In response to the global refugee crisis and the U.S. government's increasingly hard-line immigration policies, foundations are taking action to support refugees and asylum seekers, a report from Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees finds.
Released on World Refugee Day, the report, Philanthropic Strategies to Support Refugees and Asylum Seekers (32 pages, PDF), found that in response to the Trump administration's rollback of policies that grant some measure of protection to refugees and asylum seekers, many funders are encouraging their grantees to move beyond "business as usual" and are supporting systems change work, efforts to give greater voice to refugees, and more collaborative grantmaking.
Based on case studies of ten grantmakers — 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 report offers suggestions for how philanthropy can leverage its resources and calls on funders to facilitate collective learning with respect to the crisis and related issues, promote long-term engagement focused on creating a more resilient resettlement infrastructure, and seek out opportunities to forge and/or engage in private-sector partnerships and strategic collaborations.
"This is a time for grantmakers with experience in this space to consider new approaches, particularly strategies for systems-level change," the report argues. "Philanthropy should coordinate both on how to preserve the most vital elements of the asylum protection and refugee resettlement infrastructure, as well as to ensure that individual donor and foundation efforts are as aligned, cohesive, and strategic as possible."
"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."