Private philanthropy has a unique and critical role to play in the unfolding refugee crises. While governments wrangle with the politics and policy surrounding refugees, private funders have the ability to quickly provide help and support to people who are miles from home and arriving with little or no possessions, clothing, or money. This vital support will assist the crisis that has become the defining disaster of this decade. The unprecedented movement of people around the world has created the highest number of displaced persons since World War II.


All grantmaking from this fund is now complete, however, if you are interested in funding to help address the global refugee crisis, support our Global Recovery Fund.

Photo: Irish Defence Forces used under a Creative Commons License.


Since its inception in 2015, the CDP Global Refugee Crisis Fund has focused on capacity-building efforts to protect people forcibly displaced within Syria. The fund has been used to strengthen community-based protection initiatives for women and adolescents struggling through the ongoing conflict, as well as programs to improve adolescents’ psychological well-being through leadership training, education services and trauma support. According to the U.N. Refugee Agency, children now make up more than half of the world’s refugees.

Grantmaking Timeline

March 2016
August 2017
August 2018
April 2019 – Full fund distribution

Grant Committee

The grant committee included:

Committee Chair: Lori J. Bertman, president and CEO of the Baton Rouge- based Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation. Lori is the co-founder and chairman of the board of CDP.

Susan Martin, Donald G. Herzberg Professor Emerita in International Migration with the Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM) in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University (retired)

Kenneth Mack, Managing Partner of Mack Law, PLLC

Tony Pipa, Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development, Brookings Institution

Joe Ruiz, Director, The UPS Foundation’s Humanitarian Relief & Resilience Program and Communications

Julien Schopp, Director of Humanitarian Practice, InterAction

Aryah Somers Landsberger, Director of Programs, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees


Concern received two grants to provide protection programming to women and children in Syria. Concern has leveraged the grants to help Syrian women to protect themselves and assert their rights through community-based protection initiatives. Additionally, community members received training on key protection concerns, particularly gender based violence and child protection.

Mercy Corps received two grants 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.

With their grant, Maram Foundation for Relief and Development is undertaking facility and capacity improvements for the school that they run for internally displaced children.

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 was to create sustainable and dignified conditions for refugees fleeing to Europe.

Impact Stories

Take Action

Check out the CDP Global Recovery Fund to learn how to meet the ongoing and ever-expanding challenges presented by international disasters.

For more information or for additional assistance, please contact:

Regine A. Webster
Vice President
(206) 972-0187