Giving Tuesday gifts surpass goal to aid refugees and asylum seekers
Thanks to 835 generous donors, the United Church of Christ raised over $100,000 on Giving Tuesday to help asylum seekers and refugees around the world find a new place to call home.
The Dec. 1 campaign exceeded its $75,000 goal, thanks to some quick work by the national setting’s communication team, after the mobile fundraising site the denomination was using crashed that morning.
“On Giving Tuesday around 9:30 EST the site went down and gifts could not be received,” said the Rev. Kent Siladi, UCC director of philanthropy. “The OPTIC team and in particular Cindy Bailie went into high gear to shift donations from that online site to another we also use. Redundancy helped! The first mobile site had a variety of outages throughout the day and it would have been disastrous if we had not chosen to go with the other on arguably one of the busiest giving days to nonprofits in the year. It was clearly a 2020 moment!”
The team effort will enable the UCC’s Wider Church Ministries to use Giving Tuesday donations to address the plight of refugees and asylum seekers in the United States and around the world.
The grants and programs of Wider Church Ministries will:
- Support the work of UCC refugee and asylum ministries through collaborative engagement with international partners, such as Church World Service, that are accompanying refugees and addressing the emergencies of the refugee crisis around the globe.
- Collaborate with national and global partners to advocate for refugee programs that are consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights through skilled advocacy, collaboration with interfaith and secular partners, bearing witness at congressional hearings and United Nations meetings, and holding elected officials accountable.
The global refugee population has increased by 50 percent over the past five years. Many of the 79-million displaced people have been living in limbo because the Trump administration has slashed the number of refugee and asylum seekers allowed to resettle in the U.S. In 2020, 18,000 refugees have been permitted to enter, down from 30,000 in 2019. This is the lowest number since the passage of the Refugee Act of 1980. President-elect Biden has pledged to rebuild the U.S. resettlement program, eventually boosting the goal to 125,000 annually.
“We are deeply grateful for those who gave generously and those continue to pray with us as we address the needs and concerns of refugees and asylum seekers in the United States and globally,” said the Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, associate general minister for Wider Church Ministries and Operations. “We will be able to leverage these resources as we work alongside partners to ensure that the human rights and dignity of all people are respected and protected. Our ability to care for all of God’s people includes welcoming the stranger and providing hospitality for all, including the millions of refugee and asylum seekers who are in need of a home and community.”
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