SVCF introduces volunteer-matching tool to improve legal services for Silicon Valley immigrants

Silicon Valley Community Foundation this week launched CONEC, a new online volunteer-matching tool tailored to meet the needs of nonprofit organizations that provide legal services to immigrants in Silicon Valley.

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This tool fills a niche where no such tailored service existed. -- Manuel Santamaría, SVCF vice president of strategic initiatives and grantmaking

Mountain View, California (PRWEB) September 04, 2014

Online “CONEC” pairs volunteers with nonprofit legal services organizations in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties

Silicon Valley Community Foundation this week launched CONEC, a new online volunteer-matching tool tailored to meet the needs of nonprofit organizations that provide legal services to immigrants in Silicon Valley.

In creating the online CONEC service, SVCF worked with a network of 15 nonprofit organizations that offer an array of legal services to low-income immigrants, from guidance through the citizenship process to low-cost legal representation. CONEC allows would-be volunteers to quickly match their skills, location and availability with the many needs of the nonprofit legal services groups.

“This tool fills a niche where no such tailored service existed,” said Manuel Santamaría, SVCF’s vice president of strategic initiatives and grantmaking. “CONEC will help legal service organizations be more efficient and allow more volunteers with legal expertise to help our neighbors.”

Government data indicate that there are at least 200,000 low-income immigrants living in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties who need these services. Anticipating that an eventual federal overhaul of immigration rules will result in even greater need, SVCF has focused a segment of its immigration-related grantmaking on strengthening the network of legal services available to these residents.

“This tool will help us efficiently match qualified volunteers with opportunities to provide services, enabling thousands of people to become more productive members of their Bay Area communities” Ellen Dumesnil, executive director of the International Institute of the Bay Area. The nonprofit organization, which has six Bay Area offices, will manage and coordinate CONEC with SVCF.

The development of the online tool grew out of two events sponsored by SVCF in 2013 to generate new ideas for strengthening immigration-related legal services through the use of technology tools.

More than one-third of the 2.5 million residents of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties are immigrants and almost two-thirds of those under the age of 18 are children of immigrants. Immigrant entrepreneurs have contributed considerably to innovation and job creation in Silicon Valley, and nearly half our workforce is foreign born.

Our region’s continued prosperity and quality of life depend on our ability to create communities that recognize immigrants as assets and that honor our shared values of family, hard work and opportunity for all. SVCF believes that this requires that we address the insufficient number of effective English-language learning, job training and legal services for immigrants, which are not adequate to meet current need, let alone the potential demand that would result from comprehensive immigration reform. To read more about SVCF’s grantmaking strategy on immigrant integration, click here.

Visit http://www.conec.us to use the new volunteer-matching tool.

About Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Silicon Valley Community Foundation makes all forms of philanthropy more powerful. We serve as a catalyst and leader for innovative solutions to our region’s most challenging problems, and through our donors we award more money to charities than any other community foundation in the United States. SVCF has more than $4.7 billion in assets under management. As Silicon Valley’s center of philanthropy, we provide thousands of individuals, families and corporations with simple and effective ways to give locally and around the world. Find out more at http://www.siliconvalleycf.org.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Sue McAllister, Marketing Director 650.450.5513 or sjmcallister@siliconvalleycf.org