The Refugee Crisis- What’s happening in philanthropy?

An earlier version of this article was first shared on September 15, 2015. It has since then been updated to include the latest information and we will attempt to continue to update the information as work progresses. Do keep checking in.

Recent pictures have brought to light the seriousness of the refugee crisis in Europe. Many actors in the philanthropy sector are quickly mobilising to gather and share information, make sense of whats going on, identify work on the ground that foundations can support and think about the best role (both immidiately and in the long run) that the philanthropic community can play.

There are atleast three initiatives currently where foundations can participate, contribute and benefit:

In Europe, Ariadne has set up a new community for funders who are interested in the current refugee crisis. It is called Refugee Crisis in Europe. This community is open to all funders and Ariadne members. The community will provide the latest information and research for funders about the work. Ariadne is also organising forthnightly tele-briefings on the refugee crisis. The first was organised on September 14, 2015 with Marta Pahdavi of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and Will Somerville of Philanthropy Unbound, the recording for which can be found on the Ariadne portal, as well as a full list in the files of ngos and civil society organisations working on the crisis. Their second tele- briefing will take place on Monday, September 28th, 10:00 a.m. EDT and will focus on Southern and Eastern Europe. For more information, contact

A blog post on Alliance, Europe’s refugee crisis: the thinking philanthropist’s response? by Ariadne Director Jo Andrews provides excellent observations based on Ariadne’s first tele briefing.

The European Foundation Centre (EFC) and Alliance Magazine have joined forces to carry out a quick scan of what philanthropic actors are doing in response to the refugee crisis. They want to make an inventory of activities, initiatives and interests in order to gain a good understanding of who is doing what in response to the current situation in Europe. They are reaching out both to foundations that are already active in the migration/refugee space and doing more to respond to the issue, as well as to foundations, that perhaps might be struggling to see themselves or their mission as relevant to the current crisis. To participate, complete their questionairre by October 16, 2015.The initial results of the mapping will be shared during EuroPhilantopics 2015 on November 10, 2015, Brussels. 

In the USA, the IHRFG together with Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees is organising a series of webinars to reflect on what US funders can do in the current crisis. The first webinar was organised on September 17, 2015 to reflect on the root causes of the refugee crisis, current conditions in countries of origin and of first asylum, and what philanthropy is doing to respond to this humanitarian emergency. The recording and presentation from the webinar entitled ‘How U.S. Funders Can Respond to the Current Global Refugee Crisis’, are available here along with more resources on the issue.

Do you know of another initiative in philanthropy in response to the crisis? Do you have a story about philanthropy’s response to a similar situation in another part of the world that you would like to share so that we can draw lessons? You could contribute to the three initiatives mentioned above or write to us at