HIAS Pennsylvania has been awarded a $160,000 grant by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency in charge of immigration, to create a network of English and citizenship classes.
These courses will serve a number of Philadelphia neighborhoods that are home to a high concentration of immigrants.
The grant — the only one awarded to a Pennsylvania group — will allow HIAS to oversee a new partnership called the Philadelphia Citizenship Action Network, which will also involve several other groups, including the New World Association and the Indo-Chinese American Council.
“We are citizenship experts and they are literacy experts,” said Judith Bernstein-Baker, executive director of HIAS.
Bernstein-Baker said that the two-year grant will also ensure the continuation of a citizenship class for senior citizens at the Klein JCC in Northeast Philadelphia that had been on the chopping block due to a reduction in funds.
In July, HIAS’ funding from the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia was cut from $37,000 to $30,000.
On Sept. 17, Immigration Services announced a total of $5 million in grants to 31 organizations in 21 states.