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Tag: Fundraising

Give the Gift of Selflessness

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‘Tis the season for giving – or at least that’s what we have always been told this time of year. With endless displays of flashy new toys and gadgets, however, it’s almost impossible to ignore the materialism that accompanies the holidays. We rationalize each gift purchase as being “selfless”, while simultaneously dreaming about what delicately-wrapped treasures await us in exchange. If the holidays are a time of giving, why do we always expect something in return?

This year, let’s make the holiday season meaningful again by giving the gift of selflessness.

In recent years, companies, organizations, and individuals have begun to partake in the selfless giving tradition.  In 2012, the 92nd Street Y and United Nations Foundation launched Giving Tuesday in response to the commercialization and consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Held on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday (#GivingTuesday hashtag on social media) is a celebrated day of giving back, where people around the world can donate money, time, and talent to the causes they care most about.

Selfless giving doesn’t have to come in the form of a social movement to have an impact. Look around your local community and you’re likely to be surprised by all the selfless giving happening right under your nose. Three sisters from the Greater Boston area were inspired to launch a website after their own children expressed the desire to help others feel welcome in their communities. The website, Your Land My Land, allows kids across the U.S. to create personalized cards, letters and artwork to send to refugees and immigrants who are settling into their first American homes.

Volunteering for organizations and charities is a great way to become a selfless-giver to a cause you believe in. After a highly contentious presidential campaign season, the Institute’s Manchester office saw an influx in volunteers:

“Whenever a public figure says something outrageous about refugees and others, we always have seen people calling us and offering us support.

— IINE-Manchester Site Director, Amadou Hamady

According to Amadou, new volunteers not only allow staff members to do more for their clients, but it’s also an opportunity to help refugees and immigrants understand that one of the United States’ historic humanitarian traditions is the public-private partnerships between local, state, and federal governments, and corporations, foundations, community groups, and individuals to welcome and support refugees to their new communities.

No act of selflessness is too small to make a difference. Now more than ever, your family, friends, community, and even strangers could benefit from your selfless gifts.

We would be remiss if we didn’t take time to thank the hundreds of selfless donors and volunteers of the International Institute of New England. For almost 100 years, community support has allowed the Institute to welcome newcomers and support their integration into New England Communities.

Please consider making a selfless gift today to the Institute to help invest in the future of inclusive, diverse, and thriving New England communities.

This holiday season, may selflessness bring peace and joy to your heart and your home!

MAKE A DONATION TODAY

Photo Credit: “Happy Holidays!” by Shutter Fotos (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Our Mission Continues

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President Trump’s executive order suspending the refugee resettlement program, placing an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees, and halting the issuance of visas to people from seven predominantly Muslim countries, is an affront to our nation’s values and our Constitution. It is also a direct attack on the mission of the International Institute of New England.

The President is playing on fear. Because we work with people who have overcome so much to get here, we do not give in to fear. No executive order will stop the Institute from serving refugees and immigrants.

We are the largest refugee resettlement program in Eastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire, and we know better than anyone that the people we serve from around the world come here seeking peace. Refugees and their families are our neighbors. They work hard, pay taxes, and contribute to the cultural, economic, and civic life of New England and beyond.

The President’s order does not make America safe or great. Rather, it signals that the United States is retreating from its responsibility to lead as the world wrestles with the largest refugee crisis since the end of World War II.

The International Institute will continue to provide critical services to the more than 625 refugees currently in our care, and with your help, we will be ready to receive new refugees when the program restarts. Our skills training, English language, and job placement programs for refugees and immigrants will continue to thrive and grow as well.

We urge our friends and neighbors to speak out against this action. We ask you to support us in any way you can.

DONATE TODAY TO SUPPORT IMMIGRANTS & REFUGEES IN YOUR COMMUNITY

We also ask you to learn more about us by reading about our work in The New York Times, CNN, public radio, The Boston Globe, and other outlets. To read full media stories, please visit the Institute’s Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages.

Thank you for your support of our clients and mission during this critical time.

Gratefully,

Jeff Thielman
President and CEO

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What Would You Risk?

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Imagine being faced with a terrible choice – risk persecution, imprisonment, and torture, or leave behind everything you’ve ever known for a slim chance at safety? What would you do, if your survival was at stake?

Every day across the world, people like you and me are forced to flee their homelands because of violence and persecution. This is the reality of an unprecedented 21.3 million refugees worldwide, including the 623 refugee women, men, and children from 20 countries that the International Institute of New England (IINE) resettled in the past year in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. These clients had the courage to fight for new lives, and with our help are now reclaiming the future that was stolen from them.

Recently, I met Hanna Petros Solomon, a refugee from Eritrea who risked her life twice to come to the United States. Orphaned at a young age, Hanna and her siblings had little chance of surviving one of the most repressive regimes in the world. Together, they made the decision to escape – and were caught. For three years, Hanna was transferred from prison to prison, places known to be rife with torture and other human rights abuses.

Eventually, Hanna convinced a prison guard to let her go. This time, she successfully escaped from Eritrea with her siblings and fled to Ethiopia, before resettling to the U.S. as a refugee in 2012 and reuniting with her grandmother and sister in Boston. Yet the safety of family and a new life could not erase the trauma she experienced in her homeland. To acclimate to her new surroundings and transition to American life, Hanna needed the diligent assistance of IINE staff.

Hanna’s caseworker placed her in our English and Cultural Orientation classes at our Boston site, where she learned how to navigate her new city and its cultural expectations. Hanna then enrolled in and graduated from our Hospitality Training Program, and with the help of her training specialist found work as a server at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf Hotel.

Today, Hanna is looking ahead to her next graduation ceremony. As a junior at Tufts University studying clinical psychology, she is determined to help others like her heal from mental and emotional trauma. One day, Hanna would like to return to Eritrea and be a part of fixing its broken mental healthcare system. But first, we are pleased to welcome her as an intern at IINE in Boston this summer.

“I chose to intern at IINE,” explains Hanna, “because I want to show clients and my refugee peers that they can make it in life. They have the chance to change their lives.

In 2016, the Institute served 1,737 new Americans like Hanna. As our nation wrestles with questions about how open our borders and society should be, IINE continues to provide education, job training, and other critical programming to people seeking safety and the chance of prosperity. Our services are needed now more than ever, and we are grateful for the support and dedication of our community.

Today, we ask you to help those whose lives have been upended by violence and persecution. Please consider making a tax-deductible gift and honor the courage and bravery of people like Hanna, as they work toward a brighter future in the United States.

As we prepare to celebrate World Refugee Day on June 20, we have an opportunity this year to receive a matching $25,000 contribution thanks to the generosity of some of our supporters. For all gifts made to IINE by June 30, these donors will match dollar-for-dollar all gifts of $1,000 or more, and will provide a match of 50 cents for every dollar raised from contributions of less than $1,000. This means your gift will go farther and help even more immigrants and refugees – but only until June 30.

Thank you for your generous support, and for helping us give newcomers like Hanna a chance to change their lives.

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