Happy New Year! On behalf of the IRC in Denver’s clients and team, I am sharing a huge thank you to all of you, our supporters. Together, we raised just over $50,000 during our year-end giving campaign—resources that will allow us to start 2021 off strong as we support Colorado’s newest residents.
It is hard to believe that 2020 is behind us, a year punctuated by horrible loss and pain, yet also peppered with brilliant sparks of joy and humanity that are, without question, worth celebrating. This time last year, we were in the thick of securing local consent to continue refugee resettlement in the state and more than 30 cities and counties. We were touched and grateful that so many of you showed up to advocate with your local elected officials as part of that effort to safeguard Colorado’s participation in resettlement.
Not long after, the COVID-19 pandemic upended our ways of living and working. Throughout the chaos of 2020, your generosity was instrumental in helping refugee and immigrant families survive what turned out to be a wild, unpredictable year. The IRC in Denver delivered countless food boxes and care packages to clients to meet basic needs. We welcomed new arrivals. We chased down every resource we could to help keep people safe, stable, and housed. We reached out to children and families struggling with remote learning and brought creative solutions to address the emotional and academic impacts that flowed from the pandemic. We answered the phone when people had lost hope or felt unsafe and partnered with them find a way forward. We mourned deaths and grieved tragedies. We celebrated births, marriages, graduations, naturalizations, asylum grants, families being reunited, and many client victories whether big or small.
We worked with people to regroup after devastating job losses and sudden financial ruin. We helped clients tap into needed resources to sustain themselves. We balanced this near-term aid with support that allowed them to also focus on longer-term goals, building assets, credit, and hope for the future even in dark times. We ensured people had ongoing access to needed medical care and were educated on important health topics, including COVID-19. We found ways to leverage technology to keep people connected and combat social isolation, with educational programming, financial coaching, English practice groups, social hours, and more. We empowered people with information and skills to ensure that they were better equipped to make their own decisions, financial and otherwise.
We brought more people into the fold as volunteers and interns and pro bono attorneys, providing opportunities for enhanced support and social bridging. We officially launched our immigration legal services program and ensured that people could continue moving toward the highest degree of legal protection possible. We were there for people living in the shadows due to lack of legal status and grappling with the effects of torture on their safety as well as their physical and emotional wellbeing. We offered asylum representation for people who had nowhere else to turn, helping them understand and pursue their rights to seek relief under the law.
IRC in Denver staff, interns, volunteers, clients, and you—our supporters—showed up for one another at every turn, with strength, grace, kindness, and understanding. That, despite all the craziness that marked the year, was a beautiful thing.
As we welcome the start of a new year, we wish you all safety and health. The year will bring major shifts for the IRC and the people we serve. We are excited to build on the relationships, creativity, and growth that came from all that we experienced in 2020. While there are sure to be challenges, we stand ready to embrace those as opportunities to restore our country’s humanitarian leadership. We are energized by the chance to rebuild hope and community in 2021, and we look forward to the day when we can see your faces again!
Jennifer Wilson, Executive Director
IRC in Denver