We are proud to be a leader in serving the world's most vulnerable population: The more than 75 million refugees, internally displaced people and asylum-seekers. Our Foundation is particularly focused on increasing community-based resettlement opportunities for displaced people. Throughout our website you will see some of our strategic partnerships.
Given that the world's attention has been on helping Ukrainians since February 24th 2022, we also wanted to highlight the work that we are doing with our partners which you can see below. Our tireless work on behalf of displaced people of all backgrounds continues at the same aggressive pace as always.
On April 21, President Biden announced the launch of “Uniting for Ukraine”, a humanitarian parole program which allows any American to sponsor any Ukrainian. The program’s stated goal is 100,000 individuals. USCIS started accepting online, zero cost, 2-sided applications on April 25 and as of June 3, 46,000 applications have been received, 27,000 approved and 6,500 have arrived.
Shapiro Foundation involvement: In addition to providing financial and strategic support for our two primary national sponsorship partners (the Community Sponsorship Hub and Welcome.ushttps://welcome.us/), we have been leading an effort to create a greater Boston Jewish community sponsorship network. Our key local partners are: Jewish Family Metrowest (case management), the Jewish Community Relations Council (sponsor management), and Temple Beth Elohim (TBE).
We have also had preliminary discussions with other organizations which have been key partners in prior Syrian and Afghan sponsorship programs, which we expect to be part of post-arrival support for U4U including: JVS-Boston, Boston Medical Center and Boston Children’s Hospital.
Nationally, we have been reaching out to our Afghan sponsorship partners (in particular Jewish community organizations across the US) to assess interest and needs in supporting U4U matches. Discussions are most advanced with USCCB and HIAS, but also have had conversations with other Sponsor Circle Umbrella partners International Rescue Committee (IRC) and REACT-DC.
Our specific programmatic areas of focus to date are: 1) sourcing; 2) transportation; and 3) funding.
On sourcing, we have been exploring possible front-end referral partners which may be able to provide a source of Ukrainian beneficiaries which have a demonstrated interest in participating in U4U. Our vision is that unlike OAW, where 100% of Afghans were to be resettled, directly from eight discrete domestic locations, in U4U, there will be a much more open, unstructured system needed to identify candidates. Therefore, we see a world where multiple overseas referral partners are identified, including in particular, inside Ukraine.
Our initial pilot referral partner is an organization called the 1kproject. 1k’s primary model is to identify vulnerable families, vet and prioritize them, and then make direct $1,000 cash transfers into their Ukrainian bank accounts. To date, they have raised over $8 million ($3 million in the past two weeks), and distributed over $5 million to 5,000+ families.
Our pilot referral program will leverage 1k’s 20K+ vetted families (80%+ still in Ukraine) in order to survey the families and assess interest/appropriateness for U4U participation. Once we have those results, we will design a follow-up plan to consider matching/referring to one or more US sponsorship partners (directly and/or into a matching algorithm).
The first 1kproject referral (a family of three, including a 10-yr old with a liver transplant from her mother) have been submitted and approved, by a repeat TBE sponsor family (Syrians and Afghans). Funding has already been raised through the TBE New American fund ($68K), case management committed (by JFS), initial housing has been secured, and medical treatment (from BCH) assured. Additional sponsor support is being secured, and the family will participate upon arrival in job, school and longer-term housing decisions.
On transportation, to date we have had conversations with Miles4Migrants, Welcome.us, CSH, United Airlines, DHS, PRM and NSC regarding the possibility of providing support for air travel (similar to what we did with Operation Allies Welcome for Afghans and we are now doing in Canada and the UK for Ukrainians).
On funding, we have been discussing with CSH, Social Finance and DHS/NSC the possibility of creating both a primary fund and a backstop fund to support sponsors. We are leveraging our experience with the BVOR Funds we created in Canada in 2018 & 2019, and the backstop fund in the UK in 2020.
Launched March 18, H4U is an uncapped, indefinite, government-funded, matched (sponsor-beneficiary application) program which allows any UK ‘host’ willing to commit to house a Ukrainian for at least six months. Like the US U4U program, 2-sided visa applications are required. Ukrainians are given a minimum of three years of temporary status, with substantial government benefits. Hosts are reimbursed £350/month, and municipalities receive £10,500 for every Ukrainian being hosted in the city, plus £8,000 for each school-aged child.
The UK also has a parallel ‘Family Reunification’ scheme where ~40,000 sponsors/beneficiaries have been approved, of which 23,000 have arrived.
As of May 30: 97,900 H4U applications have been submitted, 79,900 have been approved, and 42,600 have arrived. Over the past month, new applications have averaged +1,000/day, approvals and arrivals ~800/day. By my estimates, even if the program ended today, the UK government has committed approximately £1.3 billion of taxpayer support, now growing by £80-100 million/week!
Shapiro Foundation involvement: We are working with The Refugee Hub, two “lead sponsor” organizations (Citizens UK and Reset), the government “Department of Leveling Up”, a new UK-based NGO referral organization (Ukrainian Sponsorship Pathway UK/USPUK), Social Finance UK (to support matching algorithm development), a humanitarian aid partner (Choose Love), a faith-based sponsorship advocacy organization (Sanctuary Foundation), a strategic communications firm (More in Common), philanthropic partners (Nick Vetch and Steve Morgan Foundation), and an airline (Wizz Air).
Our primary activities to date have been to help support beneficiary sourcing (with USPUK), sponsor matching (USPUK, Citizens, Reset and Social Finance), and flights. Last month, we announced a partnership with Wizz Air, Steve Morgan and Choose Love to offer an initial 10,000 free flights for Ukrainians. We don’t know how much of a barrier air travel has been for H4U, but in the first three weeks, there were 5,200 bookings, which are now averaging +250/day.
Situation overview: As of June 1, 7.0 million Ukrainians who have fled the country, 4.7 million have entered Europe (1.1 million in Poland), and 2.2 million are currently in Western Europe (and beyond).
In terms of flows, it appears that the total number of Ukrainians across Eastern Europe is relatively stable to declining, with daily entry being more than offset by the combination of returns to Ukraine and journeys to Western Europe and beyond. While this could certainly change (in either direction) based on developments in Ukraine, our planning assumption is that there will continue to be 1+ million Ukrainians (largely women and children) staying in Eastern Europe for the foreseeable future.
Shapiro Foundation involvement: We are providing humanitarian support in Moldova (via IsraAID) and in Krakow (via JCC Krakow). We are actively identifying partners to support their community-based work on multiple fronts, including: daycare, university scholarships, housing, employment and relocation sourcing. We have made initial grants to an operator of daycare centers and finalizing grants to two initial university partners for financial aid.
Program description: There are currently 2.2 million Ukrainians who have fled Ukraine and are living across Western Europe The top five destinations are: Germany (800K), Czech Republic (360K), Italy (126K), Spain (109K) and Turkey (85K). Generally, Ukrainian nationals can travel to Europe without a visa, and stay for up to three years, with access to various governmental social services.
Shapiro Foundation involvement: We are in the early stages of creating a pan-European Community Sponsorship network which we will support via volunteer recruitment/management and case management personnel. Several pilot cities/organizations have been identified, and we have a goal of creating a network of 20+ locations/partners in the coming months.
Program description: In early March, the Canadian government launched the “Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET)” program which provides Ukrainians the opportunity to obtain a visa to travel to Canada and stay for up to two years. Ukrainians receive access to various benefits and government support services typically offered to refugees.
Unlike the UK or US, Canada’s program does not require a designated sponsor in order to apply. As a result, the number of applicants is much higher than the UK or US. As of May 18: 242,000 Ukrainians have applied, 112,000 have been approved and 32,000 have arrived.
Shapiro Foundation involvement: Our two primary areas of focus in Canada to date have been: 1) supporting the Jewish communities across the country which have committed to provide sponsor-like support services (matching, training, case management, volunteer management) and 2) travel. On April 20, we announced a partnership with IRCC, Miles4Migrants, Air Canada and the Jewish Federation of Toronto to fund 10,000 free flights for Ukrainians authorized for travel to Canada. The program goes live on June 10, with an initial plan to book at least 500 passengers/month.
We are proud to be a leader in serving the world's most vulnerable population: The 70.8 million refugees, internally displaced people and asylum-seekers.
Through meaningful partnerships across five continents, our goals are to alleviate suffering in the most extreme situations and to actively develop creative resettlement opportunities in advanced economies.
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