Coalition of Funders to Support Refugee Resettlement Agencies and Help U.S. Communities Sponsor Newcomers from Afghanistan and Other Countries
Over the last month, tens of thousands of Afghans have been forced to flee their homes and been hastily resettled in new countries. Communities across the U.S. are welcoming Afghan refugees and helping them get settled. To best support refugees as they look to establish new lives and pursue new opportunities in the U.S., it is critical to work toward revitalizing the refugee resettlement system – to benefit refugees, communities, and the field. To help meet this need, the WES Mariam Assefa Fund is partnering with other funders and private philanthropists to support 17 new awardees of the Community Sponsorship Catalyst Fund.
Community sponsorship is a model that pairs refugees with groups such as local clubs, businesses, university communities, faith groups, and others that commit to providing financial support, in-kind contributions, or volunteer services to support refugees. This is one of the many approaches that can establish a more sustainable, supportive refugee resettlement system. Community sponsorship has been shown to make measurable gains in helping refugees resettle, and over time, experience greater economic mobility.
In September, the Catalyst Fund announced grants to three national resettlement agencies and 14 local organizations. The grants are aimed at helping agencies provide opportunities to sponsor Afghan and other refugees arriving in the U.S. The Catalyst Fund is housed within the Community Sponsorship Hub, a new organization working to grow the role of communities in the protection, resettlement, and integration of refugees and other forcibly displaced people. This work also helps to build on the outpouring of support from communities across the U.S.
“In recent weeks we have seen a groundswell of public support for the United States resettlement program,” says Community Sponsorship Hub Executive Director Sarah Krause. “Individuals are reaching out to local resettlement agencies looking for ways to volunteer and support newcomers. Community sponsorship programs provide opportunities for local groups to directly and meaningfully support refugees as they resettle and integrate into their new communities.”
The 17 awardees join 8 recipients from the Catalyst Fund’s first round of grants. These organizations will come together as a community of practice and work closely to expand community sponsorship opportunities in dozens of cities.