It’s efficient, effective and always the right size
Financial contributions are the most effective way to support refugee resettlement. When you donate money to a sponsorship program, you're helping to bring a refugee to safety. When you donate to settlement organizations, you're helping experienced professionals serve more newcomers with language classes, employment advice, mental health counselling and social support. Cash gives local agencies the flexibility to direct your donation exactly where it is needed most, and reduces the need for them to devote staff to managing donations in kind, many of which are not needed or appropriate to refugees.
Below, we have provided a list of the Ottawa organizations accepting donations to sponsor refugees and support settlement.
Donate to a joint fundraising campaign
- United for Refugees is a special fundraising campaign launched by the United Way in collaboration with the City of Ottawa, the Community Foundation of Ottawa (CFO) and Refugee 613. Endorsed by Mayor Jim Watson, it is a community initiative focused on raising funds for the sponsorship and settlement of people affected by the Syrian crisis. United for Refugees raised more than $850,000 in 2015/2016 and is still accepting donations. Committees of settlement experts and community representatives have already granted tens of thousands of dollars from the United for Refugees fund to programs supporting refugee youth, mental health counselling, sponsorship and more.
Donate directly to Ottawa agencies that facilitate the sponsorship and integration of refugees
- Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO) is a secular agency providing sponsorship services as well as community integration, public education, mental health counselling, school-based programs, and English language instruction to newcomers. https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/ociso-ottawa-community-immigrant-services-organization/
- Catholic Centre for Immigrants (CCI) is the agency in charge of receiving and orienting government-assisted refugees in Ottawa. This means it provides temporary housing, food, orientation services and more to newly arrived refugees sponsored by the Government of Canada. CCI also provides support to private sponsorship groups, help with immigration documents, and advice on housing, employment and orientation for a wide variety of newcomers. https://www.canadahelps.org/dn/13672
- Jewish Family Services (JFS) supports sponsorship groups and also provides newcomers from various cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds with settlement counseling and mental health services. http://www.jfsottawa.com/for-donors/
- Matthew House Ottawa is a Christian organization that provides temporary shelter, food and support services to refugee claimants of all backgrounds in a family environment. http://matthewhouseottawa.org/services/refugee-services/
Donate to Refugee 613
- Refugee 613 is a grassroots coalition of local agencies and individuals working in settlement, sponsorship, health, municipal government, community development and other areas. Through our task forces, workshops and communications projects we provide information, and referrals to anyone in Ottawa working with refugees. We do not provide direct sponsorship or settlement services to refugees – we help connect people to each other and to the services. We are hosted by OCISO and our operations are funded through a generous grant from the Government of Ontario, supplemented by private donations. You can donate to our work by choosing Refugee 613 as the program on the OCISO donation page. https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/ociso-ottawa-community-immigrant-services-organization/
Thank you again for your generosity!
If you’re interested in donating furniture, housing or clothing, please click on the buttons below for more information.
And if you have more to give, don’t forget that many people, groups and organizations in Ottawa also need your support!
Will I get a tax receipt?
Yes, all the above charities issue tax receipts.
How do I know my money gets to where I want it to go?
Please read the details on each organization's site before making your donation so you know where it is going and the impact it will have.
Can I know who the individual refugee or family is? Can I meet them?
You will have to ask the agency if that is possible.
How do I know where my money is most needed?
All areas of settlement and sponsorship need funds right now — choose the route that feels right for your interests.
Aren't there more settlement agencies in Ottawa?
Ottawa is fortunate to have several settlement agencies serving the thousands of immigrants who arrive in a typical year. We have listed only those most actively involved in serving the immediate needs of refugees and sponsorship groups. To donate or learn more about the work of other settlement agencies, visit their web sites:
WorldSkills – A recognized leader in responding to the needs of the local labour market while promoting the skills and talents of immigrants.
Immigrant Women's Services of Ottawa – A community-based social service agency providing culturally appropriate services to immigrant women and their children, including crisis intervention, counselling and language interpretation.
The Newcomer Information Centre – A program run by the YMCA/YWCA of the National Capital Region to provide free information and referral services to newcomers.
Lebanese and Arab Social Services of Ottawa-Carleton – An agency that facilitates and expedites the settlement and integration of new Canadians in general, and Arabic-speaking newcomers in particular.
Le Conseil Économique et Social d’Ottawa Carleton (CÉSOC) – An agency promoting the cultural and linguistic diversity of Ottawa, specifically through meeting the settlement needs of Francophone immigrants.
The Somali Centre for Family Services has been serving the Somali community in the Ottawa area since 1991. It provides assistance to refugees and to immigrants in need of settlement support and integration services, including programs for youth, seniors and career mentoring. To donate please email firstname.lastname@example.org
What about donating to agencies working abroad?
Absolutely — any support to refugees is welcome. We highlight local options above, but you can also donate to one of the humanitarian agencies doing excellent work abroad. Here are a few options:
- The Humanitarian Coalition includes CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada and Save the Children Canada.
- UNHCR is the world’s leading organization aiding and protecting refugees. This United Nations agency provides shelter, food, water, medical care and other life-saving assistance to refugees around the world.
- Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is the world's foremost medical relief agency and is working both inside Syria and in support of refugees outside the country.