Immigrants Rising’s Facilitated Activity Groups offer undocumented young people tangible skills, knowledge, and accountability to pursue personal, educational, and professional goals.

Promotional graphic for Facilitated Activity Groups

Join other undocumented students to explore and grow in a topic and build relationships with one another. Facilitated Activity Groups are virtual small-group sessions offered to undocumented students attending California colleges and universities (priority will be given to students attending one of our Catalyst Fund Campuses). Each activity group will meet weekly for 6 consecutive weeks and cover a topic under the umbrella of Immigration, Education & Career, or Entrepreneurship. You will have the opportunity to network and build relationships with other undocumented students. All activity groups will be guided by a skilled facilitator with deep familiarity of the undocumented experience. Check out the scheduled activity groups and register below.

Activity Groups (Available Year-round)

Click on the topics below to learn more and register.

#ICanAffordCollege: Financing a College Education as an Undocumented Student
Schedule: April 12 – May 17, 2022 (Tuesdays, 4 – 5 p.m.)
Facilitator: Cris Mercado

Everyone deserves an education that is enjoyable, fulfilling, and free from constraints. Unfortunately, undocumented students face additional barriers to pursuing their educational goals and enjoying their educational journeys due to the added stress that comes with limited access to financial and campus resources. This activity group will introduce you to strategies, resources, tips, and key actionable steps you can take to finance your college education and advocate for more and better campus resources. By the end of this activity group, you will implement a plan to increase your funding to help you alleviate some of the financial barriers to pursuing your educational goals.

You will receive a Certificate of Completion after attending at least 5 sessions.


Making Money Moves: Preparing for Career & Income Generating Opportunities
Schedule: April 13 – May 18, 2022 (Wednesdays, 4 – 5 p.m.)
Facilitator: Luis Quiroz

Everyone, regardless of immigration status, can make money by building their own businesses and working for themselves. Unfortunately, many undocumented students are graduating with uncertainty about how to maximize their degrees and generate income post-graduation. In this activity group, you will learn how to leverage your skills, knowledge, and experience to generate income through contracting and business start-up opportunities. By the end of this session, you will explore income-generating opportunities specific to you, develop a business plan to guide you through your future income-generating endeavors, and apply for a business grant.

You will receive a Certificate of Completion after attending at least 5 sessions.


Live, Work, Play! Traveling as an Undocumented Immigrant
Schedule: April 14 – May 19, 2022 (Thursdays, 4 – 5 p.m.)
Facilitator: David Cruz

Everyone deserves the opportunity to live their best life! Unfortunately, many undocumented students have missed out on unique and enriching experiences, such as traveling, due to their immigration status and the fears that come with traveling while undocumented. This activity group will give you an opportunity to transcend your physical boundaries by exploring what traveling means to you and learn what travel outside the U.S., across the U.S., and within your own city can look like. By the end of this activity group, you will identify actionable steps to take on your next trip, and have all the information you need to travel safely.

You will receive a Certificate of Completion after attending at least 5 sessions.


Meet the Facilitators

Cris Mercado, Facilitated Activity Group Facilitator
Cris Mercado

Cris Mercado is Founder & CEO of GrantAnswers, a data, strategy & product consulting firm for social impact. Through GrantAnswers, Cris has created processes and content to train +650 emerging, diverse technologists for tech careers. He has also developed systems to help +250 low-income, 1st generation students ascend to college and earn $2 million in scholarships & grants. Trusted by the likes of WSJ, NBC, Teach For America, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce for features, keynotes, and panels, Cris covers immigration, workforce development, education, entrepreneurship, and tech diversity/inclusion. He has a BA in Psychology, and at age 21, he was awarded the MAGNET Fellowship as a top Ph.D. Candidate in Criminal Justice from the City University of New York—later leaving with an MA, debt-free.

Join Cris’ Activity Group — #ICanAffordCollege: Financing a College Education as an Undocumented Student

David Cruz, Facilitated Activity Group Facilitator
David Cruz

David is from a family of entrepreneurs who work in multi-level marketing and photography industries. At the age of eleven, he immigrated to the U.S. from Cuautitlán Izcalli, Edo de Mexico, Mexico with his family and fought through discrimination, patronization for having difficulty speaking English, and systemic oppression of migrants.

David is a competitive swimmer, student leader, and entrepreneur. At the University of California, Santa Cruz, he led Empowering Latino Advancement Through Educational Development (ELATED), an organization founded to create a community and share resources amongst Hispanic/Latino people and undocumented students. He graduated with a double major in linguistics and political science and plans to pursue a master’s degree in linguistics and a Ph.D. in public policy.

David finds joy and peace in seeing others experiencing joy. He enjoys hiking, traveling, and reading. Through the Immigration Law Fellowship, he looks forward to gaining more knowledge in policy and giving back to his community and family.

Join David’s Activity Group — Live, Work, Play! Traveling as an Undocumented Immigrant

Luis Quiroz, Facilitated Activity Group Facilitator
Luis Quiroz

Luis Quiroz is the Founder, CEO and Lead Consultant at Trending Socials. Luis is a creative problem-solver. Over the span of his career, he has managed social media marketing campaigns for the City of San Francisco, and dozens of brands, bloggers, and small businesses.

Luis is a DACA recipient and an immigrant from Guerrero, Mexico. He arrived in the U.S. as an infant after his parents left their home in search of a better future for him and his other siblings. They settled in San Diego, CA where Luis grew up. He now lives in San Francisco, CA, where the business is based.

Growing up, Luis’ mom was a Tupperware saleswoman. He’d be so embarrassed on elementary school field trips when his mom was closing sales with his teachers! But he later understood his mom’s motives- it was necessary to put food on the table. After graduating from San Francisco State University with a bachelor of science degree in business, Luis was inspired by his mother to pursue his own dream of owning a business.

Join Luis’ Activity Group — Making Money Moves: Preparing for Career & Income Generating Opportunities

Photo of Tobore Oweh
Tobore Oweh

Donor/Supporter, Entrepreneur

"It’s been a journey for me to become an entrepreneur, and I am happy that Immigrants Rising has always been there to support me along the way!"

[Para español, haz clic aquí]

We are currently offering $4.06 million for immigrant entrepreneurs in California through our SEED initiative!

SEED Eligibility

Through the SEED initiative, we are offering funding to California residents who are starting or growing a business/nonprofit in California that addresses a social problem or community need. Read our SEED FAQs to learn more.

SEED applicants must identify with one of the following:

  • Non U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders). This includes undocumented individuals, and individuals who have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
  • Limited English proficiency, regardless of immigration or citizenship status.

Types of Grants

We offer two different types of one-time, non-renewable grants:

  1. Developing Business/Nonprofit Owner Grants ($5,000): Grants to individuals starting or growing a business/nonprofit with annual gross business revenue/gross receipts less than $100,000 in the 2020 taxable year.
  2. Mature Business/Nonprofit Owner Grants ($10,000): Grants to individuals growing a business/nonprofit with annual gross business revenue/gross receipts more than $100,000 up to $1,000,000 in the 2020 taxable year.

Application Deadlines

SEED grant applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the end of the grant period on June 30, 2022 or until funds run out. However, the review of the applications will be conducted according to the schedule below. Applications must be submitted by the deadlines listed below to be considered for review in that cycle.

  • SEED Grant Application Review Cycle 3 Deadline: Tuesday, March 1, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. PT.
  • SEED Grant Application Review Cycle 4 Deadline: Sunday, May 1, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. PT.

Steps to Apply for a SEED Grant

IMPORTANT: Please use the same email address for all steps.
The new steps to apply can be found in this guide and below:

  1. Go to
    • If needed, change the language option by using the drop down menu on the upper left-hand corner by the Spark logo.
  2. Create an account by selecting the journey “I’m ready to start or grow my business” on the homepage. There are 2 steps to this process:
    • Create your login information. Take note of your email address and make sure the same one is being used for anything Spark related.
    • Register for the training. This 3-minute form simply asks for demographic information for data tracking purposes.
  3. Go to “Learn” on the upper right corner and complete the training.
  4. Complete the worksheets. These worksheets make up your business plan and will be reviewed as part of your application. Once all worksheets are complete, the application will be unlocked.
  5. The application can be found under “Seed Grant Application Requirements. Please review the SEED FAQs and preview the application before starting your application.
    • You will be asked to upload:
      • A copy of your ID that shows proof of residence in California
      • A financial statement of your existing business (if you have one)

Below is how you can get help:

Please reach out to if you have any questions.

Actualmente ofrecemos $4.06 millones para emprendedores inmigrantes en California a través de nuestra iniciativa SEED!

Elegibilidad del solicitante

Los fondos de SEED están abiertos a los residentes de California que están iniciando o desarrollando un negocio o una organización sin ánimo de lucro en California que aborde un problema social o una necesidad comunitaria. Lee las preguntas frecuentes sobre SEED para obtener más información.

Los solicitantes deben identificarse con al menos uno de los siguientes:

  1. No ser ciudadano estadounidense o residente permanente legal. Esto incluye a las personas que sean indocumentadas y a las personas a las que se les ha otorgado Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia (DACA) o Estatus de Protección Temporal (TPS).
  2. Dominio limitado del inglés, independiente del estado migratorio o ciudadanía.

Tipos de subvenciones

Ofrecemos dos tipos diferentes de subvenciones únicas no renovables:

  1. Subvenciones para propietarios de negocios en desarrollo / organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro ($5,000): subvenciones a personas que inician o desarrollan una empresa / organización sin ánimo de lucro con ingresos comerciales brutos anuales inferiores de $100,000 en el año fiscal 2020.
  2. Subvenciones para propietarios de negocios maduros/ organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro ($10,000): subvenciones a personas que desarrollen un negocio o una organización sin ánimo de lucro con ingresos comerciales brutos anuales de más de $100,000 hasta $1,000,000 en el año fiscal 2020.

Fechas Límites Para la Aplicación

Las solicitudes de subvención de SEED se aceptarán de forma continua hasta el final del período de subvención el 30 de junio de 2022 o hasta que se agoten los fondos. Sin embargo, la revisión de las solicitudes se llevará a cabo de acuerdo con el cronograma a continuación. Las solicitudes deben enviarse antes de las fechas límite que se enumeran a continuación para ser consideradas para su revisión en ese ciclo.

  • Fecha límite del ciclo 3 de revisión de la solicitud de subvención SEED: Martes, 1 de marzo, 2022, 11:59 p.m. PT
  • Fecha límite del ciclo 3 de revisión de la solicitud de subvención SEED: Domingo, 3 de mayo, 2022, 11:59 p.m. PT

Pasos Para Solicitar Una Subvención SEED

IMPORTANT: utiliza el mismo correo electrónico para todos los pasos.

  1. Vaya a
    • Si es necesario, cambie la opción de idioma utilizando el menú desplegable en la esquina superior izquierda junto al logotipo de Spark.
  2. Cree una cuenta seleccionando el viaje “Estoy listo para comenzar o hacer crecer mi negocio” en la página de inicio. Hay 2 pasos para este proceso:
    • Cree su información de inicio de sesión. Tome nota de su dirección de correo electrónico y asegúrese de que la misma se esté utilizando para cualquier cosa relacionada con Spark.
    • Regístrese para la capacitación. Este formulario de 3 minutos simplemente solicita información demográfica con fines de seguimiento de datos.
  3. Vaya a “Aprender” en la esquina superior derecha y complete la capacitación.
  4. Completa las hojas de trabajo. Estas hojas de trabajo conforman su plan de negocios y serán revisadas como parte de su solicitud. Una vez que todas las hojas de trabajo estén completas, la aplicación se desbloqueará.
  5. La solicitud se puede encontrar en “Requisitos de solicitud de subvención semilla”. Favor de leer las preguntas frecuentes de SEED antes de aplicar y revisar la aplicación antes de comenzar.
    • Se le pedirá que cargue:
      • Una copia de su identificación que muestre prueba de residencia en California
      • Un estado financiero de su negocio existente (si tiene uno)

A continuación se muestra cómo puede obtener ayuda:

Mande un correo electrónico a si tiene alguna pregunta.

Photo of Denea Joseph
Denea Joseph


"It's important that we highlight the intersectionality of being both Black and undocumented because of the way in which Black immigrants are disproportionately impacted by this immigration system."

Cris Mercado, founder and CEO of GrantAnswers
Cris Mercado: Becoming An Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur, Fellow

"Through entrepreneurship, I found that I had more control than I thought."

Iliana G. Perez

Entrepreneur, Staff

"I graduated in 2009 with a degree in math. I chose a subject that I thought would open opportunities here or in another country. Given that this was way before DACA, I definitely thought about leaving the country to pursue different opportunities."


Entrepreneur, Fellow

"There's a ceiling with DACA. Yes, you can work, but there is a ceiling. And that ceiling I wanted to shatter."

Denea Joseph


"I, for one, stand in my power as a Black, undocumented woman. The epitome and antithesis of what they want us to be in these United States of America."



"If we’re not all working towards being free and helping our community, who are we really helping?"