Creating Hope One (Matched) Donation at a Time

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Immigration Partnership Fund for Syrian Newcomers

Dental care, health care, safe housing, decent work, children’s programs, peer support, and social connectedness: these and many other things are not “items on a wish list” for the majority of people in Canada. Such is not the case for most refugees who must flee their home, country, friends, and sometimes even families.

“The first weeks for refugees in Canada are about getting papers, registrations, and housing in order,” says Tara Bedard, Executive Director of the Waterloo Region Immigration Partnership. “After that, the hard work of long-term settlement and integration begins.” 

Financial support generated via community donations to the Immigration Partnership Fund for Syrian Newcomers enabled local charitable organizations to help resettled refugees on their path to integration in ways that would not otherwise have been possible. The Fund was established at the KWCF in 2015 in expectation of record numbers of Syrian refugees soon arriving in Waterloo Region. Tasked with handling financial contributions from the community, the Foundation also matched donations, making $400,000 available to distribute. 

Two years later, each Syrian family now in Waterloo Region is at a different stage on their settlement journey. Some have made social connections and found work while others still work towards these and other important milestones. They have been helped in many ways by programs supported with this fund.

Bedard says the KWCF’s commitment strengthened the settlement springboard for many Syrian families. “With the Foundation’s assistance, our Grants Committee was able to support programs addressing a mix of needs, with their eyes on the long-term success of the families now living in Waterloo Region.”


Here are just a few examples:
• Private sponsorship groups were financially supported to cover $47,316 in dental, vision, and mental heath care and funeral costs, which significantly improved quality of life for the families affected.

• Sanctuary Refugee Health Clinic was able to serve many more refugees with complex medical care needs.

• Reception House Waterloo Region launched its Family Partnership Program, matching 213 volunteers with 230 Syrian newcomers to develop supportive relationships through social activities, practicing English, and exploring Waterloo Region.

• The SHORE Centre provided health programs for women and men and piloted a mother-daughter program on sexual and reproductive health, each of which changed attitudes toward family planning and increased comfort in talking about sexual health with children.

• Big Brothers Big Sisters Waterloo Region hosted 145 newcomer children in its Summer Discovery program, where they became socially engaged, made friends, and developed their sense of belonging and self-confidence.

You can continue to support newcomers to our community by making a donation to the Immigration Partnership Fund for Immigrant and
Refugee Initiatives, a new fund that was recently established at the KWCF.

Click here to download and read the KWCF's 2017 Annual Report.