Philanthropic Strategies to Support Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Suzette Brooks Masters
Date of Publication: 
June, 2018
Source Organization: 

Since 2017, refugees and asylum seekers, and the infrastructure in the U.S. that supports them, have faced dual challenges: first, the unprecedented movement of displaced peoples—begun prior to the Trump administration; and second, the Trump administration’s hostility to those coming to the U.S. for protection. Foundations that have supported organizations serving immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers have been challenged to adapt to this new environment. Philanthropic Strategies to Support Refugees and Asylum Seekers provides a picture of how 10 different funders have stepped up their support for refugees and asylum seekers in response to these challenges. Funders profiled are mostly U.S.-based, both large national foundations and smaller community foundations, with grantees that are mostly U.S.-based. The report draws lessons from the foundation profiles and makes a set of recommendations and next steps. One common thread is support for refugee resettlement agencies, to help them broaden their funding streams and diversify their services in the face of sharp federal reductions in funding for refugee resettlement. Another lesson learned is that funders must broaden their portfolios and break down the long-standing silos separating funders focused on immigration issues from those focusing on refugee and asylum-seeker issues. Collaboration among funders, and using the convening power of the foundations, are other themes that appear throughout. The report recommends that foundations join in collectives that foster sharing of information and best practices (as in the recently-formed Funders for Refugees and Asylum Seekers); that funders look beyond providing for immediate needs and support the long-term sustainability of their grantees; and that funders work more collaboratively, to meet the daunting challenges now facing migrants seeking humanitarian protection in the U.S. and around the world. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)

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Masters, S. B. (2018). Philanthropic Strategies to Support Refugees and Asylum Seekers. Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees. Retrieved from