Tools & Resources

Foundations and Others Investing in Immigrants, Migrants, and Refugees

According to the National Foundation for American Policy, 46% of America's top venture-funded companies had at least one immigrant founder, while 74% had at least one immigrant holding a top-level management position. At the same time, according to the State Department, there are 21 million people in the world today who have crossed international borders in search of refuge. "Along with the people displaced within their own countries," notes the State Department, "they are some of the more than 65 million people who make up the greatest movement of people since the Second World War." 

In response to these and other data on both the need and the opportunity, venture capitalist investors, philanthropists, and businesses are looking at immigrants and refugees as opportunities for investment. Below are a few examples of foundations, funds, and impact investing initiatives specifically supporting immigrants, migrants, and refugees. Please email Laila Hussain if you have further resources for this page.

Foundation Investors

  • The Denver Foundation: As a place-based organization, The Denver Foundation's investments are responsive to the needs of the city's underserved communities. In 2018, the Foundation’s Impact Investment Fund loaned $100,000 to the loan pool of Community Enterprise Development Services (CEDS), a nonprofit lender that provides business startup training and micro loans to immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs, as well as entrepreneurs who face barriers accessing traditional sources of capital. The Foundation's loan resulted in 16 loans to immigrant entrepreneurs and created 28.5 jobs. 
  • Tent Foundation, or The Tent Partnership for Refugees: This foundation was established by Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and CEO of Chobani. The initiative, a partnership of over 80 businesses in over 30 countries, grew out of the Obama Administration's appeal for the business community to engage more deeply with global refugee crises. In addition to sparking a $500 million investment commitment from George Soros, the appeal built a coalition of businesses expressing measurable commitments. Eventually Tent Foundation took over the partnership initiated by the Obama Administration. 
  • George Soros and Open Society Foundations: Open Society Foundations founder and chair George Soros announced a pledge to invest up to $500 million in startups, established companies, and other businesses founded by migrants and refugees. The assets will be managed by Open Society Foundation and is in addition to its existing grant and program-related investments of the Foundations, which total over $570 million as of 2017. Soros's announcement was also related to the call to action from the Obama Administration described above. His company, Soros Fund Management, is a member of the Tent Partnership for Refugees.
  • Ikea Foundation: Also a member of the Tent Partnership for Refugees, Ikea Foundation seeks to create substantial and lasting change by funding holistic, long-term programs in some of the world’s poorest communities. The Foundation supports impact investing initiatives in a variety of ways, such as through a €3.3 million catalytic grant to Reach for Change to roll out accelerator, incubator and rapid scale programs that support Ethiopian social entrepreneurs.

Non-Foundation Investors, Platforms, and Fund Managers

  • Humans on the Move: Humans on the Move is an advisory firm that focuses on finding and developing collaborative solutions to challenges that are linked to forced displacement. 
  • Nuveen: Nuveen is a private investment manager that recently made an investment in an online-based remittance provider that focuses on channels in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. The goals is to investing in technology to lower the cost of remittance for migrant populations.
  • OpenInvest: This financial analysis and investing platform developed an investment screen allowing its customers to invest in the companies helping refugees. The company's #WithRefugees Impact Investment Screen identified 21 public American companies making significant contributions to refugee survival and welfare. 
  • One Way Ventures: The organization is a venture investing firm for and by immigrants and refugees. 
  • Refugee Investment Network (RIN): The RIN moves private capital from commitment to active investment by sourcing, structuring, and supporting the financing of projects and companies that benefit refugees and host communities. They are creating an investor-centered knowledge hub targeting business opportunities that support refugee self-reliance; building a pipeline of deals that will speed and scale private investment in communities of displaced people; and articulating investor needs to funders, governments, and the development community.
  • Unshackled Ventures: Its mission is to accelerate the success of immigrant founders — and create 100,000 American jobs.
  • NeedsList: NeedsList addresses the need for massive innovation in the humanitarian sector with a marketplace connecting local NGOs with individual and corporate donors.


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