Lifting Barriers

Family photo in the park

Dear Friends & Allies,

Fiscal year 2019 was a pivotal year for Canal Alliance. With your partnership, we implemented the first year of our new strategic plan, making great strides in areas that are critical to improving economic outcomes for Latino immigrants and their families.

At the heart of our mission is the commitment to providing direct services in areas most needed by immigrants to overcome poverty. Our primary strategy is to offer immigration legal services and education programs that help clients obtain work authorization, citizenship and employment. To address the many barriers and challenges our clients face, we also offer social and behavioral health services.

To extend support for adults who have work authorization but lack a clear pathway to employment, we launched a new workforce development program. Our first pilot programs supported motivated students to access fast-track, intensive English classes and a job training program leading to career-path employment in the construction industry.

We published our first policy agenda and engaged in new efforts to change local policies and systems. We developed and launched the Canal Alliance mobile app to provide community members with a platform to voice their opinions on issues that impact them. We are also leading efforts to ensure that the 2020 Census includes an accurate and complete count of all at-risk communities in Marin County.

While we respond to the needs in our community, we are also preparing for the future. To ensure Canal Alliance remains scalable and sustainable, we are committed to achieving a positive net surplus on an annual basis, maintaining positive cash flow, and contributing to our cash reserves. In fiscal year 2019, we achieved a net surplus of $292,000 and increased our reserves to $2.1M, ensuring we have the resources to support continued program operations despite fluctuations in the economy.

We could not have realized these achievements without your trust and investment in our mission. Together, we are making Marin a place where everyone can live, work and succeed.

Thank you,

Nelson Lee
President, Board of Directors

Omar Carrera
Chief Executive Officer

Social Services

Man with a kid playing with soccer ball

Family Stability

The Canal Alliance Social Services team helps individuals and families access resources to support their safety, health and wellness, and financial stability.

Meet Oscar & Alexander

Strengthening Family Stability

Canal Alliance Case Managers provide direct social services to immigrants and their families, many of whom walk into our office for the first time with a look of trepidation – they have been through so much. As they sit down with us, we make a point of first asking, “¿Cómo le fue?”, or, “how was your journey?” We know this can be a painful topic, but when we ask about their experience, many people visibly relax as they sense our genuine concern for their well-being. Our goal is to develop a relationship with them so they trust us to be a true partner in the work of building their new lives.

Oscar and his seven-year-old son, Alexander are just one example of the recently arrived families that we work with every day. They arrived in San Rafael after spending two weeks in ‘la hielera’, or ‘the icebox’, which are freezing cold rooms at detention centers where officials place immigrants to pressure them into rescinding their asylum claims and leaving the United States. The room was so cold that Oscar and his son had to hold tight throughout the day just to stay warm. Oscar told Canal Alliance Case Managers, “my biggest fear was that they’d take my son away. I wouldn’t wish what happened to us on anyone.”

For Oscar and Alexander, it was essential that they received prompt medical care, especially since so many people have gotten sick at detention centers. Our Case Managers referred them to the community health clinic and ensured that Alexander received his immunizations. They are now getting to work on pursuing the dreams that brought them to the United States: Oscar is learning English through our Adult and Career Education program, and we’ve helped Oscar enroll Alexander in school. He is excited to be attending school as a second grader.

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Individuals & families

Accessed our Food Pantry an average of 7 times.

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Received Behavioral Health Services by our licensed clinical staff.

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individuals & families

Received support and resources to strengthen individual and family stability.

Immigration Legal Services

Family photo

Supporting New U.S. Citizens

Canal Alliance is the only provider of affordable and comprehensive immigration legal services in Marin County.

Meet The Garcia Family

Supporting New U.S. Citizens

The Garcia Family’s journey to a more stable future began 14 years ago with their escape from poverty and violence in Guatemala. After living in the U.S. with undocumented status for four years while raising a small child and working three housekeeping jobs to help support her family, Maria Garcia was referred to Canal Alliance.

As her first point of contact, a Case Manager on our Social Services team welcomed Maria, and became a long-term ally that helped support and empower her, and her husband, Rodolfo, to access resources and navigate the unfamiliar community and culture in which they found themselves.

In the months that followed, the Garcias met regularly with our team of Case Managers, who helped the family address their most urgent needs while also supporting them to develop a path toward achieving their long-term goals. The Garcias received support from our Behavioral Health team to address the trauma they’d experienced in Guatemala and during their journey to the U.S., and from our Immigration Legal Services team to help them secure work permits.

Over time, the Garcias began to reap the benefits of their hard work. With work authorization, they secured regular employment, and with more consistent work hours, they were able to enroll in our English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. As a result of their increased bilingual skills, Maria and Rodolfo both earned promotions at work, which provided them with the higher incomes they needed to secure more stable housing by purchasing their first home. Since then, the Garcias have had two more children who now attend San Rafael City Schools.

In 2018, with help from our Immigration Legal Services team, Maria and Rodolfo finally achieved their dreams of becoming US Citizens.

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950 individuals received consultations and 570 were represented.

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Secured assistance to file naturalization applications.

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Attended 40 outreach and education events.

College Access & Success

Graduate with her mom

Boosting College Success

University Prep (UP!) is a college access and success program that supports Latino students from immigrant families to prepare for and complete a four-year college degree.

Meet Eneida

Boosting College Success

With support from UP!, Eneida recently graduated in Winter 2018 from the University of Redlands and received a BA in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

After immigrating to the United States, Eneida’s parents dreamed of a stable future for her and her siblings – a future where they didn’t have to worry about walking down the street to the store, where they didn’t have to work double-time to make ends meet, where they wouldn’t be taken advantage of, and where they could give their children a strong support system and see them flourish.

While her parents gave their children everything they could, they knew they couldn’t guide them through the most important system to break the cycle of poverty: higher education.

Eneida became part of the Canal Alliance UP! program in 2011, when she started her first year of high school. She has received invaluable support from the Canal Alliance staff – from tutors who helped her succeed in her AP classes to financial aid that allowed her to receive the best education.

Today, Eneida hopes to become a Nurse Practitioner and to practice in a community clinic where she can use her bilingual skills to communicate with the Latino community help prevent health disparities.

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Participated in University Prep (UP!), our college access and success program.

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Personalized tutoring provided to 74 UP! students in grades 6-12.

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Awarded in college scholarships to 44 students.

Workforce Development

Construction worker

Fostering Career Access & Success

Canal Alliance provides Career Education, including English classes and workforce development, to help adults secure career-path employment.

Meet Eduardo

Fostering Career Access and Success

Surrounded by violence, desperation and poverty, Eduardo made the seemingly impossible decision to leave Honduras for the U.S., where his paternal grandmother was living in San Rafael. Taking buses, walking and hitchhiking over 2,300 miles, it took him seven months to get to the U.S. border.

Once Eduardo arrived in the U.S., he spent three months in a detention center while his grandmother worked to get him out. In addition to the impacts of trauma he experienced, Eduardo felt lost and lacked a sense of purpose. He wanted to build a new life in the U.S., but he didn’t know how.

Eduardo found hope at Canal Alliance. While attending ESL classes to improve his English skills, staff soon noticed he was struggling and recommended that Eduardo make an appointment with our Immigration Legal Services department.

After working with Eduardo to explore his rights and options for obtaining legal status and work authorization, Immigration Legal Services staff helped him secure a work permit and referred him to a partner agency that offers paid job skills training, employment, and the opportunity to earn a GED.

As a result of the assistance provided by Canal Alliance, Eduardo has experienced a profound turnaround in his outlook and his confidence in pursuing his goals. Having a work permit allows him to envision a real future in the U.S.

He has become a motivated, enthusiastic student and employee, seeking out opportunities for growth and advancement, and now dreams about becoming a park ranger or a fireman. He recently expressed his gratitude to staff, saying, “I realize I don’t have to be sad all the time – I can be happy. You guys gave me hope.”

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adult students

Developed their English skills by accessing Canal
Alliance ESL Classes.

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Earned a skilled trade certificate through our Workforce Development Program.

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Career Development Coaching and Case Management services provided to adult students.

Advocacy & Housing

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Advocating for Impact

Our new advocacy and policy efforts are aimed at engaging Latino immigrants to address the issues that impact them.

See Our TImeline

Advocating for Impact


July Published its first Public Policy Agenda.
August Submitted public comments regarding the inclusion of the Citizenship Question on the 2020 U.S. Census.
September Marin County Census Forum cohosted with Dominican University and The County of Marin.
December TRUTH Act Forum cohosted with Canal Alliance and ILRC to shed light on local law enforcement entanglement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


February Announced partnership with EdTrust West to address the academic and racial inequity in Marin County Schools.
May Launched Advocacy Campaign to encourage the adoption Renter Protections in the City of San Rafael.
Led delegation of 50 youth advocates to Sacramento on Immigrant Day to meet with legislators.
June Announced affiliate partnership with UnidosUS.
Launched Canal Alliance Mobile App, a first of its kind critical community organizing and advocacy tool.
Appointed as Lead Agency for Marin County 2020 Census Outreach for Hard to Count Communities.


July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019

Preliminary Results



Leadership Circles


($250,000 +)

Maja Kristin Fund

Marin Community Foundation

Michael Moritz and Harriet Heyman

Tipping Point Community


($100,000 – $249,999)

Cohen Family Fund

Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation


($50,000 – $99,999)

Anonymous x 3

Cold Mountain Fund of RSF Social Finance

The San Francisco Foundation


($25,000 – $49,999)

Bella Vista Foundation

Christ Lutheran Church of Fairfax, California

Crescent Porter Hale Foundation

Peter & Ginnie Haas

Kelson Foundation

Kimball Foundation

Loud Hound Foundation

Morris Stulsaft Foundation

The Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation

The Randleigh Foundation Trust

Zellerbach Family Foundation


($10,000 – $24,999)

Anonymous x 4

Alice Shaver Foundation

Isabel Allende Foundation

Bank of Marin

Amy E. Christensen Fund of the Christensen Family Foundation

Brian and Paula Daniels

Dodge & Cox

The Carl Gellert and Celia Berta Gellert Foundation

M.S. Grumbacher Foundation

Hilltop Group Charitable Foundation

The Kenan Family Foundation

Kaiser Permanente Northern California

Community Benefit Programs

Little Flower Foundation

Alexander M. & June L. Maisin Foundation, a supporting Foundation of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund

Annette Nibley Fund at the East Bay Community Foundation

Overlook International Foundation

Robert J. and Paula B. Reynolds Fund

Richard Robbins

George L. Shields Foundation

Solli Ball Family Fund

Stephen and Britt Thal Charitable Gift Fund

The Ticknor Foundation, Inc.

van Löben Sels/RembeRock Foundation

Venables Foundation

Wells Fargo Foundation

Zephyr Fund


($5,000 – $9,999)

Anonymous x 6

Winifred and Harry B. Allen Foundation

Bank of America

The Barron Family Charitable Giving Account

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc.

Steven Block
Nick and Joan Boodrookas

Sydne and Allan Bortel

The California Wellness Foundation

Gina and Al Claxton

Katherine Crecelius

Hugh and Elizabeth Fullerton Full Circle Fund

Fullerton Family Foundation

Mark and Melissa Goldman

Betsy Gordon Foundation

Laura Laurenson and John Foster

Michael Metzner

Pabst Family Charitable Fund

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

The Prospect Hill Foundation Inc.

Rjp True North

Michelle and Edward Sarti

The Skoll Foundation


($2,500 – $4,999)

Anonymous x 2

John Adler and Mary Margaret McClure

David Allen Family

The Anderson/Zand Family Charitable

Morris Beazley

Bertelsen Family Fund

A Better Place Foundation

Patti Breitman

Andrew and Kate Brooks

Caroline and James Burroughs

Chevron Humankind

David and Claudia Chittenden

Laura Cox and Jay Cohen

Wendy and Vincent Drucker

The EACH Foundation

Diane and Dan Farthing

Carole and John Garcia

Deborah and Jonathan Goldman

Steve and Mary Gorski

Carole and Gerald Gunn

Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, PC

David Horowitz and Colleen Horowitz

Ellen Hufbauer and Jack Resneck, Jr.

Keenan Kelsey

Margaret Keon

Nelson Lee and Lia Rudnick Lee

Marin Airporter

Vera and Kenneth Meislin

Melissa Nelken and Ronald Lee

Diane Ongaro

Allen and Lea Orwitz

Pledgeling Foundation

Purple Lady/Barbara J. Meislin Fund

Rudolf Cluff Family Fund

Michael Seaman

Christopher Senn and Inge Hendromartono

Andre and Lesley Shashaty

The Simon-Strauss Foundation

Rich Storek and Marla Wentner

Wendy Walsh

Westminster Presbyterian Church of Richardson Bay


($1,000- $2,499)

Anonymous x 5

Peg Atherton

Amy and Seth Barad Family Fund

Carl Bass and Daryl Austern

Matt Bearson

Jan Becker and Thomas Restaino

Katherine Bernheim

Melissa Bradley

Nelson and Ellen Branco

The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation

Corporate Matching Gift

Omar and Erin Carrera

Mario Castaneda

The Castellanos Family Trust

Edward Chen and Janet Lee

Christ Presbyterian Church in Terra Linda

Donald O. and Ronald R. Collins Fund

The Colwell Family Fund

Compass/Pacific Union Marin Community Fund

June Cooperman and Lawrence Litvak

CPi Developers

John and Barbara Crary

Joshua Davis and Jessica Nenner

Denison Family Foundation

Barbara and Bill Dittmann

Dominican Sisters of San Rafael

Jeremy and Natasha Drucker

Leslie and James Eichenberger

Steven and Marilyn Enos

EO Products

Louise and Timothy Erdman

Virginia L. Fifield

First Congregational Church of San Rafael

First Federal Savings & Loan Association of San Rafael

Christine and Darrell Friedman

Daniel Gelbaum and Terri Moreno Gelbaum

Susan and Dennis Gilardi

Paula and Jim Gorder

Ron and Christine Grossi

Terry Helbush

Alex and Myra Hooker

Lori and Mark Horne

Doris Hunker

IBM Employee Services

The James Irvine Foundation

Keep It Going Fund

Alicia and Tom Klein

Joyce and Robert Kleiner

Jeannie Kotoff

Michael and Marna Kramer

Joan and Martin Lasden

Sally Lewis

Rebecca and Christopher Lien

Rory and Jan Little

Michele Manos

Marin Charitable

Marin/San Francisco Jewish Teen Foundation

Sandra Massen

M. Sheila Merritt and Robert D. Mass Family Fund

William and Candy Mitchell

Eric Multhaup

Nightingale Fund

Gail Noah and Kenneth Witte

Frank and Lois Noonan

Gareth Noonan and Sarah Butler

Laura and Bruce Olcott

Fred and Amy Paulenich

Catherine and Caroline Ramberg

Joyce and Gary Rifkind

Sandy Rolleri

Karen Rosenquist and Matthew Kropp

Jessie Rountree

Miguel Ruelas and Sid Hartman Fund

Marywynn Ryan

William and Stephanie Ryder

Sachleben Sullivan Family Fund

Samuel & Irene Saligman Charitable Trust

Richard and Diana Shore

Roberta Silverstein and Stephen Sperber

Vera Sparre and Scott Richards

David and Jacquie Spielberg

David Thompson and Maureen Broderick

Jane and William Thornton

The Uplands Family Foundation

Villegas Carrera, LLP

Susan Wolf

Jeffrey Wright

Annual Report Design by Ziller Design / Development by Mission Minded

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