The East Bay Refugee and Immigrant Forum (EBRIF) was established in 1978 as the East Bay Refugee Forum in response to a large influx of Southeast Asian refugees, changing its name in 2018. We are a coalition of over 35 agencies, organizations, advocates and community leaders serving refugees, asylees, Special Immigrant Visa holders and others permanently displaced from their home countries by persecution, violence, or war who now seek refuge in the San Francisco East Bay. EBRIF includes government agencies, resettlement and other non-profit organizations, community-based groups, members of the refugee community, and individual advocates and community leaders.
As a coalition, the EBRIF is dedicated to:
• Strengthening overall resettlement through collaborative knowledge resource sharing and increased coordination of services among a broad array of service providers.
• Identifying and addressing the personal and systematic challenges faced by new arrivals.
• Providing resource knowledge, cross-referrals, and tools to empower advocacy among new arrivals as well as service providers.
• Raising public awareness of refugees, asylees and SIVs on all governmental and societal levels.
• Engaging the general public in building a welcoming community inclusive of refugees and asylees.
We provide a formal channel for networking and information sharing across the service realms (to include resettlement, legal, education, employment, health, mental health, and the social safety net) through bi-monthly meetings, frequent list serve announcements, and centralization of resource knowledge for new arrivals as well as service providers.
As a collaborative, the EBRIF makes the best use of existing resources to help safely integrate new arrivals into their communities and to facilitate and enable our newest members to live healthy and fulfilling lives.
Vision, Values, and Strategies
East Bay Refugee and Immigrant Forum’s vision promotes the following:
Refugee, asylee and immigrant individuals, families, and communities fulfill their promise and successfully pursue their dreams in a society where stigma, racism and discrimination are remnants of the past.
We acknowledge that the individuals, families and communities we support flee persecution for being who they are. Whether it is because of their ethnicity or race, ancestral background, beliefs or religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, globalization, climate change or war, they have had to leave their homelands because they were not allowed to exist as they were. The East Bay Refugee and Immigrant Forum supports all displaced peoples and invites organizations and communities to join us in this radical welcoming.
• Person and Family Centered – We promote culturally responsive person-and-family centered services and supports.
• Potential – We are inspired by the individuals and families we serve, their achievements and potential as new members of our communities.
• Power – The people, families, and communities we support guide the care we provide, shape policies and practices, and are supported in building their leadership and elevating their voices in society.
• Partnerships – We can achieve our mission and progress towards our vision only through mutual and respectful partnerships and collaboration that enhance our capabilities and build our capacity.
Welcoming and Belonging. Create a culture that supports a sense for individuals, family members and communities that “I am welcome here and belong.” Equity and Access. Refugees, asylees and immigrants are able to access culturally and linguistically appropriate services and supports they need in achieving self-sufficiency, health and well-being in their new community.
Resources and Knowledge. Create an environment where resources and information are readily available for refugees, asylees and immigrants, and those who support their healthy integration into our shared community.
Collaboration. Working together we are most effective in both meeting the needs of newcomers and in modeling community values and shared purpose.
Opportunities. Create opportunities for newcomers to our community to participate in community life.
Thriving. Create a community where refugees, asylees and immigrants thrive and contribute to community life in every aspect.
Advocacy. Serve as one voice for making visible the needs, challenges and value of refugees, asylees and immigrants in our community, and for necessary changes that reduce barriers to their healthy inclusion in our communities.
EBRIF Leadership Team
The EBRIF has an active Voluntary Steering Committee which determines the strategic direction of the Forum. Current Steering Committee members have expertise in the realms of primary resettlement, education, employment programs, health care, behavioral health care, legal services, workforce development and public safety net delivery pertinent to the refugee populations in the East Bay. Service providers, new arrival community members and advocates are encouraged to use the East Bay Refugee and Immigrant Forum Steering Committee INPUT FORM regarding any current, local resettlement issues. The Steering Committee will review input at each bi-monthly meeting to help drive the course of work undertaken by the EBRIF. Return the form to the Steering Committee Chair, Jodi de la Peña, via email:email@example.com or any one of the Steering Committee members listed below:
Jodi de la Peña (Chair), Executive Director, Burma Refugee Families and Newcomers, firstname.lastname@example.org
Adam Down, Administration, Contra Costa County Behavioral Health Services, Adam.Down@hsd.cccounty.us
Cheryl Narvaez, Program Specialist, Prevention/Early Intervention (PEI) – Mental Health Service Act (MHSA) Division, Cheryl.Narvaez@acgov.org
Nicole Germanov, Program and Volunteer Manager, Refugee Transitions, Nicole@reftrans.org
Robin Gurung, Executive Director, Asian Refugees United, email@example.com
Ari Jones, Pride Law Fund, Tom Steel Fellowship, Oasis Legal Services, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sean Kirkpatrick, Coordinator, East Bay Refugee Forum, email@example.com
Ingrid Ovelar Laterza, Legal Services Supervisor, Catholic Charities of the East Bay, firstname.lastname@example.org
Christine Lemonda, Deputy Director, International Rescue Committee of Northern California, Christine.Lemonda@rescue.org
Sambo Ly, Director of Refugee Health Assessment Services and Director of Interpreter Services, Alameda Health System, email@example.com
Sally McFalone, Linguistic Access Services, Contra Costa County Health Services, Sally.McFalone@hsd.cccounty.us
Ballav Poudyel, Refugee Program Coordinator and Global Career Development Facilitator, Lao Family Community Development Inc., firstname.lastname@example.org
Ali Saidi, Deputy Public Defender Immigration Attorney, Director, Stand Together Contra Costa, Ali.Saidi@pd.cccounty.us
Guenet Sebsibe, Ethiopian community leader, email@example.com
Amy Weiss, Director of Refugee & Immigrant Services, Jewish Family and Community Services – East Bay, firstname.lastname@example.org
Become a Member
To become a member, agencies agree to abide by the Forum Bylaws as well as contribute an annual membership fee per agency.
Membership dues are structured as follows:
o Under $200,000: $50/yr
o $200k-$999,999: $100/yr
o $1m- $2,999,999: $200/yr
o $3m+: $300/yr
o Public systems are exempted
Please contact the Forum Coordinator, Sean Kirkpatrick, if your agency is interested in becoming an active member or to request a membership fee invoice at email@example.com
For the agency member list please see our Member Directory
Forum Fiscal Sponsor: Lao Family Community Development, Inc.