WES Mariam Assefa Fund Frequently Asked Questions

The WES Mariam Assefa awarded its first round of grants to the five following organizations:

Click on the links above to read more about each grantee and their projects.

Grantees were selected based on several factors including organizational track record, ability to generate learnings and new ideas to inform the field, and the potential impact of the proposed project.

For its first grants grantmaking, the fund focused on organizations working in these three core areas:

  • Shifting employer engagement to encourage employers to hire immigrant and refugee talent
  • Building leadership capacity in immigrant and refugee communities
  • Creating innovative finance solutions that invest in immigrants, refugees, and their communities

The WES Mariam Assefa Fund has identified several priorities to guide its efforts in 2019 and 2020. In the near-term, the fund is focused on supporting organizations and solutions working to address issues in five areas of immigrant integration and workforce development:

  • Skill-building: Solutions that equip immigrants and refugees with the skills to succeed in the workplace of today and tomorrow
  • Employer talent practices: Initiatives that encourage employers to tap into immigrant and refugee talent
  • Innovation and experimentation: Innovations that can accelerate scale and deepen the impact of immigrant integration and workforce development interventions
  • Leadership and capacity-building: Initiatives that build leadership capacity within immigrant and refugee communities
  • Ecosystem development: Approaches to grow the ecosystem of supportive funders, policymakers, educators, employers and service providers

The fund is initially focused on grantmaking. In the future, we may make program-related investments as well.

We identify potential grantees who can contribute expertise, learnings, and impact on the five core areas of exploration outlined above. All final-stage applicants must undergo financial, organizational, and programmatic due diligence.

The fund primarily supports entities classed by the Internal Revenue Service as tax-exempt, non-profit organizations. For-profit social enterprises may be eligible for a grant if the nature of their work clearly contributes to the charitable goals of the Fund. The geographic focus of the fund’s grantmaking is currently the United States. We are exploring opportunities for grantmaking in Canada at a later date.

The Fund is focused on advancing the economic and workforce integration of immigrants and refugees. As such, we do not offer scholarships or other resources to support international students.


The fund does not currently accept unsolicited proposals. However, we deeply value innovative ideas generated by organizations and practitioners in the field and will periodically issue calls for projects aligned with our areas of focus. Any future open calls for proposals will be shared through our distribution list, so please sign up to stay updated.


Please email [email protected]

Please join our distribution list! We will share updates on funding priorities, partnership opportunities, learnings from our work, and more.

World Education Services (WES) has long pursued the mission of enabling individuals to fully utilize their education and talent. The WES Mariam Assefa Fund offers a new way for the organization to achieve this mission. The fund will be used to support select organizations that are working to accelerate progress in immigrant economic integration, spur innovation in the delivery of workforce development interventions, and permanently dismantle the barriers that hinder economic advancement among immigrants and refugees.

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