Latter-day Saint Charities donates $5 million to assist refugees resettling in U.S.

More than 9,000 refugees and immigrants are expected to benefit from $5 million-worth of grants donated by Latter-day Saint Charities.

The financial gift, announced Thursday, June 3, will be divided among nine refugee resettlement agencies which partner with scores of charitable organizations in the United States.

The agencies include:

  • The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • International Rescue Committee (IRC)
  • U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)
  • Church World Service
  • Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
  • Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS)
  • Episcopal Migration Ministries
  • Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC)
  • World Relief

The Church-provided grants will help refugees meet basic living expenses and obtain job skills training, according to a Newsroom release. The funds will also help youth with supplemental education training and case management services 

A portion of the donation will be used to purchase commodities for newly arrived refugees — including food, hygiene and furniture.

Alicia Wrenn, senior director of resettlement and integration with Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, said Latter-day Saint Charities “has been an incredible friend and partner” over the years through cash donations and commodities from Deseret Manufacturing and the bishops’ storehouse.

“We have many heartfelt testimonials from our network of this impact, such as messages from clients who are sleeping on a mattress for the first time in their lives or mothers finally getting adequate supplies of diapers,” Wrenn said in the release. “Over and over we see clients feeling a sense of dignity finally receiving and living with basic household commodities.”

Wrenn said most of this year’s cash donation will be used for refugees’ emergency and technology needs.

“We know from the last year during the pandemic, and even through the first signs of recovery from it, how hard it is for clients to slot back into with ease the changed job market,” she said. “Having a reserve to support those clients who have lingering obstacles to gaining employment with their food needs or rent needs or medical expenses will be life-altering for some clients.”

Megan Bracy, director of refugee and migrant services for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said the grant will help her organization “rebuild the refugee resettlement program to continue our work of welcome through economic empowerment, community connection, and direct client support, among other services. 

“Over the years, [Latter-day Saint Charities has] helped thousands of refugees find a safe, stable home in the United States — from furnishing apartments for families to supporting refugee mothers struggling to keep food on the table for their children during the COVID-19 pandemic. We truly couldn’t do it without them, and we cannot express our thanks enough.”

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants will use the donation to help refugees who need immediate financial assistance and job training, said USCRI CEO Eskinder Negash. This includes those impacted by COVID-19, natural disasters, homelessness, mental health challenges and other emergencies.

“This generous grant from Latter-day Saint Charities will help us immensely in providing newly resettled refugees with the material assistance and support services they need to launch their new lives here in the U.S.,” Negash told Newsroom. “This grant means that our new neighbors will receive furnished housing and be connected to benefits and support services including upward mobility support and training.”