CASA is an Advocacy, Organizing and Services Organization That Serves Immigrant and Working People

 With $1M in Funding from The Rockefeller Foundation and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, CASA Will Launch a Training Institute to Share its Model and Expand its Reach to Improve Quality of Life and Build Power in More Communities Across the U.S.

Langley Park, Maryland – The Rockefeller Foundation and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative today announced that CASA will receive a $1 million grant as part of the Communities Thrive Challenge— a $10-million effort to expand economic opportunity for low-income and financially insecure people and communities across the country. The Langley Park-based organization is one of 10 grantees — from nine states and Puerto Rico — selected because of their demonstrated success and potential for future impact.

CASA is the largest Latino and immigrant-based organization in the mid-Atlantic, working to organize, advocate for, and expand opportunities for immigrants and working people. CASA does this through employment placement; workforce development and training; health education; citizenship and legal services; and financial, language, and literacy training married with community organizing, advocacy, and civic engagement. Since 1985, CASA has worked tirelessly to bring immigrant communities out of the shadows and into greater power, dignity, and legitimacy. CASA and nine other grantees of the Communities Thrive Challenge will receive $1 million to scale their solutions, as well as best-in-class technical assistance.

“CASA fights to create a more just society for working-class and immigrant communities by building power and improving the quality of life for our members,” said Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of CASA. “A grant from the Communities Thrive Challenge gives us the unique opportunity to share our model in more places — helping organizations working with under-served and vulnerable populations across the country build their capacity.”

“The enthusiasm for the Communities Thrive Challenge was just off the charts from local organizations like CASA, demonstrating a real hunger to share what’s working for the benefit of all Americans,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, president of The Rockefeller Foundation. “By working together to invest in local solutions, we can build an America where all people can earn enough to support their families, achieve financial security, and provide their children with more opportunities. “

 “These organizations are creating pathways to opportunity from the ground up. We’ve already learned a lot from these local leaders and hope that others around the country will find useful lessons in these community-driven approaches,” said Priscilla Chan, co-Founder of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

 Since launching in April, the Communities Thrive Challenge received an incredible 1,826 applications from that spanned all 50 states, D.C., and 4 of 5 U.S. territories. To ensure that community leaders had a voice in the decision making, applications were reviewed and scored by five other applicants in a peer review process.

Following the peer review process, over 80 were chosen for evaluation by a diverse panel of experts from academia, policy, business, philanthropy, and community development. Informed by expert and peer review, 20 finalists were selected for the final round. After extensive interviews, site-visits and reviews, the 10 grantees, including CASA were chosen.

Applications were evaluated based on four main criteria:

  1. Impact: Does the approach improve the lives of the communities where it works?
  2. Potential for scale: Could this approach be effective at a larger scale or become a model for others?
  3. Community based/informed: How deep is the organization embedded within the community it serves?
  4. Leadership: Is the organization led by individuals with a strong history in and commitment to their field and do they represent the communities served?

For the final round, teams from The Rockefeller Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative visited each of the 20 finalists, including CASA in Langley Park, MD to learn more about their work and visions for the future. The Rockefeller Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative then selected the final slate of grantees who will each receive a $1 million grant and technical assistance tailored to their needs.

The Rockefeller Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative are expected to release a public, searchable database of eligible applicants by this week so that other funders, policy makers and leaders can learn from these standout approaches.



 About CASA:

CASA is the largest Latino and immigrant organization in the Mid-Atlantic region. Its mission is to create a more just society by building power and improving the quality of life in working class and immigrant communities.  Originally founded in 1985, and now with nearly 100,000 members in the larger DC metro area (spanning DC, Maryland, Virginia and South Central Pennsylvania), CASA utilizes a membership model to meaningfully engage members on issues that directly impact their lives. CASA’s work starts with immigrant and working-class families, directly serving over 37,000 people annually, while simultaneously working to transform communities and impact the regional and national debate on immigrants and public policy. CASA directly addresses racial disparities in the areas of economic well-being, health and safety, and educational achievement through a comprehensive array of programs that include services, education, and organizing.

 About The Rockefeller Foundation:

For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today the Foundation is focused on securing the fundamentals of human well-being—health, food, power, and jobs—to ensure every family experiences dignity and opportunity in our rapidly urbanizing world. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot—or will not. For more information, please

About Chan Zuckerberg Initiative:

Founded by Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in 2015, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a new kind of philanthropy that’s leveraging technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges – from eradicating disease, to improving education, to reforming the criminal justice system. Across three core Initiative focus areas of Science, Education and Justice & Opportunity, we’re pairing engineering with grant-making, impact investing, policy and advocacy work to help build an inclusive, just and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit