European Refugee Crisis

Learn more about how funders can respond

In the last year, there has been a spike in the number of refugees fleeing into Europe. There are still three-and-a-half months left in 2015, but the number of arriving refugees this year is already more than double the amount from all of 2014. The camps and centers that some refugees are forced to stay in are overcrowded and often lack food, water and other basic necessities.

The Council co-hosted several recent webinars about the situation and is continuing to track the crisis, as well as connect our members with resources and partners who are working on this issue. Please contact Natalie Ross at if you would like to learn more about the Council's work on the refugee crisis or be connected to other Council members responding to the disaster. 

You can also read more about the current situation and see which donors and NGOs are responding to the situation via the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. If you are an organization funding or responding to the situation on the ground, please contact to be listed in this guide. Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees also published a guide for funders who want to respond to the situation. 

We also request that funders complete a survey about their response to the situation via the European Foundation Centre in partnership with Alliance Magazine, in order to track and document philanthropic response to the situation. 

Past Webinars

September 15 | 12 p.m.- 1 p.m. ET | Webinar

The Council on Foundations held a joint webinar with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, the European Foundation Centre, and the UPS Foundation to discuss how private funders can address the refugee crisis. Speakers included:

  • Bob Kitchen, Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response, International Rescue Committee
  • Diane Goodman, Director of Operations for the UNHCR (The United Nations Refugee Agency) European Bureau
  • Ed Caine, Vice President of Grant Programs, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
  • Michael Fields, Director of Corporate Citizenship and Social Responsibility, Xylem 
September 17 | 4:00 p.m.- 5:30 p.m. ET | Webinar

The Council on Foundations was a co-sponsor with Grantmakers Concerned About Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) and other partners for a webinar centering on how United States funders can assist refugees. Speakers included:

  • Bill Frelick, Director, Refugee Program, Human Rights Watch
  • Becca Heller, Director and Co-Founder, International Refugee Assistance Project
  • Maria Teresa Rojas, Director, Migration Initiative, Open Society Foundations
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Natalie Ross

Vice President, Membership, Development and Finance