Recent events on the world stage in Afghanistan and Haiti are bringing up a number of issues that should strike a familiar tone in the world of philanthropy. When commentators and leaders criticize the U.S. government for not investing in a proper exit plan that includes Afghan allies or wonder how or international relief agencies will overcome the deep mistrust that their previous efforts created among local Haitian residents, it’s not hard to see the parallels with some of the domestic spending efforts of resource-rich grantmakers and foundations.
Addressing issues of safety, trust and abandonment is central to making a deep impact and cementing change, especially as the media spotlight dims and the sense of urgency wanes. As NCRP continues its work within various moment spaces, we join our partners and allies in calling philanthropy to make consistent deeper and more specific investments during crises like these.
We have a responsibility to do much better by refugees and asylum seekers, and philanthropy should lead the way in that support. It is important for philanthropy to resource those organizations advocating for refugees. To openly ask and follow what those in the reproductive access, pro-immigrant and refugee movements say they need to better serve those on the ground. To not just wield their financial power in the moment, but to help build that of these groups by providing consistent, dependable multi-year support after the news cycle turns.
What Groups Are Saying And Doing
Our CHANGE partner, Women’s Funding Network, issued a statement of solidarity with vulnerable genders and populations at risk due to Taliban forces through Afghanistan, stating, “We recognize the gendered impact of conflict and the critical peacebuilding role women, girls, and gender nonbinary people play. Of the nearly 250,000 people in Afghanistan who have been forced to flee their homes since the end of May, 80 percent have been women and children.” Additionally, Women’s Funding Network offered a list of organizations focused on supporting women under threat that individuals could donate to.
There has also been a lack of funding for earthquake victims of Haiti. With current political tensions and accusations around the disappearing of funds from their last earthquake, Haiti has had difficulties receiving aid for victims of their most recent crisis. That is why the Center for Disaster Philanthropy launched the “CDP Haiti Earthquake Recovery Fund” to support both medium and long-term recovery needs of the individuals and communities that have been affected by the earthquake.
How can funders help? Here are some links from NCRP’s nonprofit allies and members that provide actions funders can take to support refugees and asylum seekers now and beyond the current crises:
Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees provided six ways for philanthropy to support victims of both Afghanistan and Haiti, all of which included links to resources and organizations focused on supporting immigrants and refugees.
Refugee Congress released a statement, calling on the Biden Administration to act swiftly on the crisis in Afghanistan and “evacuate Afghan allies and their families, including at-risk women, children and members of the LGBTQ+ community.” “As an organization built and led by former refugees, asylees and other vulnerable migrants who had to flee violence, unsafe conditions and persecution, Refugee Congress knows firsthand what it’s like to depend on the U.S. to fulfill its promise in providing safety and protection.”
Haitian Bridge Alliance put out a statement condemning the Biden Administration’s decision to resume deportation and expulsion flights during this time. Co-founder and Executive Director Guerline Jozef wrote, “My question is whether it is the goal of the U.S. government to continue to contribute to the destabilization of Haiti?” noting the administration’s response as “a clear example of external violence that continues to deepen the instability in Haiti.” Haitian Bridge Alliance encouraged individuals and the U.S government to donate to relief organizations that are directly helping the Haitian community and follow a “human rights approach that fosters accountability, transparency, participation of Haitians, capacity building and non-discrimination.”
Lastly, Valerie Kaur of The Revolutionary Love Project offers a list of groups working to help Afghan refugees for people to donate to and amplify in addition to a guided inquiry for individuals to process emotions, find breath and take action. As she writes:
We are reeling. As we watch the horror in Afghanistan, grief and rage are tearing through us.
But we are not helpless.