GCIR Releases Report in Honor of World Refugee Day

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

SEBASTOPOL, CA—In honor of World Refugee Day, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrant and Refugees (GCIR) is pleased to release Philanthropic Strategies to Support Refugees and Asylum Seekers, a report on recent philanthropic responses to humanitarian crises to inform action on the grave and urgent challenges now facing refugees and asylum seekers seeking refuge in the United States.

With the number of displaced persons in the world at an all-time high, and the United States in the midst of a historic rollback of policies and practices that protect refugees and asylum seekers, this report offers suggestions on how philanthropy can confront these challenges through bold and innovative new strategies that leverage resources, maximize impact, and expand collaboration. The report finds that U.S. philanthropy is already responding to the difficult policy environment and limited resources by moving beyond ‘business as usual’, supporting systems change work, and mobilizing within the philanthropic community, among other tactics.

Written by GCIR Senior Strategist Suzette Brooks Masters, the report consists of 10 case studies on how diverse grantmakers responded to the recent Central American and Syrian refugee crises, as well as to deteriorating U.S. humanitarian policies. The profiled philanthropies vary in size, geographical location, and funding priorities, among other factors. They include the Global Whole Being Fund, John R. Oishei Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Polk Bros. Foundation, Robin Hood, Samuel S. Fels Fund, Solidarity MN, Texas Access to Justice Foundation, Unbound Philanthropy, and Weingart Foundation.

“The stark new realities facing refugees, asylum seekers, and the U.S. humanitarian system demand nothing less than a bold, innovative, and urgent response from philanthropy,” reads the report. “These profiles are designed to provide a roadmap for supporting refugees, asylum seekers, and unaccompanied children seeking protection in the United States and abroad.”

Several of the profiled institutions shared why they are compelled to engage on these issues at this time:

“The Weingart Foundation believes in inclusion and opportunity for all,” said Fred Ali, the foundation’s president and CEO, “which is why we fund nonprofits supporting refugees and asylum seekers fleeing violence and persecution. This moment of humanitarian crisis calls on philanthropy to collectively focus resources to assist impacted communities.”

“More than 60 percent of New Yorkers are immigrants or their children, so global events deeply affect our communities,” said Veyom Bahl, managing director of Survival at Robin Hood. “Robin Hood is committed to building exemplary local nonprofits that can provide refugees and asylum-seekers a strong start in their new home.”

Founded in 1990, GCIR works to influence philanthropy to advance the contributions and address the needs of the country’s growing and increasingly diverse immigrant and refugee populations. GCIR partners with a growing network of member foundations, as well as the greater philanthropic community, on a wide range of immigration and immigrant integration issues, including education, health, employment, civic participation, racial and economic justice, and other concerns affecting immigrant children, youth, and families.

For more information, please contact Aryah Somers Landsberger, Director of Programs.


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