JRS program staff provide emergency assistance with support from PRM.
(Jesuit Refugee Service)


In the last 5 years, JRS’s support from the US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) has grown significantly—2020 was no exception.


In the federal government’s FY2020, PRM granted JRS more than $16.3 million, supporting 59 project sites in 10 countries and directly reaching 129,263 beneficiaries. Support from PRM enables more than 1340 staff globally, including more than 700 refugees and displaced people, to provide essential services to beneficiaries.


JRS’s partnership with PRM was vital in responding and adapting to the pandemic and the growing needs of forcibly displaced people around the world. In 2020, PRM supported JRS Projects in Colombia, Ecuador, Cameroon, Chad, South Sudan, Uganda, South Africa, and Thailand. Two new projects in Nigeria and Iraq began as well.


JRS, with support from JRS/USA private donations, had already been responding including meeting basic needs and providing, cash assistance, and mental health and psychosocial support, for the Yazidi community who had been displaced and persecuted by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS). PRM support helped to bolster this work, and JRS subsequently scaled up vital education programs so that children neither lost their right to learn nor the skills-based training crucial for adults. The PRM-funded programs buoyed kindergarten and primary education tracks for over 2,500 boys and girls, as well as skills training in English, computer literacy, and vocational trades.



JRS staff conducted home visits to support those affected by Beirut explosion which rocked the city on August 4, 2020. (Nadine Malli/Jesuit Refugee Service)

Refugees living in Beirut had already suffered a great deal. Most fled from Syria after nearly a decade of war, many were struggling to make ends meet due to the economic recession in the country only exacerbated by the pandemic, and many more had experienced the social isolation that the pandemic had caused. Then, on August 4, an explosion impacted much of this city, including Burj Hammond, a neighborhood where many refugees live and where JRS programming and offices are located.


Though JRS offices sustained damage, our teams were all safe and quickly got to work to address the needs of those in their community.


JRS supporters responded immediately. Within weeks, more than 600 JRS/USA donors — new and old — helped us raise more than $100,000 to rebuild our work in Beirut and help those who needed it most.

The work to rebuild continues today. Learn more about how JRS continues to respond.



Lual Mayen, JRS education recipient, is now CEO of Junub games and shared his story with donors as part of JRS/USA’s 40th Anniversary virtual event.

(Jesuit Refugee Service)

2020 marked the 40th anniversary of Jesuit Refugee Service, and when the pandemic hit, our opportunities to recognize the occasion quickly changed. JRS/USA and our supporters were quickly able to turn what would have been multiple in-person events into one virtual celebration to recognize 40 years of walking with refugees and raise funds for JRS’s work around the world. The evening program, filled with testimonies, stories, and celebrity appearances, recognized the work JRS has accomplished over the last four decades and expressed our commitment to continuing to provide service to refugees in the years ahead. We honored in a special way the leaders of the Global Education Initiative — an ambitious international campaign (that concluded in 2019) to enable us to open the doors of our education programs to 250,000 refugees each year by 2020 — Rita Bennett, Molly Cashin, Margaret Green-Rauenhorst, and Madeline Lacovara.

Learn more about JRS’s 40 years of service.

The event also featured then President-elect Joe Biden, who recognized JRS for 40 years of service and remarked that “JRS believes that in the stranger we actually meet our neighbor and that every society is ultimately judged by how we treat those most in need.” President Biden was joined by celebrities and leaders in recognizing JRS’s 40th Anniversary including: Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; Secretary Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State; comedian Jim Gaffigan and writer, director, and producer, Jeannie Gaffigan; Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Marcus Samuelsson, chef and restaurateur; the Rev. James Martin, S.J., author and editor; Katie Ledecky, Olympic swimmer; Lual Mayen, CEO of Junub Games; the Rev. Arturo Sosa, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus; and, a letter from His Holiness, Pope Francis.

Watch President Joe Biden’s address at JRS/USA’s 40th anniversary celebration.