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Spotlighting Urban Refugees during #GivingTuesday
November 02, 2012

Spotlighting Urban Refugees during #GivingTuesday
Coinciding with the Thanksgiving Holiday and the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, #GivingTuesday aims to inspire people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they support and help create a better world.
"JRS reaches out to urban refugees to ensure that the most vulnerable do not fall through the cracks, and advocates for protection, assistance and long-term solutions for them," said Mitzi Schroeder, Director for Policy of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA.

(Washington, D.C.) November 2, 2012 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA has joined #GivingTuesday, a first of its kind effort to harness the collective power of a unique blend of partners — charities, families, businesses and individuals — to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season.

Coinciding with the Thanksgiving Holiday and the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, #GivingTuesday aims to inspire people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they support and help create a better world. 

Taking place November 27, 2012 — the Tuesday after Thanksgiving — #GivingTuesday will reach out via social media to create a national moment around the holidays dedicated to giving, similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are, today, synonymous with holiday shopping.

Jesuit Refugee Service, one of the few organizations to assist refugees in urban settings worldwide, has long recognized the severe state of neglect of urban refugees, and has tried to address these needs. 

"JRS reaches out to urban refugees to ensure that the most vulnerable do not fall through the cracks, and advocates for protection, assistance and long-term solutions for them," said Mitzi Schroeder, Director for Policy of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. 

Most of the world's displaced people now live in urban areas. Although the quality of services and availability of jobs may be better than for those refugees confined to a camp, urban refugees face a myriad of obstacles to access to them, ranging from legal restrictions to xenophobia to detention. 

A fundamental problem facing urban refugees is access to services. Urban refugees face significant difficulties in accessing housing, health and education services. Urban refugees also face the same concerns as local populations, in terms of rapid urbanization and the resulting infrastructural issues this brings.  

"Through advocacy to UNHCR and local authorities, direct assistance with food, housing and medical expenses, education, livelihood projects, counseling and referral services, JRS addresses the broad spectrum of needs of urban refugees. Pastoral care is also provided; outreach, counseling and social support are key elements of Jesuit Refugee Service programs. JRS works with NGO partners to assist and improve the lives of urban refugees," said Schroeder.

Seeing an opportunity to channel the generous spirit of the holiday season to inspire action around charitable giving, a group of friends and partners, led by the 92nd Street Y, came together to find ways to promote and celebrate the great American tradition of giving. Thought leaders in philanthropy, social media and grassroots organizing joined with 92nd Street Y to explore what is working in modern philanthropy and how to expand these innovations throughout the philanthropic sector. 

"Communities like ours are about opening doors and bringing people together," said Sol Adler, 92Y Executive Director. "#GivingTuesday allows us to create a new kind of community — across geographical borders — around the idea of 'doing good.'"

"#GivingTuesday offers America a new narrative, challenging us to think beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday and reminding us that the spirit of the holiday giving season should be about community and not just consumerism," said Kathy Calvin, CEO of the UN Foundation. "The most meaningful gift we can give our children, loved ones, friends and neighbors is the commitment to work together to build a better world."

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is an international Catholic non-governmental organization whose mission is to accompany, serve and defend the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. 


JRS works in more than 50 countries worldwide to meet the educational, health, social and other needs of approximately 700,000 refugees and other forcibly displaced persons, more than half of whom are women. JRS services are made available to refugees and displaced persons regardless of their race, ethnic origin or religious beliefs. JRS provides primary and secondary education to approximately 170,000 children, and undertakes advocacy to ensure that all displaced children are provided with a quality education. 

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law


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To learn more about #GivingTuesday participants and activities or to join the celebration of giving, please visit:

Website: http://givingtuesday.org/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GivingTuesday
Twitter: http://twitter.com/GivingTues


Jesuit Refugee Service and Urban Refugees