On Monday, October 27, the Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA) and the Seattle Foundation hosted an intimate community event announcing all of the awardees of the $429,000 raised from the Mayors’ Concert for Ukraine and Refugees Worldwide.
This process began back in April 2022, when Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell reached out to the Seattle Symphony and local Ukrainian artists to organize this fundraising event. King County Executive Dow Constantine and 33 other King County mayors also joined in sponsoring this live free program that was also streamed online. The sold-out show raised $429,000, with 70 percent of funds going towards organizations helping Ukrainians both abroad and in King County, and 30 percent going towards nonprofits assisting other refugees locally. The 30 percent portion of money was referred to as the Seattle Refugee Fund.
The awardees and their amounts from each funding source include:
30% of the Mayors’ Concert for Ukraine and Refugees Worldwide (Seattle Refugee Fund)
- CAIR Washington: $32,000
- Entre Hermanos: $32,000
- Tigrean Community Association: $32,000
- West African Community Council (WACC): $32,000
70% of the Mayors’ Concert for Ukraine and Refugees Worldwide
- International Rescue Community in Seattle, Washington: $86,000
- Ukrainian Community Center of Washington: $215,000
“This fund and the awardees do not just reflect the values of the government of the City of Seattle, but of our welcoming residents for which our city is known for,” said OIRA Director Hamdi Mohamed in her presentation welcoming the attendees. “The Mayor is committed to Seattle continuing to stand alongside our Ukrainian neighbors, the immigrant and refugee community, and the people of Ukraine. And the City of Seattle stands with all refugees who are in need of relief and a path to a better life – supporting them will continue to be a priority.”
Representatives from each organization were present to accept their oversized check awards (as well as actual checks) and talk more about their work.
Tigrean Community Association Executive Director Fitsum-Birhan Beyene who received the check on behalf of his organization mentioned that he had recently became a U.S. citizen, after 17 years of living in the United States. He mentioned the severe humanitarian crisis in the Tigray Region and implored City leaders to mention this situation in future public remarks.
Nicky Smith and Iryna Pynda representing International Rescue Community in Seattle, Washington and Ukrainian Community Center of Washington respectively were also in attendance. These two organizations were not Seattle Refugee Fund awardees. Rather, combined they had already received the 70 percent ($301,000) of funds raised from the concert intended for organizations specifically providing assistance to Ukrainians both here and abroad.
About the Seattle Refugee Fund LOI Process
In July 2022, OIRA sought out Letters of Intent (LOI) from nonprofit and religious organizations to apply to receive $128,000 of funding from the Seattle Refugee Fund through the Seattle Foundation. The process yielded 29 applicants that were all ranked on a scale of one through five on a series of criteria including program model and equity and social justice.
The review panel consisted of two OIRA staff members and one member from the Seattle Immigrant Refugee Commission. Each reviewer completed their review independently without knowledge of the others’ scores. The funding was divided up between the applicants with the combined highest ratings. The applicants with the highest total scores were: Entre Hermanos , West African Community Council , CAIR WA , and Tigrean Community Association.
If you know of someone who has recently arrived in Seattle from another country and is in need of assistance, they can contact:
- Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA): this City of Seattle department focuses on helping immigrants and refugees and invests in community-based organizations that help immigrants and refugees. You can call (206) 727-8515 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Washington Immigrant Rights Solidarity Network (WAISN): a statewide nonprofit organization that manages a hotline where operators can inform immigrants of resources near them. You can call: (844) 724-3737, hotline open every day from 6 AM to 6 PM.
If the individual is limited in their English proficiency, they should inform the operator that they require an interpreter.
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