Turning the tide for refugee support

Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey

September 24, 2015

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  • Photo: Corinna Robbins/Mercy Corps

The numbers are staggering. More than eleven million people, half of Syria’s pre-war population, have either died or fled their homes since the war began in 2011. Four million people have left Syria for the safety of neighboring countries, and this year alone more than 375,000 refugees and migrants destined for Europe have crossed the Mediterranean Sea.

For more than four years, Mercy Corps has been working hard to relieve the intense suffering of civilians in Syria as well as refugees seeking safety in neighboring countries. As one of the largest on-the-ground responders to the Syrian refugee crisis, we are meeting the urgent needs of nearly 4 million people both in Syria and in neighboring countries – working with people displaced by the conflict as well as their host communities in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and most recently Greece.

Recent front-page headlines and heart-wrenching photos have brought the crisis to top of mind for many, and in the past few weeks there have been promising signs that despite long efforts with limited results, the tide of giving is changing.

In particular, there has been a resurgence of corporate partners stepping up to provide critical funding for the Syria crisis – businesses and employees moved by the hardships millions of families face and inspired by the idea that they can have an impact. At Mercy Corps, these partners include Boeing, MasterCard, PepsiCo Foundation, TripAdvisor Charitable Foundation, Western Union Foundation and Xylem.

Well before recent headlines brought the Syrian refugee crisis back into the spotlight, Boeing chose to partner with Mercy Corps to help provide a brighter future for Syrian youth living in Jordan. Boeing has been a strong partner to Mercy Corps over the past ten years, supporting many emergency response efforts including in Pakistan, Uganda, and Indonesia as well as supporting disaster preparedness for vulnerable communities.

When Boeing learned of the challenges facing displaced Syrian youth, there was a strong desire to respond. Funding from Boeing supports Mercy Corps’ programming in Jordan working with vulnerable Syrian and Jordanian youth ages 13-17 — providing psycho-social support and teaching leadership and practical skills that prepare them for future job opportunities. These young people apply the skills they acquire on community projects that add value to their community and give help build a sense of purpose.

When TripAdvisor saw the crisis unfolding in Europe with thousands of families risking their lives each day in search of safety, they also knew there was more they and the TripAdvisor traveler community could do to support on-the-ground humanitarian efforts. TripAdvisor Charitable Foundation made an initial contribution to Mercy Corps and their CEO sent an email to their employees and global traveler community offering a $375,000 matching fund to inspire giving.

Within 24 hours of the email going out, the match had been met, and the support continues to pour in. With their partnership, Mercy Corps will be able to reach even more refugees with the resources they need to survive and provide hope for a better future.

We are incredibly inspired by the generosity and support of our corporate partners – you make our response work possible. But the needs are great and there is more we must do to support the millions of families fleeing their homes, looking for safety and risking their lives in the process.

With your support we can continue to provide food assistance and urgently needed relief items, strengthen access to clean water and sanitation services, provide safe spaces for children who have suffered unimaginable trauma, deliver job training so refugees can support themselves through prolonged displacement, and develop technology-enabled information services for refugees.

You can help provide a brighter future for families impacted by this crisis. They need your support. Here are three ways you can get involved:


  • Make a financial contribution to a credible organization doing work on the ground. This is one of the most effective ways to have an impact, particularly in this complex and fluid situation.
  • Mercy Corps is actively seeking support for our Refugee Crisis Response Fund. Please consider a contribution to help meet the critical needs of even more people across the region.

Empower your community

  • Engage your audiences. Our partners are telling us that their employees, customers and business partners are urging them to take action. Leading companies like TripAdvisor and Google are engaging their communities through employee and consumer giving campaigns and by providing a match to inspire giving.
  • Raise awareness. This is also an opportunity to invite your stakeholders to share information on social media to raise awareness, build empathy, and inspire action. Start with Quick facts: What you need to know about the Syria crisis.

Leverage your business assets

  • Every company has something unique and valuable to bring to bear on this crisis. Whether it’s your technology, your networks, or your voice in advocating for peace.

Reach out to jkeating@mercycorps.org to talk about how you can get involved today.