On December 3, 2020, Lever for Change announced the five finalist teams that will advance to the next stage of the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award, a $12 million grant to secure a brighter, more durable future for refugees.
Selected from a pool of 71 applicants, the finalists represent projects focused on the realities faced by displaced people and refugees, and a determination to find and fund bold solutions that will achieve significant social change.
The finalists are listed below in alphabetical order (follow links to their profile pages for more information):
- DREAMS for Refugees (Video): Village Enterprise, in partnership with Mercy Corps and IDinsight, plans to scale and evaluate “DREAMS for Refugees”, a program to equip refugees in Uganda and Ethiopia with the skills, supports, resources, and connections they need to become successful entrepreneurs.
- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (Video): New American Cities provides an opportunity to rebuild for both new Americans and the cities they call home. Through economic empowerment, social mobility, and the promotion of diverse, inclusive communities, LIRS will create an infrastructure that allows both refugees and their cities to thrive.
- Resourcing Refugee Leadership (Video): In partnership with refugee-led organizations Basmeh & Zeitooneh in Lebanon, FUNDACOLVEN in Colombia, RAIC in Indonesia, StARS in Egypt, and YARID in Uganda, Asylum Access will build the capacity of other refugee-led organizations to scale up their influence and position refugees to lead solutions for their communities.
- Southern New Hampshire University’s Global Education Movement (Video): Through the Global Education Movement, refugees across six countries will learn skills, earn accredited bachelor’s degrees, and connect to meaningful, well-compensated careers as agents of change in their communities.
- Talent Beyond Boundaries (Video): Talent Beyond Boundaries connects skilled refugees to international employers, and advocates for refugees and other displaced people to be able to move internationally for work, leveraging their own skills to move their families towards secure futures.
About the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award
The Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award was launched in January 2020 by philanthropists Chris Larsen and Lyna Lam, and the Sea Grape Foundation, with support from ICONIQ Impact and Lever for Change, to identify actionable ideas that will transform the lives of refugees and displaced people. The five finalists present promising solutions that will not only improve the well-being of refugees in the short term but can also be scaled up to help secure a durable future for refugees in the long term.
The Award was inspired by Lyna Lam’s own experiences. In the 1980s, the Lam family emigrated from Vietnam to the United States, arriving with limited resources. A loan from their local Vietnamese community helped them start a business and achieve stability. Lyna is now the founder and Executive Director of the A Khmer Buddhist Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that works with the Cambodian American community and other refugee groups. Lyna’s husband, Chris Larsen, is an angel investor, serial entrepreneur, Executive Chairman of Ripple and has co-founded and previously served as CEO of several other innovative companies.
“Improving the lives and experiences of refugees is a cause close to our hearts, and we are extremely humbled for the opportunity to sponsor this competition,” said Chris Larsen and Lyna Lam, ICONIQ Capital clients who funded the Award. “With more displaced refugees in the world than ever before, we are seeking to fund a solution that will help refugees access the tools and resources that will make a difference on their path to success. For this reason, we’ve narrowed down our selection to five incredible finalist organizations united by the theme of professional and educational development. We believe that the majority of refugees are hard-working individuals determined to positively impact society, and we could not think of a better way to support them in these efforts than through the funding of this Award.”
Over the next three months, the finalists will receive technical support to revise and strengthen their proposed solutions. “These Award finalists inspire us with their bold solutions to tackle the long-term consequences of displacement for refugees,” said Cecilia Conrad, CEO of Lever for Change.
The Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award is the first in a series of expected grant competitions facilitated by Lever for Change’s partnership with ICONIQ Impact, ICONIQ Capital’s platform for collaborative philanthropy. In addition to the $10 million provided by the Larsen-Lam family, an additional $2 million was contributed by the Sea Grape Foundation, a family foundation focusing on making catalytic grants across scientific discovery, gender equality, human rights and the environment.
The Award finalists hold some of the most promising ideas to improve the present and future lives of refugees. We hope that this Award inspires other philanthropists to join our efforts to fund all five of these critical organizations. Interested donors may contact Dana Rice, Vice President of Philanthropy at Lever for Change.