2020 Annual Report | Plain Text version

April 5, 2021
What's New at CIRC
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Dear CIRC community,

To look back on 2020 is to see sharply and poignantly what divides us – and how we come together to care for each other – in Colorado and our country. As we emerge (hopefully) from the global pandemic and the sustained attacks against immigrants that were a hallmark of the Trump Administration, we see so much power and beauty in our communities as they respond to the structural inequalities we continue living within. “Justice for all” remains elusive for immigrants, and especially Black and Brown immigrants, but our communities continue to build their voice and leadership.

2020 tested CIRC. Despite the pain of losing loved ones to the pandemic and the economic hardship it wrought, our staff, our members and our board rose to the challenges of the year. You will see within this report the valiant and sustained efforts of an organization deeply committed to lifting each other up, caring for each other and our communities, and making change to benefit immigrants and all of us. We are all in this together, and we can never forget that.

We are proud of what we have accomplished, and of what our members have accomplished in their regions around the state.  None of what we are working for happens in isolation. We are so grateful for the community partners we work closely with, and for the donors and funders who support our work.

Even as we prepare to celebrate CIRC’s 20 year anniversary in 2022, we joyously put our minds, our bodies and our hearts to the work of building justice for immigrants, led by those who are directly impacted by the policies we work for. Thank you for your interest in and support of CIRC!

¡Adelante! Onward to victory,

Lisa Duran, Executive Director, and Jossy Martinez, Board President

Fighting for Progress

Since 2002, we have built a unified voice to defend and advance justice for all immigrants and refugees in Colorado and the United States.

The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) is a statewide membership-based coalition of immigrant, faith, labor, youth and ally organizations. We advance immigrant justice through capacity building, non-partisan civic engagement, strategic communications, defending against unjust detentions and deportations, and winning fair and humane public policies.

Justice doesn’t just happen. It is fought for and won, and we are committed to the fight for justice until the end.

Getting out the Vote

In 2020, we decided to move all voter engagement activities over to our partner organization CIRC Action Fund to build its primary purpose ahead of the elections. CIRC continued to lead some Get Out The Vote efforts by forming a member-led committee to create a pro-immigrant and refugee civic engagement video that was widely distributed throughout the final weeks of October leading up to the 2020 presidential election. The video informed eligible immigrant and PoC voters in Colorado about the power of their vote and the importance of participating in democracy. It was distributed over social media, radio, and through member shares targeting low and mid-level propensity voters and immigrants. The video was shared by email as part of a “Get Out the Vote Toolkit” that also included infographics on how to vote in Colorado, motivating voter engagement quotes, statistics about New American voters, and a guide of ballot measures we supported.  The last report showed that it had over 814,795 impressions and a reach of 92,145.

Census Work

Due to COVID, CIRC’s regional organizers had to cancel in-person events and organize digital assistance and outreach events over Zoom and Facebook, reaching hundreds of viewers. Our North Regional Organizer also provided support at 2 Drive-Thru car events, reaching around 350 people in person. Our Mountain Organizer also organized a Drive-Thru car event reaching 150 individuals. Since most families were Spanish-speaking, the regional organizers answered their questions and explained the importance of filling out the census in Spanish.

CIRC also produced a video on the Census targeted at immigrants and refugees in hard to count areas across Colorado. This video has been viewed 3,800 times. CIRC also organized two census phone banks and reached out to 625 people. In August, our Comms Team organized a Census Month of Action and prepared a census digital toolkit to educate the general public and more specifically immigrant communities. We posted widely on social media and sent email blasts to our subscribers. Some of the census posts were memes, which allowed us to engage a younger audience. Our census social media posts garnered 55,282 views from March through September.

Citizenship Starts Here

By the numbers:

In 2020, we served over 1,500 people by providing legal consultations and assistance with naturalization applications, DACA renewals, green card applications, and LLC support. This included 441 naturalization applications, 275 DACA renewals, 89 Green card applications, 183 requests for LLC support, 550 legal consultations, and 9 citizenship workshops. This past election, 105 citizens whom CIRC supported in the naturalization process voted.

Many of the people we serve have limited access to technology and online resources. Those that do have smartphones often have limited data and depend on public Wi-Fi to use their devices. Due to COVID, CIRC launched a project focused on remote naturalization by renting Sprint tablets to Legal Permanent Residents ready to naturalize. The tablets provided individuals with technology, access to the internet, and pre-uploaded tutorial videos in multiple languages which allowed them to fill out the N400 form on their own through Citizenshipworks.

Rights and Resistance

ICE hotline: The Colorado Rapid Response Network (CORRN) and Docuteam work to help those being targeted by ICE. In 2020, CORRN received 94 calls on our ICE Activity hotline, provided emergency response to immigrants in crisis, collected data, and responded to increased ICE Enforcement through its network of over 1,000 volunteers. CIRC’s Docuteam responded to all non-emergency hotline calls, documented the stories of 41 community members’ interactions with ICE, and organized 3 meetings with sheriffs.

CIRC is proud to be part of CORRN, along with AFSC, COPA, Mi Familia Vota, Padres y Jóvenes Unidos, Together Colorado, and UNE.

Know Your Rights Workshops: Know Your Rights trainings help community members understand their rights when faced with arrest. CIRC conducted workshops across the state, arming over 200 people with vital knowledge.

SB 251 Program: In 2020, we continued to support this work and assisted 410 individuals in the Denver area in obtaining a driver’s license.

Changing laws to change lives

CIRC is committed to ensuring that our Colorado elected officials are supporting immigrant and refugee communities. A vital part of our work is advocating for legislation that uplifts these populations. We are proud to report that 2020 was another year of legislative victories.

Key legislative victories in 2020:

  • Supported the passage of SB20-083 “Prohibit Courthouse Civil Arrests”, protecting undocumented Coloradans from being detained by immigration if they are inside, leaving, or coming to or from a courthouse. Members of CIRC’s Docuteam provided testimony for SB20-83 and rallied community members to attend.
  • After significant pressure and organizing by the I Drive Coalition, Meyer Law Office and Senator Julie Gonzalez, Governor Polis signed an executive guidance on data privacy on May 20, 2020.  The executive guidance on data privacy ensures that executive branch departments and agencies have policies that protect consumer data and privacy, including when handling requests for information from federal government agencies such as ICE.
  • Our Legal Defense Fund campaign gained important traction and resonated with our legislative leaders, including support from the Governor’s office. We got the City of Denver to commit $500,000 to the Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund. We were unable to introduce a bill in 2020, so we focused on a local approach to build momentum and have been working with local governments in Aurora, Boulder, and Fort Collins to build support for this critical resource.

We supported the passage of SB20B-002 – Housing And Direct COVID Emergency Assistance in December 2020. This bill grants $54 million in emergency housing assistance, $1 million in legal eviction aid, and $5 million to individuals who are ineligible for other forms of relief, such as unemployment insurance, food assistance or the one-time $1,200 payment from the federal government.

Shaping Leaders

CIRC weaves leadership development throughout every facet of our work. Many of those that are directly impacted end up becoming CIRC members, serving on the Board, joining as staff, testifying with their personal story in front of their state and national representatives, and even running for and winning public office.

  • 200+ Latinx attendees from all over Colorado come together at the State Capitol for Latino/a Advocacy Day, of which CIRC is a co-convener.
  • 150 delegates from our 90+ member organizations came together at our annual Member Assembly, which took place virtually for the first time. CIRC organized trainings on Anti-blackness; ICE out of Colorado— Does Defunding the Police play a role?; Grant writing, Local Resiliency Amid a Pandemic, Community Organizing in Times of Crisis; Legal Defense Fund; among others.
  • Over 50 community leaders have been actively involved in CIRC’s Legal Defense Fund, I-Drive, and Federal steering committees.
  • CIRC formed a member-led committee to create a pro-immigrant and refugee civic engagement video that was widely distributed throughout the final weeks of October leading up to the election.
  • In August, CIRC organized a communications training on ecosystems of influence, messages for impact, shaping narratives, and values-based messaging. In September, CIRC organized a training on “How a bill becomes a law”. In October, we partnered with CIRC Action Fund to do a ballot breakdown of measures we supported. We also organized a training on “How to have an effective legislator meeting & Values based messaging”. In November, we also facilitated a training on “Colorado Legislature 101”.

Members Leading

CIRC’s members are the driving force of our mission, and we are continuously humbled by the incredible work they do everyday in their regions for immigrants in Colorado. In 2020, even in the face of deeply challenging circumstances, our members did incredible things for their communities throughout the five regions across the state.

Member highlights:

  • Western Slope: The Hispanic Affairs Project (HAP) serves the immigrant community in the Western Slope. During the pandemic, HAP expanded their immigration legal assistance program increasing the number of people served by 25%, and creating the Western Colorado Immigrant Relief Fund. HAP was able to provide critical resources and direct assistance to 100 undocumented families in 2020 while advocating for them with legislators and local agencies.
  • Mountain Region: AJUA (Asociación de Jóvenes Unidos en Acción/Association of Youth United in Action) is a youth-led, immigrant rights and social justice advocacy organization that encourages access and removes barriers to education within the immigrant community. AJUA supports undocumented students in realizing their academic and career goals by building relationships between immigrants and their community. In 2020, AJUA was instrumental in providing much-needed support in the food drives in Garfield county during the pandemic. Their hard work is thanks to the passionate youth that make up the organization.
  • Northern Region: Centennial BOCES runs the Migrant Education Program in 14 school districts across Northern Colorado. In 2020, BOCES arose to the challenge of the pandemic in unique ways by hosting socially-distant “drive-thru” events to share resources and Know Your Rights information, celebrating holidays like “Día de los niños”, registering people for P-EBT relief, referring families to emergency COVID-19 resources, and more. From Estes Park to Yuma, BOCES was able to put a smile on all of our faces.
  • South Region: Noraly Hernandez was a founding member of Lamar Unidos, where she constantly organized and supported her local community. Soon after the the pandemic began, Noraly saw the ways in which immigrants were being disproportionately and systematically impacted. Along with other Lamar Unidos members, she led the charge to organize and provide direct aid to struggling immigrants in rural, Southeastern Colorado. On January 29, 2021, Noraly passed away from health complications. Lamar Unidos and CIRC will forever honor Noraly’s energy and legacy.
  • Denver Region: The Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) fights for the reproductive health of Coloradan women of color. In 2020, COLOR Partnered with Lyft and CIRC to provide free transportation to necessities for community members in response to the pandemic. They were able to support 290 individuals in need of a ride to get to work, buy groceries, visit a healthcare provider and more.

Uplifting the truth

Nativism and xenophobia are fueled by harmful and false narratives about immigrants and refugees. CIRC strives to combat this by uplifting real narratives from the community to tell the truth about immigrants throughout Colorado and the United States. Through online, televised, and print media, our outreach grows every year bringing truthful realities and inspiring stories into the public consciousness.

This year, CIRC achieved 242 earned media publications, totaling $149,000 in value; we grew our email subscriber list to include 8,324 people; we had 26,244 Facebook followers by the end of the year; and our average social media reach was 226,825 people.

2020 Financials

Our income came from the following sources:

  • Foundations – 84%
  • Individual donors – 7%
  • CIRC Action cost share – 6%
  • Special events – 1%
  • Other income – .7%
  • Organizational contributions – .6%
  • Fee for service – .5%
  • Membership dues – .3%

Our program expenses fell into the following categories:

  • Civic engagement – 27%
  • Community Organizing – 20%
  • Comms – 13%
  • Assembly – 9%
  • ICE Resistance – 7%
  • Legal services – 7%
  • Legal Defense Fund – 5%
  • Professional Dev – 4%
  • Board – 4%
  • Census – 2%
  • Driver’s licenses – 2%
  • Fed Immig Reform – 1%
  • Anti-O    – 1%

2020 Donors

Immigrant justice advances in Colorado with the generous support of our funders and donors who understand how critical our work is. Our immigrant communities thrive when they can live in a society that is welcoming, free, and just. We warmly thank those who support us in fighting to make this a reality.

Institutional Donors:

Bamboo Fund

Bohemian Foundation

Boulder Book Store

Boulder Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends

Brett Family Foundation

California Community Foundation

Center for Community Change

Center for Health Progress

Chinook Fund

Colorado Fiscal Institute

Colorado Health Foundation

Colorado Trust

Community Foundation Boulder County

Community United Church of Christ

Denver Foundation

First Congregational Church of Boulder

Gateway Fund II at the Denver Foundation

Gilligan-Kline Fund

FE and SB Payne Foundation

Fidelity Charitable

Four Freedoms Fund

General Service Foundation

Guenther Fund of the Community Foundation

Hazel’s Beverage World

Hunger Free Colorado

Immigrant Legal Resource Center

Impact Charitable

Jordy Construction


Lamar Unidos

Latino Community Foundation of Colorado

League of Women Voters of Boulder County

Lor Foundation

L.P. Brown Foundation

Mann & Maximon, LLC

Marigold Project

Merle Chambers Fund

Meyer Law Office

Milstein Law Office

National Immigration Law Center

National Partnership for New Americans

Norris Family Fund


ProgressNOW Colorado

Ready Foods

Renaissance Charitable Foundation

Rocky Mountain Synod ELCA

Rogers-Berman Family Fund

Rose Community Foundation

Sage Fund

San Francisco Foundation

SEIU Local 105

Schwab Charitable

Silicon Valley Community Foundation

South Asian Bar Association of Colorado

Summit Foundation

The Michael Kalan Memorial Fund of InFaith Community Foundation

Tides Foundation

Tres Margaritas

Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock

UU Church of Boulder

Vanguard Charitable

Vera Institute of Justice

Western Union

We strive to be as accurate as possible with our list of current donors. If we made an error, please let us know by calling 303-922-3344 or emailing

Individual Donor Spotlight: Susan Moore

Susan Moore has lived in and operated a dairy farm in beautiful Fort Collins for nearly forty years. Working with immigrant employees has provided her a close-up education on racism in the United States and has kept her working for social justice.

Part of this work means supporting the mission of CIRC by donating. CIRC’s SB-251 program to provide undocumented Coloradans with driver’s licenses as well as our work to combat racism and fight for justice are what motivates Susan to give. Thanks to her generosity, our work is able to continue.

Support us

Join the CIRCle of Friends by signing up for a recurring donation. Your donation will help support CIRC’s mission to improve the lives of immigrants and refugees by making Colorado a more welcoming, immigrant-friendly state.

Other ways to join:

Are you a federal employee?

The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is the largest and most successful workplace charitable giving drive in the world. CFC is the only authorized charitable organization solicitation of Federal employees in their workplaces. CFC is structured to support and to promote philanthropy through a voluntary program that is cost-efficient and effective in providing all Federal employees the opportunity to impact the CFC charitable interest of their choosing. CFC Code: 50563

Start a workplace campaign

Community Shares connects Coloradans to charities and causes they care about most. Workplace giving campaigns provide an opportunity for employees and company leadership to work together on an annual drive to inspire charitable community investment. Giving campaigns are fun and team building, uniting the company’s employees around a common goal. Inviting employees to give through paycheck contributions is a benefit that increases a company’s positive impact on the community while respecting individual employees’ desire to express themselves by choosing their favorite charitable recipients.

Colorado Gives Day

Join Colorado Gives Day, one of the largest one-day giving movements in the country. Each December, Coloradans come together with the common goal to strengthen the community by helping to power nonprofits. Community First Foundation and FirstBank partner to make this day rewarding for givers, nonprofits and the community as a whole. Every nonprofit receiving a donation on Colorado Gives Day receives a portion of the fund, increasing the value of every dollar donated.

Tap into micro-donations with Roundit

Give your spare change to CIRC with Roundit: a quick, simple, secure way to support our work. How it works: once your account is set up, Roundit will round up the change from your everyday purchases to donate to CIRC. You can change how much to round up or set a monthly giving limit anytime

Connect with Friends

Host a fundraiser on your favorite social media platform and let your friends and family know about CIRC! Fundraising on Facebook or other platforms is an easy and great way to get your friends and family active and involved in supporting CIRC’s mission and goals.

Want to have fun and raise money?

Host a fundraiser at your home or at a restaurant with a percentage of proceeds benefiting CIRC.

Planned giving

Through gift planning, you can choose a method of giving that protects your family’s needs and offers greater tax savings. Stock donations allow you to support CIRC while avoiding paying the capital gains tax on any appreciated stocks, increasing the impact of your gift.

Our Coalition

We could not have achieved so much in 2020 without our membership coalition. Our members form a diverse and multicultural group of national and local non-profits, community groups, faith organizations, foundations and advocacy partners throughout Colorado ensuring that our work reaches every part of the state.