Collaborative Partnership Issues $6 Million to 16 Community-based Organizations

Home Collaborative Partnership Issues $6 Million to 16 Community-based Organizations
Written by Doug Hampton

Colorado continues commitment to newcomer wellbeing through crucial program expansion

DENVER, June 1, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Refugee Integration Fund recently awarded $6 million in grants in support of 16 organizations providing programs that address the needs of Afghan evacuees and other Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)-eligible populations commonly called refugees residing in Colorado.

The Colorado Refugee Services Program (CRSP) – a unit within the Colorado Department of Human Services – partnered with Rose Community Foundation to create the Refugee Integration Fund to support eligible newcomers with services including mental health, legal aid and school-based assistance. CRSP received the funding from the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement to support the resettlement and integration of Afghans and other refugees in Colorado.

“Diversity is Colorado’s strength, and we are proud to welcome and support brave Afghan evacuees who worked alongside American forces as they rebuild their lives here,” said Governor Jared Polis. “These exciting grants provide important support for newcomers, from mental health services to legal aid and school-based assistance, as we continue our work to make sure everyone can live, work, and thrive here in Colorado.”

Over 3,000 Afghan evacuees have arrived in Colorado since August 2021. Other refugee arrivals increased rapidly in 2022, including Ukrainians and Cubans. These individuals fled their homes under fear of persecution, and many refugees have spent years or even decades in unstable conditions. Most have disrupted careers and education and had limited access to health and behavioral health services. Additionally, the majority of Afghan evacuees face complex legal processes to gain permanent legal status in the U.S. The Refugee Integration Fund was created to support Afghans and other refugees as they move from the initial resettlement phase to becoming established and thriving Coloradans.

Grantmaking is supporting school districts that are welcoming newly arrived Afghan students, promoting successful community integration for children and families. More than $2 million was awarded to school districts with the highest number of Afghan arrivals. Funds will be used for additional classroom support, events to help families learn about and connect with local schools, English language instruction for families, interpretation, and community activities.

Colorado has a long history of welcoming refugees, immigrants and others fleeing persecution,” says Noyes Combs, state refugee coordinator at CRSP. “Welcoming newcomers showcases our American values of humanitarianism and compassion and helps build a more vibrant, inclusive and economically thriving state.”

Additional grant dollars were allocated to help Afghan evacuees identify and pursue viable pathways to legal permanent status in the United States through immigration-related legal services and education. Legal service providers will help individuals navigate the complex immigration system through affordable services that include filing of immigration forms, representation at interviews, family reunification support, and assistance with work authorization. In addition, legal programs will promote immigration literacy through in-language educational materials and workshops. Taken together, these services will play a key role in the successful long-term integration of newly arrived Afghans and their families.

The mental health grants will significantly enhance the mental wellness programs available for refugees and represent the largest expansion of ORR funded mental health programming through CRSP. Many pre-migration and post-resettlement stressors may contribute to stress experienced by refugees, and this funding will establish mental health as a cornerstone of long-term integration. The goals of the mental wellness grants are to increase social engagement and to decrease stigma associated with understanding mental health and accessing services when needed. The mental health grants will support organizations providing mental health prevention, education and care.

“Our organization provides refugee families with holistic mental wellness support, and we have found an increasing number of families in need of those services,” said Huma Babak Ebadi, executive director of Muslim Youth for Positive Impact, a grantee organization. “This funding helps us to advance the mental wellness of our Afghan evacuee community, amplify their voices and ensure that they feel welcome, safe, hopeful and that they feel a sense of belonging in their new home and community.”

Mental Health grantees:

Legal Services grantees:

Support to Schools grantees:

The Colorado Refugee Services Program (CRSP) is a program of the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) and is responsible for the statewide coordination of refugee resettlement. CRSP provides leadership, networking, monitoring, and systems navigation on behalf of refugees and the agencies that assist them. In partnership with the Office of Refugee Resettlement, other CDHS divisions, and counties in which refugees resettle, CRSP coordinates an array of services aimed at promoting refugee self-sufficiency and long-term integration.

Rose Community Foundation strives to advance inclusive, engaged and equitable Greater Denver communities through values-driven philanthropy. The Foundation envisions a thriving region strengthened by its diversity and generosity, and it utilizes the varied tools at its disposal – grantmaking, advocacy, donor engagement and philanthropic services – to advance this aspiration.

Sarah Kurz, Vice President of Public Affairs
Rose Community Foundation
303.818.3347, [email protected]

SOURCE Rose Community Foundation

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