Why We Launched

December 14, 2018

By Greg Sharenow

Over eighty years ago, my German-Jewish grandparents fled the tragedy of the Holocaust in Germany. Through luck and connections, they were able to secure a visa to Panama where they built their lives anew. Their resilience, perseverance and the support they were provided by organizations that helped them get on their feet is the reason I am here today.

My grandparent’s story is not unique. We don’t have to look far beyond the news headlines to see mass displacement around the globe, then and now. Today, over 65 million people have fled their homes in search of safety.

Just like my grandparents, each of these individuals has a name, a family, and a story. And just like my grandparents, the trajectory of their lives and their descendants will be shaped by how we welcome and support those who have no place to go.

This year, we launched Refugee Action Fund to ensure that all refugees and forcibly displaced people achieve safety, dignity and opportunities to live productive lives. Through your support, we are providing critical funding to organizations that address the multifaceted needs of refugees—immediate humanitarian assistance, comprehensive legal representation, resettlement support and advocacy to protect the rights of refugees in the United States and abroad.

My grandmother moved from Panama to United States when I was born and was an important role model in my life. She faced many hardships, but in spite of her experiences, or perhaps because of them, she instilled in me the importance seeing the humanity in everyone and helping those in need. These are the values we seek to uphold through Refugee Action Fund.