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

New name.
Same mission.

LIRS is now Global Refuge.

Welcoming newcomers since 1939.

See Our Evolution

The browser you are using is not supported. Please consider using a modern browser.

Skip Navigation
Start of main content.


Global Refuge Receives Foundational Gift from ELCA World Hunger for Baltimore-Based Programming

Global Refuge logo

Global Refuge Staff

January 6, 2023

Global Refuge is incredibly grateful to announce a generous $400,000 gift from ELCA World Hunger. Since Global Refuge’s founding in 1939, the ELCA and its preceding church bodies have been central to our ministry and mission—and though our programs have expanded from a four-person operation to a nearly 500-strong national nonprofit with offices around the country, our shared commitment to the work of welcome has never wavered.

The award will support programming in Baltimore, MD, including the new Global Refuge Baltimore Welcome Center and a new economic empowerment initiative. Global Refuge Welcome Centers provide trauma-informed case management for asylum seekers, including mental health screening and services, know-your rights support, connections to community-based resources such as food banks, education services, and more. Our forthcoming economic initiative supports financial literacy, microlending, and credit-building for immigrant and refugee clients who might otherwise be ineligible or excluded from traditional development pathways.

“This generous gift from ELCA World Hunger is a testament to our long-standing partnership and will help launch new programming that builds off of our strong shared history of welcome,” said Global Refuge President and CEO Krish O’Mara Vignarajah. “Immigrants and refugees represent both the past and future of the United States, and together, Global Refuge and the ELCA will continue to work toward an inclusive, equitable future for all who call this country home.”

“We celebrate this new gift to Global Refuge, which will strengthen the direct service programs that support vulnerable migrants and refugees as they transition to a new land,” added Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, Executive Director for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Service and Justice Home Area. “Our relationship with Global Refuge as a non-governmental entity is one in which we each have distinctive gifts to bring to bear in the accompaniment of migrants and refugees—Global Refuge having a long trajectory of programmatic service in the U.S. and the ELCA with a strong international work in global migration and a powerful network of synods and congregations engaged in this work.”

ELCA World Hunger’s foundational gift for our Baltimore-based programming allows Global Refuge to expand our direct services work in the city we’ve called home since 1999. The need is greater than ever; one in seven Maryland residents is an immigrant, and many are ineligible for government services and support—let alone the holistic support needed to move beyond the basics and toward a true share in the American Dream. The ELCA is an essential partner in the provision of this “long welcome,” and shares the Global Refuge vision that immigrants and refugees must be afforded the opportunity not only to survive, but to thrive.

“As Paul writes in his first letter to the Corinthians, the body of Christ does not consist of one member, but of many,” said Andrew G. Steele, Global Refuge Vice President for Development and Mobilization. “We are grateful to the generous ELCA congregations, members, churchwide organization colleagues, and others who have helped make this gift possible and look forward to our sustained partnership as we continue to expand our reach and serve our immigrant and refugee neighbors.”

The Latest

  • Press Release

    February 23, 2024

    Global Refuge alarmed by Biden administration consideration of new asylum ban

    The Biden administration is considering executive action to further restrict asylum eligibility at the southern border for people who cross between official ports of entry.

    Read More
  • Press Release

    February 15, 2024

    HHS: Refugees & Asylees Generate $123.8 Billion Net Fiscal Benefit

    "This study demonstrates that refugee resettlement is firmly within our national interest, both in terms of maintaining our global humanitarian leadership and bolstering federal, state, and local resources."

    Read More
  • Press Release

    February 15, 2024

    White House Designates Deferred Enforced Departure for Palestinians

    "The DED designation offers much-needed support and protection to Palestinians living in our country at a time when their homeland is going through so much tumult. The ongoing conflict makes returning unsafe for the foreseeable future, so this decision demonstrates the Biden administration’s commitment to our nation being a global humanitarian leader during times of crisis.”

    Read More
  • Press Release

    February 4, 2024

    Senators announce bipartisan immigration legislation

    Global Refuge responds to bipartisan legislation concerning immigration policy, which has been tied to an emergency supplemental foreign assistance bill.

    Read More
  • Press Release

    January 29, 2024

    Global Refuge responds to President Biden statement on immigration negotiations

    Global Refuge is deeply troubled by President Biden’s statement on bipartisan senate negotiations concerning immigration policy, touting “a new emergency authority to shut down the border."

    Read More