Lever for Change announces Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award recipient

Credit: Resourcing Refugee Leadership Initiative

On May 4, 2021, Lever for Change and ICONIQ Impact announced that the Resourcing Refugee Leadership Initiative was selected as the $10 million recipient of the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award, a competition to secure a brighter, more durable future for refugees globally. The Award sponsors successfully raised a total of $24.25 million in funding to distribute to all five finalist organizations dedicated to improving the lives of refugees around the world.

The Awardee

Philanthropists Chris Larsen and Lyna Lam have awarded $10 million to the Resourcing Refugee Leadership Initiative, a global coalition working in six countries driven by the importance of transferring ownership and resources to refugee-led organizations (RLOs). The coalition, convened by Asylum Access, brings together five RLOs, including Basmeh & Zeitooneh in Lebanon, RefugiadosUnidos in Colombia, Refugees & Asylum seekers Information Centre (RAIC) in Indonesia, St. Andrew’s Refugee Services (StARS) in Egypt, and Young African Refugees for Integral Development (YARID) in Uganda.

In addition, the Sea Grape Foundation – a family foundation focused on making catalytic grants across scientific discovery, gender equality, human rights and the environment – is contributing $2 million to DREAMS for Refugees. Village Enterprise, in partnership with Mercy Corps and IDinsight, plans to scale and evaluate DREAMS for Refugees, a program that aims to equip refugees in Uganda and Ethiopia with the skills, support, resources, and connections they need to become successful entrepreneurs.

The Finalists

On December 3, 2020, we announced the five finalist teams that advanced toward the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award. A total of 88 applications were submitted from 27 countries around the globe. Applications were evaluated during a three-month review process that included a peer-to-peer round where each applicant received scores and feedback from five fellow applicants, as well as a final review from a diverse panel of 56 experts based in 13 countries with deep knowledge of global refugee and migration issues. Applications were evaluated based on four criteria: community-centered, impactful, feasible, and evidence-based.

Additional Funding

The Award was facilitated by Lever for Change’s partnership with ICONIQ Impact, ICONIQ Capital’s platform for collaborative philanthropy. Through peer-to-peer fundraising efforts, ICONIQ Impact and the Award’s sponsors mobilized an additional $12.25 million in funding from donors in the ICONIQ network, bringing the total funds raised to $24.25 million – more than double the initial award of $12 million.

These funds will be distributed across the Award’s five finalist teams. In addition to the $10 million awarded to the Initiative and the $2 million granted to DREAMS for Refugees:

  • DREAMS for Refugees is being awarded an additional $8 million by an anonymous donor in the ICONIQ network.
  • Three other finalist organizations – Southern New Hampshire University’s Global Education Movement, an initiative which offers refugees in six countries access to a university degree program and academic and career counseling and resources; New American Cities, a Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service project; and Unlocking Skilled Migration Solutions for Refugees, a project connecting refugees with international employers, led by Talent Beyond Boundaries – will each receive a $1 million grant from an anonymous donor in the ICONIQ network.
  • Additionally, David Karp, founder and former CEO of Tumblr, and Samantha McManus have pledged $1.25 million to be shared equally by all five finalist organizations.

ICONIQ Impact and Lever for Change are calling on additional philanthropists to join their efforts to fully fund all five of the finalist organizations that were identified during this competition. Interested donors may contact Dana Rice, Vice President of Philanthropy at Lever for Change.

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