The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has been paying close attention to the Syrian civil war and subsequent refugee flow. We, like many, are gravely concerned with the long-term economic, educational, public health, and overall societal impact of a protracted civil war. To address a small portion of the enormous humanitarian challenges posed by this complex humanitarian emergency, in fall 2015, our organization launched the CDP Refugee Crisis Fund.

The Fund invests in projects and initiatives that:

  • Fund education for children, many of whom have not been in school for two or more years;
  • Provide support for resettled families as they work to start over and obtain homes and a new livelihood;
  • Support the needs of unaccompanied minors, who are very skeptical of working with the refugee system;
  • Support unmet needs of refugee resettlement agencies globally – organizations that specialize in resettlement need resources and funds to effectively work with the high number of people;
  • Support public health needs of refugees and displaced persons living within camp environments. Refugees in informal camps do not have access to routine healthcare or medication and frequently need pre- and post-natal care, along with birth attendance and assistance to mothers of infants.
  • Support the needs of vulnerable populations at a variety of levels, with work that is dictated by the best practices and changing landscape of the field.

Under the leadership of CDP’s disaster management analyst, Anna Hurt, and with considerable input from our Board, Fund Grantmaking Committee, our Advisory Council, and utilizing additional CDP staff experience, we have focused our support exclusively on capacity building efforts designed to protect women and children within Syria. Our two grants tackle this challenge head on by providing women and children education, skill-building opportunities, and most importantly, safe spaces.

The two grantees are:

Concern will receive $122,400 to provide protection programming to women and children in Syria. Through the efforts of this grant, Concern will help Syrian women to protect themselves and assert their rights through community-based protection initiatives. Community members will receive training on key protection concerns, particularly gender based violence and child protection. This training will be followed up by community outreach sessions and home visits.

Mercy Corps will receive $123,000 to support two No Lost Generation Community Centers to address the critical needs of more than 360 adolescents, their families, and communities in Syria. In the immediate term, Mercy Corps is addressing the psychosocial well-being of adolescents along with their access to safe spaces. Their intermediate objectives are to reduce the vulnerability of crisis-affected adolescents and promote their ability to affect change through leadership, life, and decision-making training. In the long-term, Mercy Corps hopes that this program will save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity in South and Central Syria.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy also received a designated gift to support the International Rescue Committee’s programs in Europe. The purpose of this grant is to create sustainable and dignified conditions for refugees fleeing to Europe.

We would like to extend our personal thanks to the members of the CDP Refugee Crisis Fund’s Grantmaking Committee. The expertise, advice, connections, wisdom, and kindness you extended to CDP cannot be measured.

Our committee members include:

Lori J. Bertman, Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation (Committee Chair)
Susan Martin, Georgetown University
Robert G. Ottenhoff, Center for Disaster Philanthropy
Anthony Pipa, USAID
Joe Ruiz, UPS Foundation
Julien Schopp, InterAction

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy will continue to educate and inform our philanthropic partners about the continued humanitarian needs in Syria and surrounding countries.