Since 2015, BlackRock has turned to the IRC as a trusted and critical partner for addressing the needs of those affected by crisis. Time and time again, people are forced to flee the dangers of conflict and war in their home countries. But, for most displaced families, this is just the beginning of a long journey to resettle and rebuild their lives and livelihoods in new, unfamiliar settings.
It is critical that we channel support to refugees at every stage of the long arc of crisis, from escaping conflict to resettling in new communities to unlocking long-term financial prosperity. Here are some of the ways BlackRock has partnered with the IRC, through multi-year philanthropic funding, to support the refugee journey, from marshalling resources toward humanitarian assistance to creating pathways for financial stability and resilience:
1. Escaping conflict
At the outset of a humanitarian crisis, BlackRock provides flexible emergency funding to the IRC to power lifesaving assistance and ensure people affected by crisis are able to meet their immediate and basic needs with safety and dignity. For example, in the weeks following the crisis in Ukraine, BlackRock swiftly deployed philanthropic support to help the IRC launch a humanitarian response in the region. The IRC mobilized these resources to provide emergency cash assistance, distribute survival essentials, send medical equipment to healthcare partners, and to provide psychosocial support services – gathering input and insights from conflict-affected individuals to shape and adapt their response to evolving needs.
2. Resettling in a new community
Long after the headlines of war and conflict fade into the backdrop, refugees face a new set of challenges to regain their footing and integrate into their new communities. In addition to channeling support to conflict-affected countries, BlackRock funds the IRC’s strategic initiatives to help refugees rebuild financial stability in resettlement communities. This year, BlackRock made a $500K grant to the IRC’s Supporting Afghan Financial Empowerment (SAFE) initiative to provide financial education and coaching services, no-interest auto, education and personal loans and access to an in-language resource portal to Afghan families resettling in the US. Within three years, the IRC’s goal is to reach 25,000 of the nearly 75,000 Afghan evacuees who arrived in the US under humanitarian parole through the SAFE initiative.
3. Building long-term financial resilience
And while having a financial safety net is a critical step toward emotional and economic well-being, refugees are displaced for longer periods than ever, most for over a decade, as conflicts (such as that in Afghanistan) can average more than 20 years. That’s why BlackRock also partners with the IRC to ensure refugees have the support needed to unlock lasting financial prosperity. Refugee women in particular face unique barriers to long-term financial security for themselves and their displaced families. In 2019, BlackRock embarked on a 2-year partnership with the IRC, providing philanthropic funding to scale economic opportunities, such building as critical skills and pathways to secure jobs, with a focus on refugee women in Germany, Niger, and Kenya. With insights from this research and implementation program, we can better understand how to empower refugees, and refugee women specifically, to have thriving livelihoods in the years, and possibly decades, after their initial displacement.