New name, same mission! LIRS is becoming Global Refuge. Learn more.

New name.
Same mission.

LIRS is now Global Refuge.

Welcoming newcomers since 1939.

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Press Release // Community Engagement

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service rebrands as Global Refuge

Global Refuge Staff

January 17, 2024

Global Refuge, a national nonprofit organization that has welcomed and empowered refugees since 1939, seeks to build a bigger table of supporters amid unprecedented humanitarian crises


January 17, 2023

Contact: Jason Lucas | | 240-717-4421

Baltimore, MD – The nation’s largest faith-based nonprofit dedicated exclusively to serving and advocating for refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants in the U.S proudly announces its new name, Global Refuge.

For 85 years, the nonprofit formerly known as Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service has been a national humanitarian leader through social services, advocacy, and empowerment to restore a sense of home. Since 1939, the organization has served over 750,000 people from around the globe.

The rebrand to Global Refuge marks a new phase for the nonprofit as it seeks to further grow its service impact and build a bigger table of supporters at a time when more than 114 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes by escalating violence, persecution, and climate disaster, according to the United Nations.

“We are thrilled to embark on an exciting new chapter rooted in our profound purpose, rich history, and enduring commitment to walking faithfully alongside newcomers at every stage in their journey,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Global Refuge. “The word ‘Global’ not only describes the diverse backgrounds of the children and families we serve, but also conveys the scale of our vision to grow our humanitarian leadership as a beacon of hope and welcome. ‘Refuge’ is inspired by our Lutheran heritage and conveys a meaning of shelter that extends across all people, faiths, and denominations, just as our work does. At its core, our new name speaks to the place we are creating for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in need, the world over.”

Accompanying the launch of the Global Refuge brand is a new website that enhances user experience and leans into rich, human-centered storytelling. The organization’s logo, inspired by the Statue of Liberty’s torch, has undergone a modernization, taking a circular form in keeping with its “global” theme, serving as a timeless reminder that immigration is an integral part of the American Dream.

The rebrand comes on the heels of tremendous growth for the organization, which now boasts more than 550 employees worldwide. In 2023, Global Refuge also launched innovative lines of service, including new programming in Guatemala for returned youth; New American Community Lending – an economic empowerment initiative to promote financial stability among immigrant families and small businesses; mental health programming for immigrant families and unaccompanied migrant children; as well as a series of Welcome Centers across the country to offer trauma-informed services to refugees and asylum seekers – thanks in part to a transformative $15 million contribution from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

“For 85 years, the passion and expertise of our staff, volunteers, and vast partner network – particularly that of countless Lutheran congregations across the world – have shined brightly as a beacon of belonging, opportunity, and grace for newcomers,” concluded Vignarajah. “For the next 85 years and beyond, where there is need, Global Refuge will be there to lead.”

About us:

Global Refuge, formerly Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, is a nonprofit serving newcomers seeking safety, support, and a share in the American dream. For 85 years, we have welcomed those seeking refuge, upholding a legacy of compassion and grace for people in crisis. We walk alongside individuals, families, and children as they begin their new lives in the United States through our work in refugee resettlement, welcome and respite services for asylum seekers, economic empowerment and employment, and family unification for unaccompanied children. To date, we have served over 750,000 people from around the globe. At Global Refuge, welcoming newcomers isn’t just our duty—it’s an inherent part of our identity, rooted in our Lutheran heritage and inspired values, and serving as a testament to our unwavering commitment to those in search of refuge.

Thumbnail for a video entitled 'Announcing Global Refuge!'

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