The European Refugee Crisis: How Funders Can Help

Beginning in 2014, there has been a spike in the number of refugees arriving in Europe who are fleeing countries in conflict. During 2015, the number of arriving refugees has already more than doubled the amount of refugees who came to Europe in all of 2014. The unprecedented movement of people around the world has created the highest number of displaced persons since World War II. More than half of registered refugees are children and youth. Nearly 400,000 refugees, often arriving on smugglers boats across the Mediterranean Sea, have arrived in Europe in 2015. Upon arrival, refugees must stay in detention camps or reception centers until they either begin to travel to another country or find a way to stay in the nation in which they arrive. Many nations lack the infrastructure to implement this system given the current influx of refugees. The camps and centers in which many arriving refugees are forced to stay are overcrowded and often lack food, water and other basic necessities. In the past few weeks, this growing situation is reciving more and more media attention. 

In response to increasing interest by funders wanting to support the situation on the ground, the Council on Foundations, together with the Center for Disaster PhilanthropyEuropean Foundation Centre, and the UPS Foundation, hosted a webinar to discuss how private funders can address the crisis at 12 p.m. ET on Tuesday, September 15, 2015.

Panelists included: 

  • Bob Kitchen, Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response, International Rescue Committee
  • Diane Goodman, Director of Operations for the UNHCR (The United Nations Refugee Agency) Europe Bureau
  • Ed Cain, Vice President for Grant Programs, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation 
  • Michael Fields, Director of Corporate Citizenship, Xylem Watermark 

Read a summary and view recording of the webinar

You can also read more about the current situation and see which donors and NGOs are responding to the situation via the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. If you are an organization funding or responding to the situation on the ground, please contact anna.hurt@disasterphilanthropy.org to be listed in this guide.