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

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott Donates $15 Million to Global Refuge

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Global Refuge Staff

November 14, 2022

Contact: Tim Young |

Global Refuge, the nation’s largest faith-based nonprofit dedicated exclusively to serving and advocating for refugees, asylum seekers, and other vulnerable immigrants in the U.S., announced today it received a $15 million gift from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

The donation is the single largest contribution Global Refuge has received from an individual donor in its 83-year history of welcoming and empowering children and families from all around the world. It comes on the heels of the historic Afghan refugee resettlement mission, Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and record arrivals of asylum-seeking children and families at the U.S. southern border.

“This unprecedented and timely gift will make a monumental difference in the lives of the most vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers as they strive to achieve their own American Dream,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Global Refuge. “We are extremely grateful to MacKenzie Scott for this recognition of our decades-long legacy of service. Her support represents a transformational opportunity to expand innovative programming and reimagine how the U.S. welcomes new Americans.”

The nonprofit organization will use the funds to accelerate groundbreaking projects intended to transform immigration services, including trauma-informed mental health care and the expansion of its holistic Welcome Centers for asylum-seeking families. The record-breaking gift will also support the group’s New American Cities workforce development program, and reinforce Global Refuge’s unique capabilities to care for unaccompanied children through foster care programming and other community-based services.

The contribution comes amid a period of historic activity at Global Refuge. In the past year alone, the refugee nonprofit resettled approximately 14,000 Afghans following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The organization is also assisting Ukrainians and Venezuelans displaced by ongoing crises in their homeland, as well as refugees from around the globe, including those from Syria, Burma, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“This is a win-win mission for cities like Baltimore,” concluded Vignarajah. “We can live up to our legacy as a city and country welcoming of immigrants, and we can position communities to benefit from the economic and cultural contributions our newest neighbors are poised to make. Ms. Scott’s contribution is game changing for our organization as our work recognizes that more than ever before, they need our help and we need theirs.”

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