Three immigrants, three journeys, three unforgettable stories

The personal stories of Cecil, Manika, and Brenda demonstrate just how much the immigrant experience can vary – and the reasons why New York needs to further support evolving immigrant needs. Their stories unfold as testaments to the human spirit’s capacity to overcome challenges, and the outstanding role that nonprofits can play in uplifting our communities.

They are three of the more than 150,000 migrants who arrived in New York in the last two years seeking a better life for themselves and their families. They come to this State for a better, safer, and more sustainable quality of life. While many have managed to reach their goals, the majority of new arrivals today continue to face countless legal, economic, and health challenges.

The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation produced and created the film, “Our Larger Community: Embracing New York’s New Immigrants” to explore the social determinants of health and highlight the importance of supporting nonprofits that are creating better outcomes for immigrants.

Manika's Story

Manika Gautam left Nepal to come to New York to have more equality and opportunity as a woman – she was supported by RISE (Refugee & Immigrant Self-Empowerment) in Syracuse in getting herself established in New York and securing employment.

Cecil's Story

Cecil Mongo fled Zimbabwe as a political refugee and was greeted with support from Jericho Road in Buffalo with everything from clothing to food to employment, as well as health services for his family.

Brenda's Story

Brenda Barsallo, an immigrant from Peru, was supported by Cabrini Immigrant Services in securing DACA status and a scholarship program for education.

Continuing Mother Cabrini’s Legacy through Migrant Grant Funding and Beyond

Nonprofits across New York State are on the front lines of helping meet the needs of immigrants and migrants. To support these efforts, the Foundation committed over $18 million in funding this year to equipping migrants and immigrants with the resources needed to build a stable life in New York. Over the past two years, the Foundation has awarded over 100 grants totaling $35 million to support immigrants and migrants.

Beyond awarding grants, the Foundation works intimately in partnership with grantees and community organizations to ensure we can best support them on a day to day basis. We consider it our responsibility to not only support our grantees financially but also to systematically incorporate their feedback on priority needs and challenges as we deliver grants. We also offer support to grantees in a range of areas, from program management to communications.

All these efforts serve to strengthen the nonprofit sector’s ability to deliver for immigrants and migrants, and also to ensure the Foundation’s grants are having the greatest impact possible.

Learn More

You can learn more about the three nonprofits profiled in these stories here:

And you can learn more about the Foundation’s work by visiting

Press Releases

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Understanding and Responding to Registered Nursing Shortages in Acute Care Hospitals in New York

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The AAPI Leaders Forging a Healthier, Safer New York

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Introducing – “Our Larger Community: Embracing New York’s New Immigrants”

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Mother Frances Cabrini’s Legacy, Through the Eyes of One of Her Missionaries