Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

New American Cities

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.

Competition Participation
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Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award
Refugee support
Current Work Location(s):
  • United States
  • United States
Priority Population(s):
  • Refugees and displaced people
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
  • 1. No poverty
  • 8. Decent work and economic growth
  • 10. Reduced inequalities

Executive Summary

In the United States refugee resettlement system, refugees are required to take the first job they are offered. These are often low-wage, entry-level positions offering little opportunity for growth. Most remain in these jobs due to low English literacy, numeracy, access to resources, and digital problem-solving skills. Without opportunities for education, training, and advancement, refugees remain in poverty, perpetuating the stereotypes of dependency on public assistance. Denied the opportunity to truly thrive, their potential contributions to their communities are limited. Through New American Cities, we will implement a system that facilitates collaboration between local governments, employers, and resettlement agencies to create a longer-term approach to economic self-sufficiency. This collective action will support refugees to access the bridges needed to build career pathways to economic and social inclusion. This project will be mutually beneficial, providing greater well-being for refugees while strengthening the economies and workforce of the cities they now call home.

Organization Details
Lead Organization

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

Organization Headquarters
Maryland, United States
Organization ID
Annual Operating Budget
$25.1 to 50 Million
Number of Full-time Employees
51 to 100

Charity, fund, non-governmental organization, religious institution, school, or other entity