Asylum Seekers

4

Welcoming UNHCR into our community as Foundation of Hope turns 4

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 an 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 to 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 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 left to dangle at the end of a rope. Together, FOH and Rainbow Refugee can assist the UNHCR to better understand 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.

Tremendous thanks goes out to our community partner LOUD Business for such a thoughtful birthday present.

9

STRUT 2017: year 3 and counting…

Foundation of Hope reached out again this year to ask for community support for the 3rd annual STRUT walk-a-thon. Our goal was to exceed $40,000 for the flagship fundraiser, which we’ve managed to do every year since FOH’s inception. 

Because of STRUT and your generosity, we have granted over $90,000 to Canadian charities working directly with LGBT+ Asylum Seekers, Refugees, and Newcomers to Canada.

Funds have brought Asylum Seekers out of immediate harm in places like Uganda, Jamaica, and Pakistan; sponsorship applications have been approved for Refugees from Syria and Iraq living in Turkey and Lebanon, and several more sponsorship applications are pending hearings in Canadian visa offices across the Middle East. 

Last summer, Canada’s Prime Minister marched in the Toronto Pride Parade alongside a Newcomer who arrived through Lifeline Syria, a project we supported through a partner organization in Canada’s largest city.

Canadian charities have benefited from FOH funding dedicated to LGBT+ Newcomer support for PTSD counselling, safe housing needs, legal assistance for transgender personal identification needs, group counselling sessions, and queer youth peer support across Canada, among other community services. 

For the third year in a row, we walked in solidarity. We withstood pain and suffering together with love in our hearts and hope in our hands. 

Walking high in our heels, we blew our fundraising goal out of the water and surpassed $54,000 with donations still coming in.

This is all because of people like you. 

Asking for money can be awkward and difficult. As Director of Grants for FOH, I prefer to devote my time and energy towards giving. Still, I remain a standing monthly donor and a dedicated fundraiser for STRUT. 

Please trust in knowing that your contributions directly influence the lives of those less privileged. We are all volunteers; no one gets paid for our work. It is your generosity that enables us to give. 

For those of you have contributed to STRUT, whether as a donor, strutter, volunteer, or any combination thereof, we thank you. 

Please consider taking a more active role in our organization. Whether you have the time, talents, or ‘treasure’, whatever to can afford will go a long way to this cause. Community engagement is critical to getting and giving out funds. 

Here are a few examples of what you can do:

  • Become a standing monthly donor – easiest way to contribute, especially if time is limited
  • Be a volunteer – learn about the work and commit ideas and skills to committees and events 
  • Represent on the Grants Committee – assist to evaluate applications as a show of accountability to our donors
  • Join the Board of Directors – bring leadership and commit to an incredibly rewarding experience.

STRUT 2017 has raised the bar for donor participation and amount of funds raised. This is a milestone for the Foundation and all signs indicate momentum for growth and expansion, across Canada and across the world.

For us, it means the world is benefiting from your involvement. And that involvement truly means the world to us.

Be a part of this movement. Send us a note at engagement@foundationofhope.net.

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