.

Learn more about how your annual gifts, planned gifts, and monthly contributions transform the lives and experiences of immigrants in our community at
lia-michigan.org/give

Voluntariado

Volunteers serve in traditional and specialty roles at LIA, including the board of directors, committees, events, and legal clinics.
Learn more and apply at lia-michigan.org/volunteer

Diversity is our background.

Equity is the goal.

Inclusion is our verb.

Welcoming all, always.

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Join our work. Learn more. Welcoming immigrants through access to legal services, education, and advocacy:

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