Non-profit

Refugees International

Website:

www.refugeesinternational.org

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

52-1224516

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $4,492,367
Expenses: $3,567,139
Assets: $4,960,621

Formation:

1979

President:

Eric Schwartz

Founder:

Sue Morton and Michael Morrissey

Refugees International is a left-of-center advocacy group that aids and protects displaced people, while recommending refugee resettlement and policies to the U.S. government, foreign governments, and the United Nations (UN).

The group claims to be independent because they do not accept government or UN funding. [1] However, the group has numerous ties and affiliations to progressive Democratic leaders and groups, as well as known left-leaning financial supporters. Michael Madnick, the former treasurer of Sixteen Thirty Fund, has been on Refugees International’s board since 2013. [2] Financier and philanthropist George Soros is listed as a board director emeritus on Refugees International’s website. [3]

History

Refugees International was founded in 1979 by Sue Morton and Michael Morrissey as a response to the Southeast Asian refugee boat crisis of that same year. On July 19, 1979, Diane Lawson, Refugees International’s first executive director, and Morrissey published a full-page ad in the Washington Post that advocated for U.S. Senators and Representatives to support Southeast Asian refugees. That same evening, a group of over 10,000 people attended a Joan Baez concert in front of the Lincoln Memorial and began a rally in support of the refugees from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. [4]

Each year, the organization conducts “field work” missions across the globe to identify refugees’ needs and creates reports based on their findings.

Morton started Refugees International while living overseas, which became Refugees International Japan. She then returned home to the U.S. and started Refugees International. Both organizations operate independently from one another and Refugees International Japan claims to be a non-profit organization (NGO). Refugees International Japan shares a list of its largest donors in its annual review, including Aston Martin Japan, Panasonic Corporation, Hilton Tokyo, Shell Retiree Association, and Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo. [5]

Recent Advocacy

In March 2020, Turkey declared that refugees could no longer stay in the country in exchange for monetary aid from the European Union. Devon Cone, senior advocate for women and girls at Refugees International, accuses the European Union of not stepping up to share the responsibility of caring for the refugees. Cone stated that because Greece is part of Europe, Europe has the resources to improve the conditions for refugees in Greece. [6]

Refugees International was one of over 50 groups to request that Congress establish an independent immigration court that is independent of the Department of Justice in February 2020. The groups accused the Trump administration of undermining due process to accelerate deportations and that the current system is easily manipulated. The groups claimed the courts are backlogged and under-resourced. [7]

President Donald Trump’s 2021 budget request would increase spending for immigration enforcement agencies and reduce aid to foreign countries,[8] which received condemnation from Refugees International. Eric Schwartz, Refugees International president, stated that President Donald Trump’s budget would reduce money for international and humanitarian aid and defied bipartisan majorities in Congress. [9]

January 2020 marked the 20th anniversary of federal legislation that combats human trafficking. On the anniversary and after a White House summit on human trafficking, President Donald Trump dedicated a new White House position to address the human trafficking crisis. The president compared human trafficking to “modern-day slavery” and said his administration is committed to eradicating the problem. [10] The legislation would also expand housing for victims, fund human trafficking programs in schools, and prevent online exploitation of children. [11] President Donald Trump has worked to end human trafficking while in office by signing multiple pieces of legislation, speaking publicly about the issue, and involving reporters at meetings on the topic at the White House. [12] Schwartz, criticized and was outspoken regarding President Trump’s new legislation,[13] claiming the Trump administration’s policies endanger trafficking victims due to the denial of special visas enabling trafficking victims to legalize their illegal immigrant status, access services, and seek punishment for their abusers. [14]

In 2019, President Donald Trump and his administration reduced the number of refugees permitted to seek asylum in the U.S. to, what Refugees International said is, a record low, while increasing the vetting process of arrivals. Schwartz argued that this policy change was being used as a “political wedge issue in a thoroughly irresponsible manner.” [15]

On February 26, 2019, Refugees International president, Eric Schwartz, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives House Foreign Affairs Committee regarding his and his organization’s opinion on the state of refugee affairs across the globe. Throughout the hearing Schwartz blamed President Donald Trump and his administration for the poor treatment and state of refugees, as well as the struggles displaced people faced. He claimed President Donald Trump has attempted to change policies from former administrations and the Trump administration has greatly reduced humanitarian aid, while reducing the number of asylum seekers permitted to enter the U.S. [16]

Leadership

Refugees International’s website only lists one founder, Sue Morton;[17] however, multiple sources state there were two co-founders, including Michael Morrissey. There is conflicting information, some sources stating that Morton was the founder, while others state she was a co-founder with Morrissey.

On Morrissey’s personal website, he states he was a co-founder of Refugees International. [18] Morrissey was originally a landscape architect, but now is an avid traveler, photographer, and author. He has published his photographs in books and online publications, creating a personal website to showcase his work. [19] He also has a ‘journal’ section on the website where he chronicles his work and writes about his travels around the world, all while taking pictures.

In June 2017, Eric Schwartz became president of Refugees International. Before joining Refugees International, he had a six-year tenure as the Dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. [20] In 2009, he was appointed by former President Barack Obama as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration where he worked closely with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. [21] Previously, he served as the senior human rights and humanitarian official at the National Security Council during the Clinton administration, the UN Deputy Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery after the 2004 Asian Tsunami, Washington Director of Asia Watch (now the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch), and staff consultant to the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, among other positions in the U.S. government, at the United Nations, and in the non-profit sector. [22]

Actor Matt Dillon also sits on the board and is outspoken about his work with the group. [23]

Financials

Refugees International is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation. It reported $6,237,971 in revenue and $3,734,376 in expenditures in its 2018 fiscal year. [24] The organization reported 28 employees, with 45 volunteers, and 29 members of its governing body. [25] The president of the group, Eric Schwartz, received $294,390 in total compensation in 2018. [26] Refugees International spent $352,603 on lobbying efforts. [27]

Funding

Refugees International donors include corporations, foundations, and individuals. The financial statements include over a dozen anonymous donors. Notable donors include Google, Hopewell Fund, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, NoVo Foundation, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, World Bank Community Connections Campaign, Humanity United, Pfizer, the Moriah Fund, Ridgewells, Pivotal Foundation, UPS, Caterpillar, Dr. School Foundation, Global Impact, Repsol Oil & Gas USA, Reuter Foundation, Natacha and Anthony Weiss,  and the Weiss Foundation. [28]

George Soros and his philanthropic network have contributed a substantial amount of money to Refugees International: Since 1999, his Open Society Foundations have donated over $900,000, and his Foundation to Promote Open Society has donated $1.1 million since 2009. [29]

Other major foundation grantors to Refugees International include the Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund (over $2 million since 2009), the Charles Engelhard Foundation (over $1.8 million since 2005), the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program (almost $2 million since 2007), and the Ford Foundation (over $1.9 million since 2000). [30] Refugees International has received support from Cultures of Resistance Network, a radical left-wing private foundation. [31]

In 2018, two funding and fiscal sponsorship groups in the Arabella Advisors network, New Venture Fund and Hopewell Fund, gave $40,000 and $3,000,000 to Refugees International respectively. [32][33]

References

  1. “Our Mission, Our Story.” Refugees International. Accessed March 3, 2020. https://www.refugeesinternational.org/what ^
  2. “Board Members.” Refugees International. March 3, 2020. https://www.refugeesinternational.org/board ^
  3. “Board Members.” Refugees International. March 3, 2020. https://www.refugeesinternational.org/board ^
  4. “Blog Post. Lessons for Today as Refugees International Marks an Important Anniversary.” Refugees International. Accessed March 4, 2020. https://www.refugeesinternational.org/reports/refugeesinternationalanniversary ^
  5. “Annual Review 2018/2019.” Refugees International Japan. Accessed March 6, 2020. https://rij-npo.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/RIJAR2019_web.pdf ^
  6. The World Staff. “What’s Next for Migrants and Refugees on the EU Border.” Public Radio International. March 3, 2020. Accessed March 3, 2020. https://www.pri.org/stories/2020-03-03/whats-next-migrants-and-refugees-eu-border-covid-19-and-cost-healthcare-israeli ^
  7. “Over 50 Rights Groups Call on Congress to Establish an Independent Immigration Court.” Human Rights Watch. February 18, 2020. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/02/18/over-50-rights-groups-call-congress-establish-independent-immigration-court# ^
  8. Herman, Steve. “Trump Again Proposes Big Cut to Foreign Aid.” Voice of America. February 10, 2020. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://www.voanews.com/usa/us-politics/trump-again-proposes-big-cut-foreign-aid ^
  9. Narea, Nicole. “Trump’s 2020 Budget Proposal Doesn’t Stop at the Border Wall.” Vox. February 10, 2020. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://www.vox.com/2020/2/10/21131788/trump-2021-budget-proposal-border-wall-immigration ^
  10. Superville, Darlene; The Associated Press. “Trump Signs Order Creating White House Position Focused on Human Trafficking.” Fortune. January 31, 2020. Accessed March 3, 2020. https://fortune.com/2020/01/31/trump-human-trafficking-bill-executive-order/ ^
  11. Bean, Mackenzie. “Trump Signs Exec Order on Human Trafficking: 3 Things to Know.” Becker’s Hospital Review. February 3, 2020. March 5, 2020. https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/population-health/trump-signs-exec-order-on-human-trafficking-3-things-to-know.html ^
  12. Superville, Darlene; The Associated Press. “Trump Signs Order Creating White House Position Focused on Human Trafficking.” Fortune. January 31, 2020. Accessed March 3, 2020. https://fortune.com/2020/01/31/trump-human-trafficking-bill-executive-order/ ^
  13. Ballhaus, Rebecca. “Trump Strengthened Efforts Against Human Trafficking, Amid Criticism from Victims’ Advocates.” The Wall Street Journal. January 31, 2020. Accessed March 4, 2020. https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-strengthens-efforts-against-human-trafficking-amid-criticism-from-victims-advocates-11580482657 ^
  14. Superville, Darlene; The Associated Press. “Trump Signs Order Creating Post Focused on Human Trafficking.” ABC St. Louis. January 31, 2020. Accessed March 3, 2020. https://abcstlouis.com/news/nation-world/trump-to-create-post-to-focus-on-solely-human-trafficking ^
  15. Hackman, Michelle. “Trump Administration’s Scaledown of Refugee Program is Built to Endure.” October 20, 2019. Accessed March 5, 2020. https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-administrations-scaledown-of-refugee-program-is-built-to-endure-11571572800 ^
  16. “Testimony of Eric Schwartz President Refugees International Hearing.” ‘A Global Crisis: Refugees, Migrants and Asylum-Seekers’ U.S. House of Representatives House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations. February 26, 2019. Accessed March 5, 2020. https://www.congress.gov/116/meeting/house/108983/witnesses/HHRG-116-FA16-Wstate-SchwartzE-20190226.pdf ^
  17. “Our People, Board.” Refugees International. Accessed March 4, 2020. https://www.refugeesinternational.org/board ^
  18. “About Michael Morrissey.” Photography by Michael Morrissey. Accessed March 4, 2020. http://www.mjmorrissey.com/about_mike ^
  19. “Home.” Photography by Michael Morrissey. Accessed March 4, 2020. http://www.mjmorrissey.com/about_mike ^
  20. “Eric Schwartz Joins Refugees International as President.” Refugees International. June 12, 2017. Accessed March 5, 2020. https://www.refugeesinternational.org/reports/2017/leadership ^
  21. “Eric P. Schwartz, Vice Chair, About USCIRF.” United State Commission on International Religious Freedom. Accessed March 5, 2020. https://www.uscirf.gov/about-uscirf/eric-p-schwartz-vice-chair ^
  22. “Eric Schwartz Joins Refugees International as President.” Refugees International. June 12, 2017. Accessed March 5, 2020. https://www.refugeesinternational.org/reports/2017/leadership ^
  23. “37th Annual Anniversary Dinner.” Refugees International. April 2016. Accessed March 6, 2020. https://www.refugeesinternational.org/events/2016/anniversary-dinner ^
  24. Refugees International, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Part I, Line 18. Accessed March 3, 2020. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/506c8ea1e4b01d9450dd53f5/t/5dd5836446bd5e3bc3431088/1574273892750/2018+PUBLIC+DISCLOSURE+COPY+-+FINAL+FOR+WEBSITE.pdf ^
  25. Refugees International, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Part I, Lines 5 and 6. Accessed March 3, 2020. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/506c8ea1e4b01d9450dd53f5/t/5dd5836446bd5e3bc3431088/1574273892750/2018+PUBLIC+DISCLOSURE+COPY+-+FINAL+FOR+WEBSITE.pdf ^
  26. Refugees International, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Part Vii. Accessed March 3, 2020. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/506c8ea1e4b01d9450dd53f5/t/5dd5836446bd5e3bc3431088/1574273892750/2018+PUBLIC+DISCLOSURE+COPY+-+FINAL+FOR+WEBSITE.pdf ^
  27. Refugees International, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Schedule C, Part II-A. Accessed March 3, 2020. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/506c8ea1e4b01d9450dd53f5/t/5dd5836446bd5e3bc3431088/1574273892750/2018+PUBLIC+DISCLOSURE+COPY+-+FINAL+FOR+WEBSITE.pdf ^
  28. “Annual Report 2018.” Refugees International. 2018. Accessed March 6, 2020. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/506c8ea1e4b01d9450dd53f5/t/5cd2fd99104c7b29d49bb69c/1557331354295/Annual+Report+-+2018+-+13.0+-+for+web.pdf ^
  29. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the IRS. Queries conducted March 19, 2020. ^
  30. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the IRS. Queries conducted March 19, 2020. ^
  31. Cultures of Resistance Network, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2018, Part XV Line 3 ^
  32. New Venture Fund, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Schedule I https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/11/New-Venture-Fund-2018-Form-990.pdf ^
  33. Hopwell Fund, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Schedule I https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/11/Hopewell-Fund-2018-Form-990.pdf ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Michael Madnick
    Board Member
  2. George Soros
    Director Emeritus
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: October 1, 1981

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $4,492,367 $3,567,139 $4,960,621 $1,293,501 N $4,392,822 $0 $76,656 $536,993 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $3,687,096 $3,087,208 $3,708,275 $1,259,916 N $3,584,262 $0 $57,022 $405,208
    2015 Dec Form 990 $3,473,564 $2,952,876 $3,097,852 $1,311,185 N $3,414,627 $0 $51,185 $379,337 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $3,751,347 $3,129,777 $2,647,312 $1,322,293 N $3,684,904 $0 $51,875 $395,660 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $2,985,176 $3,239,647 $2,179,574 $1,453,901 N $2,852,515 $0 $44,513 $200,153 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $3,073,737 $3,612,435 $2,477,347 $1,483,181 N $2,934,488 $0 $46,073 $240,390 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $3,669,544 $3,963,026 $2,980,644 $1,464,912 N $3,569,969 $0 $80,638 $211,626 PDF
    2010 Dec Form 990 $3,637,190 $4,275,777 $3,425,123 $1,531,440 N $3,527,170 $0 $59,857 $300,477 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Refugees International

    1800 M Street NW
    WASHINGTON, DC 20036