In the summer of 1885, hundreds of thousands of Americans – from street cleaners and politicians, to young children and businessmen – united to donate small sums of money to a common cause. Collectively, they raised $2.5 million (in today's dollars) to build a base for the Statue of Liberty, which had arrived in New York in pieces. To this day, the Statue of Liberty still stands on the sum of these small contributions. These efforts taught us that if we join together our impact can be large.
Today, almost 12 million people – roughly the size of New York City and Los Angeles combined – have been displaced by the conflicts in Syria. Over half of these displaced persons are children. Under President Obama, the U.S. is increasing the number of Syrian and other refugees we admit from around the world on an annual basis to 100,000 in the next two years and has provided $4.5 billion in humanitarian assistance to people affected by this conflict. Large corporations have donated millions more. But you do not need to be a government or Fortune 100 company to #AidRefugees.
“This isn’t just about what I can do as President. Every single one of us – from citizens to NGOs – can help refugees find safe haven.”President Obama
From non-governmental organizations to small businesses to congregations in communities across the country, Americans are using what they have to contribute to this effort. Just like we banded together in 1885, we can join together to provide shelter, food, and medical assistance to these people in need. It’s the American thing to do.
Today, we want to highlight a few examples of American businesses that have heeded the President’s call and built a novel way for citizens to contribute what they can to #AidRefugees.
In the spirit of the Statue of Liberty story, Kickstarter has partnered with UNHCR to build and launch their first-ever non-profit campaign outside the creative universe. Aiming to raise awareness around the crisis, Kickstarter has designed a new type of campaign page to enable anyone to donate directly to support refugees.
Similarly, Instacart, which enables users to order groceries from stores, has also joined forces with UNHCR to provide food to refugees in the region. Instacart customers, while in the process of buying groceries for their families, will have the option of also buying food for refugee families — right at their fingertips. Enabling this experience will make it incredibly easy for American citizens to contribute what they can, to a very real need.
Doing what you can comes in many shapes and sizes. Twitter responded to the President’s call and launched its donation product early, allowing NGOs groups working on the refugee crisis to raise funds on their platform. Airbnb is providing free housing credits to aid workers in the region and matching any gifts from their community. Starbucks is using its social media channels to ask its customers to donate to a partner NGO. The list goes on.
In the words of President Obama, “We have a moral responsibility to do what we can for families forced from their homes.” The White House would like to thank Kickstarter, Instacart, Airbnb, Starbucks and the scores of American businesses doing what they can to #AidRefugees.
Learn more about how you too can take action at: AidRefugees.gov