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Resources for Inquiries

The Women’s Refugee Commission is neither a grant-making organization nor an aid organization but rather an organization centered on creating systemic change to improve the lives and protect the rights of refugee women, children and young people through research and advocacy.

We have compiled some information on organizations (from their websites) that may be able to better respond to your inquiry/request or guide you to an organization that can. All these organizations or institutions are based in the United States unless noted otherwise.

We hope you will find this resource helpful.


Read definitions that apply to the Women's Refugee Commission and refugee populations.

Also see the International Thesaurus of Refugee Terminology here.


Read here for a comprehensive list of funding resources.

Relief Services

Caritas Internationalis Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development and social service organizations. Caritas’ mandate includes integral development, emergency relief, advocacy, peace building, respect for human rights and support for proper stewardship of the planet’s environment and resources.

International Committee of the Red Cross The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance. Their activities include aid for civilians and prisoners, reuniting families, tracing missing persons, spreading knowledge of humanitarian law. Includes; relations with States, the international community and the private sector and cooperation with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

International Rescue Committee
The IRC is a recognized leader in humanitarian emergencies. When thousands flee war or repression, the IRC is immediately on the ground to make sure life-saving help gets to those who need it. They provide shelter, clean water, healthcare, and education to displaced people. Most importantly, IRC works with them to make sure they survive their exile in dignity. Programs include emergency relief, fighting gender-based violence, health programs, post-conflict development, education for children and protection. The Women's Refugee Commission is an affiliate of the International Rescue Committee.

Jesuit Refugee Service
The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is an international Catholic organisation with a mission to accompany, serve and defend the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced people. JRS undertakes services at national and regional levels with the support of an international office in Rome. JRS programmes are found in over 50 countries, providing assistance to refugees in refugee camps, to people displaced within their own country, to asylum seekers in cities and those held in detention. The main areas of work are in the field of Education, Advocacy, Emergency Assistance, Health and Nutrition, Income Generating Activities and Social Services.

UN Refugee Agency - UNHCR Providing fleeing civilians with emergency help is often the first step towards their long term protection and rehabilitation. To meet these and other operational needs, UNHCR has developed a global network of suppliers, specialist agencies and partners. Projects can range from dispatching emergency teams to the scene of a crisis, providing emergency food, shelter, water and medical supplies, and arranging major airlifts for a large exodus of refugees or a flotilla of small boats for smaller numbers of fleeing civilians. Among a host of other programmes, there are projects to help protect the environment, build schools and raise awareness of such problems as HIV/AIDS.

Legal/Immigration/Asylum Advice

Asylum Access Asylum Access is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making refugee rights an on-the-ground reality in the global south, in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Asylum Access helps refugees get asylum – legal sanctuary – in the first countries to which they flee, in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Asylum Access also helps refugees to assert their other internationally-recognized human rights, such as the right to work, send children to school, and access local healthcare services. Our work protects refugees from unlawful or unjust detention, deportation, torture and death, and helps them to begin rebuilding their lives in a new home, free from fear.

Colombian American Service Association CASA provides access to proper legal counseling by professional and certified immigration and family law attorneys. The service is rendered by a group of dedicated volunteer attorneys. Legal counseling services are provided during evening hours, from 7-9PM by appointment only. Those interested in counseling should contact our main office and make an appointment with one of the volunteer attorneys.

Catholic Charities of Boston
Through immigration legal services, newcomers receive high-quality legal consultation, referral and representation for an array of immigration benefits, such as political asylum, naturalization and family reunification. Last year alone, more than 4,000 persons received immigration legal services from Catholic Charities. For more information about Immigration Legal Services, call 617-451-7979.

Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
CLINIC has led the start-up of detention-based legal immigration services under the auspices of its diocesan member agencies in Boston, Newark, Miami, El Paso, and San Francisco. In addition, CLINIC provides its network of member agencies technical assistance to start and expand its own detention-based program. As such, CLINIC has developed the largest legal representation program for asylum seekers in immigration detention.

HIAS HIAS not only includes a worldwide staff of more than 100 employees and the 57 people who sit on our board of directors but also a support base of over 14,000 generous individuals. We all work together towards a common goal: rescue those in peril, reunite families in freedom, and enable newcomers to build new lives with hope and prosperity.

Human Rights First Through its Legal Representation work, the Asylum Program serves as a more effective advocate for legal reform and policy change on issues affecting asylum seekers in the United States. The cases assigned to pro bono volunteers through the Representation Program inform Human Rights First’s advocacy goals by providing real-life evidence of the challenges asylum seekers face upon their arrival in the United States.

Immigrant Legal Resource Center The ILRC is a national resource center that provides trainings, materials and advocacy to advance immigrant rights. As a legal services organization, we train lawyers and paralegals on ever-changing and complex immigration law. We develop leadership by encouraging immigrants to play leading roles in confronting and reshaping the laws and policies that perpetuate racial, economic and social injustice. And we educate and empower those in the immigrant community so that they may organize and advocate for the rights and privileges that best define our democratic traditions.

International Rescue Committee In addition to integrating refugees into the U.S., IRC’s resettlement network provides high-quality, comprehensive immigration services to refugee and immigrant clients. Twelve regional offices have been accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals to provide immigration legal services.

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service View a list, alphabetized by state, of LIRS-affiliated agencies throughout the country that provide immigration legal services.

National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Inc. The National Immigration Project is one of the few national-level, legal support groups that specializes in defending the rights of immigrants facing incarceration and deportation.

Tahirih Justice Center The Tahirih Justice Center was founded in 1997 to address the acute need for legal services of immigrant and refugee women who have fled to the U.S. to seek protection from human rights abuses. The Tahirih Justice Center is one of the nation's foremost pro bono legal advocacy organizations for women and girls fleeing human rights abuses and violence. Through direct litigation and public policy advocacy, Tahirih protects women and girls seeking escape from gender-based persecution and cruelty such as forced female genital mutilation, torture, rape, trafficking, honor crimes, gender apartheid, forced marriage, and domestic violence.

UNHCR Using the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention as its major tool, UNHCR's core mandate is to ensure the international protection of 20.8 million uprooted people worldwide. It promotes the basic human rights of refugees and that they will not be returned involuntarily to a country where they face persecution. It helps them to repatriate to their homeland when conditions permit, integrate into states of asylum or resettle in third countries. UNHCR promotes international refugee agreements, helps states establish asylum structures and acts as an international watchdog over refugee issues.


Catholic Charities of Boston In 2005, the refugee resettlement staff welcomed 272 refugees from all corners of the globe, including Cuba, Ethiopia, Haiti, Liberia, Somalia, Sudan and Viet Nam. Newcomers are greeted by our staff at the airport; provided with a modest apartment furnished with basic necessities; and assisted with acculturation, job placement services and English language training. Along with this critical assistance, refugees receive compassion, understanding and positive reassurance from our staff to help in the attainment of independence and self-sufficiency. Catholic Charities is a resettlement agency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. For more information about Refugee Resettlement, call +1.617-451-7979.

Church World Service/Immigration & Refugees Church World Service is one of 10 U.S. voluntary agencies upon which the U.S. Refugee Program depends to welcome refugees to America. For its part, CWS works with local resettlement affiliates in 23 states to help resettle some 5,000 new refugee arrivals in U.S. communities each year. CWS affiliate agencies work hand-in-hand with seven participating denominations, local congregational cosponsors, and volunteers to ensure that the newcomers have food, clothing, and other essentials as they help refugees learn English, find their way around town, enroll their children in school, look for work, and quickly become self-sufficient.

Episcopal Migration Ministries EMM is one of ten agencies that hold agreements with the U.S. Department of State to receive refugees from various parts of the world. Resettlement, while subsidized by federal funding, is made possible by generous financial support from the Episcopal Church, numerous parishes and countless volunteers in various parts of our network of 33 sites covering 27 diocesan programs. The EMM network is the vital component of our resettlement program which translates our goals and objectives into direct service to refugee clients.

International Organization for Migration IOM assists with the resettlement of persons accepted under regular immigration programmes through the processing of relevant documentation, performing medical screening and arranging safe, reliable and economical transportation. Language training and cultural orientation are also offered at the request of some receiving countries to facilitate the integration of migrants into their new host societies.

International Rescue Committee/Resettlement Dept.
The IRC supports newly arrived refugees by providing immediate aid, including food and shelter. Through a network of staff members and volunteers we provide access to the tools of self-reliance: housing, job placement and employment skills, clothing, medical attention, education, English-language classes and community orientation. Each resettlement office serves as a free, one-stop center for refugees’ needs during their pivotal first months in the U.S. In addition to integrating refugees into the U.S., the IRC’s resettlement network provides comprehensive immigration services to assist refugees and asylees on their path to becoming permanent residents or U.S. citizens. The IRC also provides specialized services to victims of human trafficking in the U.S. – men, women and children who have been forced or coerced into modern-day slavery.

UNHCR/Resettlement Dept. When it is sometimes impossible for civilians to go home, UNHCR helps them either to integrate in countries where they first sought asylum or to go to one of some 16 states which regularly accept refugees for permanent resettlement.

Development- and Humanitarian-Related Employment Search Sites


Employment Services

Asian American Civic Association The Asian American Civic Association (AACA), operating since 1967, provides limited English speaking and economically disadvantaged people with education, occupational training and social services enabling them to realize lasting economic self-sufficiency. AACA was originally established as a response to the cultural and economic needs of Chinese Americans. The organization now serves immigrants and refugees of all ethnicities.

Catholic Charities of Boston With new arrivals eager to work coming to the U.S. every day, Catholic Charities has the ability to fill job openings quickly. Employers can avoid advertising costs and take advantage of free referral services. For more information about Refugee Employment Services, call +1.617-451-7979.

Upwardly Global Upwardly Global is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco that brings highly qualified immigrants and highly progressive employers together. The jobseekers we help are already permanent residents of the U.S. and work-authorized. We help them write résumés, sharpen interviewing skills and develop professional networks. We also help businesses put the right people in the right jobs and show them how to reap the benefits of diversity.

English as a Second Language (ESL) and Education Resources:

Asian American Civic Association
Colombian American Service Association
Catholic Charities of Boston
Baruch College | Center for English Language
New York City | Office of Workforce Development (Adult Education)


Colombian American Service Association C.A.S.A. is a community based organization established in 1994 to assist and support all immigrants. Our efforts are focused on stabilizing and strengthening immigrant families and promoting self reliance. C.A.S.A., meets this challenge through direct services and programs, information, referral assistance and advocacy in areas of immigration, employment, crisis intervention, legal services, housing and education. In addition to all the services and programs available, CASA has established scholarship programs for students seeking a college education. These scholarships are intended to open the doors of opportunity for hundreds of deserving students whose hard work and dedication sets them apart. These are some of the scholarships available:

Creating Hope International Creating Hope International (CHI) was founded on a vision of improving the daily lives of the underserved, often silent victims of world strife, devastating natural disasters, crumbling economies, and political systems which suppress natural human rights. In the wake of these natural or human-made disasters, everyday people struggle to obtain those things which we most often take for granted: food, shelter, health care, employment and education. Lacking these life necessities, people are deprived of the self-dignity and self-determination so crucial to the human spirit. This is why CHI offers scholarships for young people in places like Tibet and Afghanistan.

Educate! Educate! is a volunteer based, student-run non-profit organization that provides scholarships to refugees and a select few underprivileged nationals in Uganda and Rwanda to attend school. These scholarships remove students from the difficult conditions in refugee camps and provide them with food, safety, and healthcare, in addition to an education.

UNHCR provides, on a limited basis, scholarships for refugees at the tertiary level in universities and polytechnic institutions through the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative Fund (DAFI). Funding for this program is provided by the Federal Government of Germany. The purpose of the DAFI Program is to contribute to the self-reliance of refugees by providing them with a professional qualification for future employment. Scholarships are granted only for studies in the country of asylum. Preferably, UNHCR would like to see the graduates return home and contribute to the reconstruction of their home country, or to the development of the country of asylum or the refugee community at large.


Voices of Courage Award (Women’s Refugee Commission) Each year, the Women’s Refugee Commission honors individual refugee women and young people who are working on behalf of other refugees. Two refugee or asylum-seeking women or young people (up to age 30) are selected annually to receive the Voices of Courage Award. 

Direct Marketing Association Non-Profit Federation Recognition of Excellence The DMANF gives out three awards: Non-profit organization of the year, non-profit achievement award and the non-profit public service award. The first award is for organizations, the second and third are for individuals.

Global Youth in Action Award
The 1,000USD Global Youth Action Awards are offered to the best youth-initiated projects that have created a measurable and positive impact in their community, addressing a specific need. The Awards are distributed on the United Nations International Day of Youth in August, pending funding. The Awards program motivates young people to identify a problem in their community and engage a team of their peers to address it, and creates recognition for the extraordinary contributions young people are making today.

The New York Times Company Nonprofit Excellence Awards
The Awards recognize the enormously important roles played by thousands of New York’s nonprofit organizations in improving our lives and communities. The Awards will also recognize the challenges that nonprofits face in accomplishing their goals and will illuminate the difficult and complex elements of successful management that enable them to address these challenges and excel at their missions. Finally, the Awards will recognize the crucial role that well-managed nonprofit organizations play in enabling grant makers to carry out their own missions. Winning organizations will receive cash awards, an opportunity to showcase their excellent management strategies in a Best Practices Workshop, a scholarship to be applied toward the Institute for Not-for-Profit Management at Columbia Business School Executive Education, and a chance to tell their stories.

The Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation The Award is given each November to three non-profit organizations in recognition of an innovative, existing program that has made a difference in the lives of the people it serves. Peter Drucker’s definition of innovation, that change that creates a new dimension of performance, is key to consideration for the Award. The Award has been given annually since 1991 and is accompanied by a first place prize of $35,000 and two runners up prizes of $7,500 and $5,000. The cash prizes are unrestricted and designed to celebrate and further the work of innovative non-profit organizations in the United States. The Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA, administers the Award.

Student Peace Prize Through the Students Peace Prize Students in Norway want to focus on those students and students’ organisations throughout the world that bravely fight suppressing and non-democratic governments. They are doing an important, but often dangerous job, and we want them to feel that their work is being appreciated and that students around the world want to award their admirable strength and willpower.

World Association of NGOs (WANGO) Award The WANGO Awards program honors non-governmental organizations from throughout the world that demonstrate extraordinary effort, innovation, leadership, and excellence in providing service to humanity. Awards may not be self-nominated; that is, individuals that are affiliated with an NGO are not to nominate their own NGO, and individuals may not nominate themselves for a WANGO Award. Newspaper articles, personal testimonies, recommendations from prominent leaders, and a report of activities would be useful for the Awards Selection Committee. The categories include: WANGO Education, Media, & the Arts Award, WANGO Environment Award, WANGO Human Rights Award, WANGO Family & Peace Award, WANGO Interreligious Cooperation Award, WANGO Universal Peace Award, and WANGO Peace & Security Award.

Fundraising Guide

Fundraising Guide for Women's Community-Based Organizations Women Thrive Worldwide believes that the best way to fight global poverty is by investing in local women's groups in the developing world. But local organizations often have difficulty navigating the complex world of international assistance and fundraising. Women Thrive Worldwide developed this guide to help bridge that gap. Outlining the basic concepts of professional fundraising, the guide seeks to assist community partners through a collaborative process to increase access to effective resources. From practical advice based on years of experience in professional fundraising in the United States to detailed instructions on how to write grant proposals, budgets and reports, the principles and methods introduced are applicable globally and can be tailored to local environments.