Launched in 2006, the Chaldean Community Foundation continues to grow and flourish. The not-for-profit 501(c)(3) is dedicated to advancing the needs of the Chaldean American community and the communities in which they live and work through education, charitable giving and advocacy. The Foundation is also funded by the profits of two major events each year: The Annual Golf Outing and the Cultural Forum.
The Chaldean Community Foundation, the not-for-profit arm of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce, is dedicated to advancing the needs of the Chaldean American community and the communities in which they live and work through education, charitable giving and advocacy.
Mental Health Initiative
The Chaldean Community Foundation has received state funding since 2008 to provide much-needed mental health services to Iraqi refugees. The foundation continues to partner with St. John’s Eastwood Clinics in this initiative. The refugees suffered great trauma from the war in Iraq and the subsequent religious persecution of religious minorities. Many languished for years in countries like Jordan and Syria, unable to work or send their children to school, before getting permission to come to the United States. Once they arrive here, they are often overwhelmed by past horrors as they strive to begin their new life in a foreign land.
Though refugees remain the focus, the initiative is also open to anyone who is experiencing difficulties adjusting to personal life challenges such as loss of home, divorce and other stressors. Individuals without insurance or a means to pay can obtain mental health services including therapy, psychiatric physician visits and medication. Those with insurance are assessed fees based on their plan requirements.
The Mental Health Initiative has several full-time employees who are fluent in English, Chaldean and Arabic. They provide translation services and community outreach to make refugees aware of the available services. They also offer casework that helps the refugees with everything from obtaining a Social Security card and driver’s license to finding housing and transportation.
The Chaldean Community Foundation also provides financial support to the Chaldean American Association of Health Professionals (CAAHP) and the Chaldean Federation of America (CFA). Both help refugees and other needy populations. The largest challenge continues to be combating the negative perception of mental health problems, which are often viewed as a personal weakness.
Cultural Competency Training
Interested parties learn lots about Southeast Michigan’s Chaldean American community through the Cultural Competency Training program. Topics include a brief history, Chaldean culture, faith and language, and the contributions of the community in the United States. The informal presentations include Q&A and discussion.
To schedule a Cultural Competency Training program for your business or organization, please call the Foundation at (248) 996-8340.
Refugee Acculturation Sustainability and Training (RAST)
The foundation received funding from the State of Michigan Department of Community Health in October 2010 for a new initiative, Refugee Acculturation Sustainability and Training (RAST). The goal is to help refugees of the Iraq War and subsequent religious persecution to assimilate and become less dependent on federal and state subsidies and services.
RAST assists refugees with some of the major hurdles they face as they start over in the United States.
The language barrier: RAST is establishing and linking refugees to English as a Second Language classes that also include a practical work component.
Transportation: With its limited public transportation network, getting around is a key problem for the newcomers. RAST is creating a Chaldean Loan Fund for refugees to borrow money at a low interest rate to purchase vehicles and establish credit.
Securing housing: RAST is linking clients with resources to help with housing solutions.
Finding a job: RAST has established a job bank where businesses receive referrals about potential employees, many of whom speak only minimal English.
Launching a business: A Micro Loan Fund is being created to help entrepreneurs start a small business.
In February 2011, RAST opened an office on the Eastside in Macomb County, where most refugees live. Included in the facility is a computer lab with four stations where individuals have access to free Internet services for educational, business, social and job searching purposes.
RAST is working on long-term solutions for the refugees who are here now, and is being proactive to the future needs of upcoming refugee populations.
Chaldean Community Foundation locations:
30850 Telegraph Road, Suite 200
Bingham Farms, MI 48025
T (248) 996-8340
F (248) 996-8342
4171 15 Mile Road
Sterling Heights, MI 48310
T (586) 722-7253
F (586) 722-7257
Learn more about the Foundation at www.chaldeanfoundation.org