Understanding how to use philanthropic resources to address the refugee crisis was the focus of this discussion on the current global situation and the mounting humanitarian assistance challenges.

Hosted by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) with generous support from the UPS Foundation, the webinar was moderated by CDP Vice President Regine Webster with opening remarks from Alice Turner, UPS Humanitarian Relief and Resilience Program Supervisor. The expert panel included Ed Cain, Vice President of Grant Programs, The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Áine Fay, President, Concern Worldwide U.S., and Julien Schopp, Director of Humanitarian Practices, InterAction.

Listen to the webinar recording and review the summary below to learn more about funding opportunities.

Webinar Summary

The global refugee crisis continues to break records. Over 65 million people—more than half are children—are forcibly displaced around the world. In addition to the Syrian crisis, there are grave humanitarian situations in South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Somali, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar, Burma, and northeast Nigeria. An unprecedented 34,000 people, or roughly 24 people a minute, abandon their homes every day. No one willingly leaves their home without their possessions unless dire, life-threatening circumstances have driven them to flee.

Understanding how to use philanthropic resources to address the crisis is incredibly challenging. Though the complex, on-going situation is constantly changing, what is clear is that the humanitarian assistance needs are mounting rapidly. This is no longer a refugee crisis; it is an empathy crisis that prevents us from relating to people fleeing conflict.

The discussion provided funders next steps by answering the following two questions:

1. What are guiding principles for funding in areas of conflict?
In general, funders need to consider who they fund, how they fund, and what strategies and lessons they can duplicate and share with other funders. Some best practices include:

  • Collaborate with other funders, corporations, government agencies, and community associations.
  • Do on-the-ground assessments of needs and the responding organizations.
  • Fund beyond relief to address the highly neglected area of long-term recovery.
  • Invest locally by supporting vetted, community organizations.
  • Align your values and priorities with your funding approach.
  • Create information channels and accountability tools to demonstrate and share impact.

2. What are the small, medium, and big ways funders can help refugees?
Beyond the immediate needs—shelter, food, water, and medical aid—there are endless opportunities to invest in recovery, rebuilding, and long-term efforts.

  • Contact NGOs working on the ground for a range of funding opportunities.
  • Support discussions and/or surveys that involve impacted communities in outlining their specific needs.
  • Fund advocacy efforts that reframe the refugee crisis as one of opportunities not threats.
  • Consider long-term investments in education, jobs, life skills, sustainable energy sources, and restoring hope and dignity to refugees.
  • Partner with corporations for innovative solutions around technology.
  • Invest in sustainable development goals.

The global humanitarian crisis presents limitless possibilities for creative action and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy is prepared to help you take the first step. To learn more about how you can be part of the solution, please schedule a one-on-one consultation by contacting:
Regine Webster
(206) 972-0187