The week leading up to today has been filled with hope in a global sense. One of the first partnerships formed by the Foundation of Hope was with LOUD Business Community in 2014, shortly after we became a registered society in BC.
That was four years ago today.
The following spring on April 15th, 2015, FOH attained registered charitable status with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) thanks to Benefic Law acting as our charity consultant. It unlocked our donor potential as we launched the first-ever STRUT annual fundraiser.
STRUT brought in over $40,000 in Year 1.
We took steps to assist Rainbow Refugee to be directly positioned to receive downstream benefits of our fund as a local partner. We linked them to Benefic and once again, on the eve of STRUT 2017, Rainbow Refugee attained CRA registered charitable status and immediately became eligible for FOH grants.
Now in 2018 and four years later, we are a national organization with grants awarded across Canada. Thanks to our corporate partner TD Bank, Aeroplan miles provided travel needs for civil society groups to attend international proceedings like last week’s Equal Rights Coalition conference here in Vancouver, co-chaired by Canada and Chile.
The conference is how we made our newest friendship and hope for a strategic alliance with the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR), an esteemed UN body advancing the cause for safe migration worldwide.
LOUD Business Chair Blair Smith, whom the UNHCR contacted in advance of the conference, arranged for FOH to meet and discuss our role in Canada around the forced migration of LGBT+ persons. To us, it was obvious that a meeting should not occur without the presence of Rainbow Refugee.
So thanks to the arrangement on August 8th, Ottawa-based Jean-Nicolas Beuze, UNHCR Representative in Canada with Rainbow Refugee leaders Chris Morrissey and Sharalyn Jordan sat together in the warm sunshine on the terrace at Oceanic Plaza. They talked in depth about what is going out there, who the major players are, and what is needed now.
We listened closely and two things become clear.
Firstly, the UNHCR is an authority on the acute crises faced by SOGIE migrants worldwide and a valuable link to international civil society groups and services. As a registered charity, UNHCR Canada is eligible for grants from FOH, which can be directed globally to address urgent situations.
Secondly, our volunteer work over four years, thanks largely to a close partnership with Rainbow Refugee, has made FOH more aware of the breadth and depth of civil society groups within Canada. Working to address the needs of SOGIE migrants, this capacity can facilitate UNHCR efforts to direct globally vulnerable migrants to Canada and out of harm’s way.
It will give them hope.
Jean-Nicolas explained how few LGBT+ Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have access to resources allowing them to learn about humanitarian work in places like Canada. Individuals become destitute, are often decimated, and are left to dangle at the end of a rope. Together, FOH and Rainbow Refugee can assist the UNHCR in better understanding the possibilities available to them in Canada.
An important milestone has been achieved on our fourth birthday. This connection to the UNHCR really has the potential to amplify the work being done locally to address this global humanitarian crisis.
Together we can help Canadian charities be more visible to those countless individuals lacking the resources to give them any will to survive. These connections cast a beam of light beyond Canada. It can guide the journey out of darkness and into the lights of Hope.