Entrepreneurship Fund

Entrepreneurship Fund

“This grant gave me the confidence to take my business to the next level, to create a space to help others and, most importantly, to grow as a social entrepreneur.” — Maria Mendez, Entrepreneurship Fund Grantee

Immigrants Rising’s Entrepreneurship Fund provides grants to undocumented entrepreneurs working to create positive social change.

The Fund showcases the talents of undocumented young people and amplifies the positive impact of their work. In 2018, we will award $250,000 in funding through $5,000 to $50,000 one-year grants. Grantees will also be offered support and guidance from professional advisors as well as opportunities to network with other undocumented entrepreneurs.

Six undocumented entrepreneurs have already received grants and support from the Entrepreneurship Fund, previously called the Fund for Undocumented Social Entrepreneurs (FUSE). Read profiles of our Previous Entrepreneurship Fund Grantees.

We welcome proposals for entrepreneurial projects that address a variety of needs, target diverse populations, and employ different strategies. We are open to supporting projects that serve and advocate for undocumented people as well as ones with broader potential impact. Projects can be non-profit or for-profit initiatives—or hybrid projects that include both nonprofit and for-profit components. Most importantly, projects must create positive social change and must be designed and led by undocumented young people.

Applicants must be born outside of the United States and cannot be U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR). Applicants do not need to be eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to qualify.

The Fund is made possible with generous support from Chavez Family Foundation; The Grove Foundation; James Gutierrez; Elise Haas, Robert and Colleen Haas; Jeff Hawkins; Jorge Ramos; Unbound Philanthropy; and Elisha Wiesel. Read profiles of our Entrepreneurship Fund Supporters.


Preliminary applications are due October 4, 2018.

Those who want to learn more should reach out directly to Jose Diaz, Entrepreneurship Fellow for Immigrants Rising, at jdiaz@immigrantsrising.org

Telemundo Set To Finish Historic Back-To-Back Season Win As The Undisputed Leader In Hispanic Media

Telemundo Set To Finish Historic Back-To-Back Season Win As The Undisputed Leader In Hispanic Media

Making Ratings History, Telemundo is on Track to be the Most-Watched Spanish-language Broadcast Network For Two Broadcast Seasons in a Row in Weekday Prime Among Adults 18-49 and 18-34

Telemundo Ranks Once Again Among Top 5 Broadcast Networks in Weekday Prime Among Adults 18-49

Franchises “El Señor de los Cielos” and “Sin Senos Si Hay Paraiso” Claim the Top Three Highest-rated Regularly Scheduled Series in All Spanish-language Television

Telemundo’s Lead Extends Across All Platforms in Spanish-language Ranking #1 in Social Engagement, #1 in YouTube Subscribers and #1 in VOD (for Seven Consecutive Years); Delivers Biggest Livestream Sports Event in Spanish-language History with 2018 FIFA World Cup™

 MIAMI – September 13, 2018 – With only two weeks left, Telemundo is set to win the 2017-18 broadcast season and continue its winning-streak as the undisputed leader in Hispanic media. For a second season in a row, the network continues to make ratings history as it is on track to retain its lead as the #1 Spanish-language network in weekday 8-11pm prime among adults 18-49 and adults 18-34, according to Nielsen. Telemundo ranked among the top five broadcast networks with NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX, during the season among adults 18-49 and adults 18-34. In addition, Telemundo delivered the youngest audience among all broadcast networks regardless of language, including the largest composition of adults 18-34 out of total viewers.

 “We are honored that Hispanics have chosen Telemundo as their preferred choice for the second season in a row,” said Cesar Conde, Chairman NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises and NBCUniversal International Group. “We’ve listened to our viewers and created new and original content that delivers on their appetite for media across all platforms. This strategy is paying off in the ratings, but mostly in capturing the hearts and minds of today’s Latino audiences.”

According to Nielsen, this season Telemundo averages 722,000 adults 18-49 in weekday prime, +5% higher than Univision (686,000), more than doubling the gap it first established in the 2016-17 season. Among adults 18-34, Telemundo averaged 314,000 this season, surpassing Univision (296,000) by +6%, while it continued to close the gap among total viewers. Fueled by the success of its prime time line-up, Telemundo is delivering its highest weekday prime share in history among adults 18-49 (55%) in the third quarter of 2018, outperforming Univision’s (35%) and UniMas’ (10%) combined share by 10 percentage points.

 Additionally, for the fourth consecutive season Telemundo ranked as the #1 Hispanic network in the weekday 10pm hour and held more than a 50% share of the Spanish-language broadcast audience among adults 18-49 (52%) and adults 18-34 (54%). 

 This unprecedented victory is the result of the network’s commitment to redefining Hispanic media and providing action-packed contemporary stories that resonate and connect with Latinos today. This season, franchises “El Señor de los Cielos” (seasons five and six) and “Sin Senos Si Hay Paraiso” (season three) claimed the top three highest-rated regularly scheduled series in all Spanish-language television among adults 18-49 and 18-34. Also ranking in the top 10 among both demos were Telemundo Super Series™ “Señora Acero” (season four) and “Enemigo Intimo.”

 Telemundo’s brand new program “Exatlon” was the #1 weekday prime reality competition series this season on Spanish-language television, averaging 508,000 adults 18-49 and 217,000 adults 18-34, easily outperforming “Reto 4 Elementos” on Univision’s UniMas network. The innovative reality competition boosted Telemundo’s Monday-Friday 7-9pm average by +21% among A18-49 (508,000 vs. 420,000) and +30% among A18-34 (217,000 vs. 167,000).

 On the digital front, Telemundo also leads across all platforms in Spanish-language ranking #1 in social engagement, #1 in YouTube subscribers, #1 in Video On Demand (for seven consecutive years) and delivers the biggest Spanish-language livestream sports event in history with the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.

 Telemundo’s programming has evolved with its audience – mindful of the way they consume media and the type of content they prefer. The network’s business model was designed to produce original content, positioning Telemundo as the only network that offers high quality content across all platforms made specifically for U.S. Hispanics living in the United States. Telemundo has been part of this rapidly evolving market and has demonstrated a unique understanding of what resonates and is relevant to this new audience, across all platforms, positioning itself as the leading network in Hispanic media today.

 Highlights of the 2017-18 Season include:


  • The World Cup posted the greatest 32-day performance in network history, setting records for the network’s most-watched daytime for every day of the week
  • For the first time ever, Telemundo ranked #1 in total day for two consecutive months (June & July 2018), among total viewers, adults 18-49 and adults 18-34
  • The Latin American Music Awards 2017 Simulcast on Telemundo and Universo delivered the franchise’s best performance to date among adults 18-49 with 1.2M, +2% vs. 2016
  • Master Chef Latino premiere in January 2017 ranked as the #1 Spanish-language program in prime among adults 18-34, and ranked as the #1 most social show in prime among Hispanic networks on premiere night
  • The “Sin Senos Si Hay Paraiso” season three premiere on June 2018, outperformed Univision’s premiere of “La Bella y Las Bestias” among adults 18-49 and adults 18-34, outperforming ABC, CBS and FOX at 9pm, among those two demos 
  • On Sunday nights, Telemundo’s Cine Exclusivo and Cine Millonario were the two highest rated regularly scheduled movie showcases on Spanish TV among adults 18-49 and adults 18-34

 Source: Nielsen; Projections (000); Most Current 9/25/17-9/9/18 (L+7 through 8/26/18); season ranking based on M-F 8-11pm strict daypart; A18-49 and A18-34. Share calculation based on TEL A18-49/A18-34 divided by the sum of TEL+UNI+UMA impressions. Program rankings based on programs with 3+ telecasts. Adobe Analytics, June 14-July 16th 2018, Shareablee, January-August 2018, ComScore OnDemand Essentials, 2011-2017, YouTube Analytics, January- August 2018.

SER Jobs for Progress of the Texas Gulf Coast – Julian Mena’s Story

SER Jobs for Progress of the Texas Gulf Coast – Julian Mena’s Story


ER Houston Logo

“Today, I understand the role I play as the older brother of seven,” said Julian, “if you asked me that a few months ago, I wouldn’t have been able to express what that looked like or meant to me.”

Julian Mena, who was raised by a single mother, hurtled through many hardships as he took turns establishing his childhood between San Antonio and Houston, Texas.

“As a young child, I didn’t feel like I had a set path for myself,” said Julian, “lacking a father figure, I longed for stability and I tried to find comfort in the people around me; the people I called “friends” at the time, didn’t help to steer me in the right direction.

“Without even really noticing it, going back and forth between cities really had a negative impact on me.”

“The only thing I knew for certain about school was that I’d been to six different high schools between the two cities,” said Julian, “I was a good student, but my attendance and interest started to wane when I took after the wrong crowd. I was 16 then.”

“I often found myself struggling on the other side of the law,” said Julian, “I was lost in the depths of my consciousness fighting against drugs and many other bad influences. I got into activities that weren’t too favorable for a 16-year-old.
“But my mom helped me through. She’s my rock and the push I needed. Even when I couldn’t recognize myself, she helped me find the will I had buried deep within me to go on.”

As a younger brother began to emulate him, Julian realized that he was the role model his brothers and sisters looked up to. And, upon that realization, Julian decided to turn his life around.

“When we got the opportunity to move to Houston, I saw that it was my chance,” said Julian, “and I cut off ties with the “friends” that weren’t taking me anywhere. Being in Houston offered me a chance. I felt that I was finally going to be around the right people. That’s when I found SER.”

Upon discovering SER in April of this year, Julian immediately enrolled in the YouthBuild program with his mom’s full support and encouragement. YouthBuild Houston is a GED program that SER offers the community’s youth and young adults (17-24 year-olds) who have dropped out of school. Students can earn their GED while gaining skills in construction, earning a stipend and helping to rebuild and repair housing in low-income communities.

When asked about his hunger for change and the drive to join the program, Julian said, “I wanted to finish high school. I think it meant a great deal for me to see this opportunity through for the sake of my brothers and sisters. Taking that first step and opening myself up to what’s out there really changed my outlook on my role as a brother.

“I wanted to do right by them, be the ‘inspirational big brother’ that I realized I could be. So I began to change the way I talked around them. That’s what the program offered me.”

“It was a great experience, I was excited. I felt like the schools I went to before didn’t care whether or not I graduated,” said Julian, “they were just getting kids in and out the door. I’ve been to many schools, and I know this experience was different.
“I found my mentors here, they made me feel… like they cared. Mr. Sweeney, Mr. Green, Ms. Bennett,  Ms. Zully, and Mr. Lee took it upon themselves to reach out and make sure I didn’t give up on myself until I saw this program through.”
“It’s amazing!” said Julian, “I have this newfound confidence in school. There is friendly competition here, it’s something great because we lift each other up.”

“Before the YouthBuild Program, I remember just wanting to get by,” said Julian, “afterward, I’m thinking what’s next?”
“I’ll be working at La Chamba, which is going to be a huge stepping stone for me,” said Julian, “and now I want to go to college and I’m even considering a career as an electrical engineer.”

La Chamba Café + Careers was founded by SERJobs as a community hub where employers and job seekers could connect and build careers in a coffee shop environment. It’s located in SER’s Workforce Opportunity Center at 1710 Telephone Road and has its grand opening on September 18th.

Julian feels he found himself and his potential through YouthBuild and has advice for others his age who are struggling, not knowing what to do with their lives.

“I would definitely say to give it a shot, it will take you beyond the mentality of just getting by,” said Julian, “I feel like SER opened so many doors for me. Look at me, I did it!

“I would tell others to get it done now. You can get it as fast as you want it, let your drive and the SER team take you forward.”
“I’ve learned a lot, being here; it’s a well-rounded program,” said Julian, “and I can say I walked away with mentors, peers, and a vision for myself down the road.”

SER – Central States’ Programs

SER – Central States’ Programs

WIOA Programs


Youth Empowered to Succeed (YES!) is SER’s comprehensive initiative to fully develop the potential of youth, ages 16 to 24, which are at risk of not transitioning educationally and emotionally successfully into adulthood. SER targets youth from low-income, underserved communities, including many who are ex-offenders and/or gang-affected. SER believes that these young individuals have the ability to become productive and thriving members of society if given the necessary support and resources. YES! helps youth identify, pursue and achieve their academic, job and career goals. SER’s YES! programs offer intensive career coaching and case management services, GED classes, job readiness, work-based learning, transportation, restorative justice, service learning projects, leadership training and much more. Call any of our locations today to learn more about this program and find out if you are eligible!

PODER: Afterschool Program

PODER (Positive Outcomes Delivered through Education and Respect) is a 21st Century Community Learning Center funded by the Illinois State Board of Education as a part of the No Child Left Behind Act.  PODER currently operates as an after school program that promotes academic and social enrichment to students in low-income Title 1 schools who are of the greatest need.  PODER operates in schools that are low-income Title 1 schools that have failed their AYP (Adequate yearly progress).  Not only do the children face academic and economic challenges, but most sites are also located in gang-infested neighborhoods.  These neighborhoods provide very few positive and structured opportunities for the students after school, leaving the students susceptible to gang-violence.

Intensive Youth Services & Project Onward

This supplemental academic service program addresses the challenging needs of in and out of school youth who are gang-affected and court involved. This program takes a holistic approach to academic enrichment and youth development by providing each participant comprehensive academic services including classroom instruction and implementing alternative learning methods such as peer led instruction and education intensive field trips and work-based community service projects. SER works collaborative with justice partners to provide services and establish support systems that helps youth in all facets of their life.


Youth Working For Success

Youth Working for Success is a program designed to provide employability skills training, civic leadership and internship experiences for court involved youth ages 16-24. The training includes goal setting, career and education pathways planning and financial literacy skills. In addition, the civic leadership component is a student-led service learning project that gives participants the opportunity to accept responsibility and demonstrate their leadership skills and abilities in projects that benefit and restore their community. Participants are able to apply what they have learned about themselves and their career goals while placed into internships and employers throughout the Chicagoland area.


Mayors Mentoring Initiative

Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative program services 8th, 9th and 10th grade youth from South Lawndale neighborhood. MMI youth receive support to achieve positive school outcomes, lower justice involvement and link youth to appropriate employment opportunities. This mentoring based program connects identified youth to caring adults who will help to serve as positive roles models, coaches and guides as youth navigate their teenage years; mentoring has been proven to increase high school graduation and reduce violence.

Afterschool Matters

After School Matters youth participants learn the basics of design, sketching, drawing and painting. Identified participants create, “Villapalooza”, The Little Village Music Festival which gives 15 youth participants from the South Lawndale neighborhood the opportunity to work with a talented artist and festival organizer. Youth through this program gain access to service outlets and participate in workshops such as health and wellness, community engagement, violence prevention and career readiness.


The student Outreach and Re-engagement (SOAR) program, in collaboration with Chicago Public Schools, serves students who need a new pathway toward high school graduation. SOAR offers additional supports and services for students who have been out of school and seek to return, or who may need opportunities to earn credits in an accelerated program.

Opportunity Works

Located at SERCO – Southwest Suburban Cook County American Job Center, the Opportunity Works program is a sector-driven program that helps young adults who are disconnected from both work and school to participate in paid internships and find a career pathway in Manufacturing. This program features, job readiness and career exploration, internship placement, sector-specific training, job retention support and wrap around services.

One Summer Chicago

For the 2nd year in a row, SER has hosted the One Summer Chicago program, connecting youth to a successful future with a summer job. In 2016, SER enrolled 80 youth and placed all 80 at worksites with 79 youth completing the 7-week program. In 2017, SER has enrolled 100 youth and placed all 100 youth at worksites. Participants have started on their civic engagement project and begin preparing for job readiness. Participants practice workforce engagement skills on


La Cocina VA – Bilingual Culinary Training Program

La Cocina VA – Bilingual Culinary Training Program

Culinary Job Training

The culinary curriculum in food preparation and sanitation is cost free for our students and provides them with the resources they need to graduate, find jobs, and improve their lives. Food, equipment, facilities, and uniforms are available to them, as well as a ServSafe course by the National Restaurant Association covering food safety and sanitation. We build a sense of community by offering the unemployed the necessary skills and knowledge to overcome poverty themselves by obtaining a better-paying job within the food service industry. Additionally, the students in our program will make 3,000 nutritional meals as a part of their training that will be donated to low-income families with our Food Assistance Program.

English Language Training

The program includes thirteen weeks of English classes that provide language instruction contextualized for the culinary employment-related needs of our students in search of gainful employment. This unique bilingual training initiative that is such an important part of our program gives opportunities to members of the Hispanic community that they might otherwise be excluded from due to language barriers.

Career Readiness and Job Placement Assistance

he students in the program are taught an Employment Readiness Module and Life Skills Module by a bilingual social worker that emphasizes the importance of job readiness, a positive work attitude, teamwork, techinques for successful job interviewing, and resume building. It will also cover topics such as strategies for personal growth, conflict resolution, and support for disintegrating families. We address all of the challenges faced by unemployed Hispanics to encourage and uplift them on their paths to successs.


Every student will graduate from the program with the following:

  • ServSafe certification
  • Certificate of Completion from a workforce development program in the culinary arts by Northern Virginia Community College
  • A two-week internship at a local restaurant or hotel to expose them to job opportunities and put their newly acquired skills to use. Read more about our students interning at Whole Foods Market.