This post is also available in: Spanish
Recently, during a flurry of site-visits in which Lori, executive director of the Isabel Allende Foundation, and I visit our grantees, we stumbled upon a group working in Berkeley, Calif., called The East Bay Sanctuary Covenant. To say it was love at first sight is an understatement. First of all, you must understand that this agency works out of the basement of a church. It is as bare bones as you can get and yet still does the most amazing work. If you look up grass roots in the dictionary…okay, okay, you get the idea.
Here is what they do, in their own words:
“East Bay Sanctuary Covenant offers sanctuary, solidarity, support, community organizing assistance, advocacy and legal services to those escaping war, terror, political persecution, intolerance, exploitation and other expressions of violence. We intentionally provide opportunities for transformational learning that arise from the relationships we foster among refugees, immigrants and host communities. We join with others to understand and eliminate the causes of violence and oppression worldwide.”
Read more about the organization here. Lori and I loved them so much we insisted Isabel meet them personally. We had lunch with Executive Director Sister Maureen Duignan, Program Director Michael Smith, Staff Attorney Kaveena Singh and Farzana Ali, their amazing office manager. On the day we visited, the waiting room was full of folks seeking help and asylum.
The work East Bay Sanctuary Covenant does is truly inspiring and it is one of the agencies Isabel funds that I am profoundly happy just to know about. Consider a donation or look into volunteering opportunities by clicking here.
P.S. Isabel loved them too, AND not just because Sister Maureen was the same height as Isabel, that wasn’t why, honest!