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IRC in San Diego: FY21 Snapshot Report

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A Message From Donna Duvin,
Executive Director, IRC in San Diego

It goes without saying that we’re living through extraordinary times here at the IRC. Everywhere we look, the work itself is both challenging and inspiring. Very fortunately for us, each day we see extraordinary resilience being modeled by the individuals and families we’re serving right here in San Diego County.

This moment in our history is marked by several evolving factors at play. COVID-19 still presents a host of new challenges for our clients, which as a result continues to shape our thinking about service delivery. Nevertheless, we have found creative ways to build out our programs where we’ve needed it the most this last year—including helping small business owners obtain critical COVID-19 relief, as well as helping clients access information and resources remotely through our “Digital Inclusion for All” initiative. This year we also welcomed a new presidential administration—one that has already shown its dedication to rebuilding the United States’ Refugee Admissions Program. With this commitment, we are now fully engaged in the critical and ongoing Afghanistan evacuation response.

Every day is a new day. And still, we persist…

It cannot be overstated that everything we’ve been able to accomplish at the IRC has happened in partnership with our community. One of our strongest offerings in San Diego has been the work of the Center for Financial Opportunity and the IRC Small Business Development Center. Partners like the San Diego & Imperial Valley SBDC, the City of San Diego, Women’s Empowerment International, Price Philanthropies, and the San Diego Foundation are critical in helping us meet our clients’ needs—including women—often entering the workforce for the first time.

As San Diego is a border site, our office is also the only office in our IRC network that continues to sustain an intensive case management program for asylum-seeking families. We are especially grateful for the visionary contributions from the University of San Diego this past summer when they provided on-campus housing and so much more for newly arriving asylum seeker families over 4 months during the spring and summer. We are now talking with USD about ways that we can further expand this model partnership in supporting additional families in this next year.

Now in its second year, the work of our Women’s Resilience Center has been essential to women who felt even more isolated in their homes during the pandemic, as we seek to provide a safe space to serve the unique needs of women and girls who may not have had the opportunities of their male counterparts in their previous circumstance. I encourage you to read our full Safety & Wellness Snapshot Report.

If you can imagine it, we’re looking out on a new horizon with extraordinary hope for the future. We are moving at incredible speeds to build our capacity in preparation for an even greater diversity of clients than we’ve seen in a while. And as we continue to ride the ebbs and flows of surges and new variants, ongoing international response, or anything else that comes our way—we have never been clearer that our only responsibility is and will always be to provide robust welcome and community-driven, client-centered support to newcomers...today, tomorrow, and the day after that…

Thank you for your partnership.

In service,

Donna Duvin
Executive Director
International Rescue Committee in San Diego