2018 Annual Report

Delivering Results for Refugees

©UNHCR/Siegfried Modola
A mother with her child crosses the Simon Bolivar Bridge, one of 7 legal entry points on the Colombia-Venezuela border, the largest entry point with over 30,000 people crossing into Colombia on a daily basis.

Letter From Our Leadership

Dear Supporter,

About 30 years ago, concerned citizens formed USA for UNHCR to raise awareness of refugee needs in the United States, and expand resources to help them. This cause is more vital than ever as the globe nears a staggering 70 million people displaced worldwide. Our vision – a world without refugees – is more needed than ever.

In 2018, USA for UNHCR revisited our vision, mission and values, in order to set direction for our next five years. Considering our vision, we came up with five core goals: create a voice for refugees, deliver results for refugees, invest and grow, innovate, and shape the role of the private sector in UNHCR. We believe we can build on past success and drive more impact for this global crisis.

Our 2018 Annual Report outlines some of our early results. You will read about Germain Dosseh, an American who has served this country after spending his early years as a refugee from Togo. You’ll understand more about our innovative use of geospatial data to help UNHCR uncover challenges in camps. You’ll learn about an American, Philip Tryon, who has never been to Burma, but who was captivated by the plight of the Rohingya and is running races to support their emergency needs. Through all of these stories, you will see elements of our new strategic directions.

Thank you for supporting this profoundly important work as we seek to create a world without refugees.

Charles DeSantis Signature of Charles DeSantis
Charles DeSantis

Chair, Board of Directors

Anne-Marie Grey Signature of Anne-Marie Grey
Anne-Marie Grey

Executive Director and CEO

©UNHCR/Chris Melzer
One-year-old South Sudanese refugee Marcelo Peter meets UNHCR boss Filippo Grandi at Kakuma settlement in Kenya. ©UNHCR/Georgina Goodwin

Investing In Our Future

In 2018, USA for UNHCR set out to rearticulate our vision, mission, values and strategies. We aimed to create a vision for the organization that encompasses who we are today, is expansive enough to leave room for an ambitious future, and is compelling to current and future staff, board members and supporters. Our vision and mission extend to how we think about the future of refugees and how to live out our mission every day in our organizational values.

Our Values

We engaged our employees and supporters in understanding what mattered to them. What is the value of USA for UNHCR, and what attributes are important to achieving our mission? In asking these questions, six values resonated with our team. These values represent the best of who we are and who we want to be:



The heads and the hearts of our team members are committed to our mission. It’s not just a commitment, it’s a calling.



We are committed to continuous evolution – finding the best course of action and taking it.



We are open and honest, with each other and with our donors, partners and other stakeholders.

Cutting Edge.

Cutting Edge.

We aspire to be pioneers and find new approaches to connect others with our mission.

Data Driven.

Data Driven.

We analyze data, facts and trends to understand our circumstances, and act on what we learn.

Forward Thinking.

Forward Thinking.

We are outcome-oriented and focused on what’s ahead.

Our Strategic Framework

Once USA for UNHCR identified our vision, mission and values, we made plans for how we would bring them to life through a multi-year strategic framework. This framework charts a course to advance our mission in a changing world, when forced migration is the defining human rights issue of our time. It guides alignment of our resources around specific goals and strategies, identifies drivers of our goals and strategies, helps us to focus and make choices about how to spend time and resources, and drives us to be accountable to specific outcomes. We developed the USA for UNHCR strategic framework through a cross-functional working group, staff and board input, and leadership oversight. In 2019, we will begin implementing the plan’s strategies, and embodying our refreshed vision and mission in the way we work each day.

When violence forced Lilia to flee her home she had only enough time to gather her four children and grab her most prized possession; her sewing machine. The family found safety in the DRC and with her sewing machine, Lilia is doing her best to provide for her family. ©UNHCR/Anthony Karumba
A woman looks out uncertainly from her shelter as rain has brought damage and landslides at Chakmarkul refugee settlement, Banlgadesh ; UNHCR and other agencies are urgently trying to find safer areas where families at high risk of landslides and floods can be moved out of harm’s way. At least 200,000 refugees are at high risk of landslides and floods. Of the 41,000 at high risk of landslides, around 14,000 have been relocated to safer areas so far. Finding additional flat land is a huge challenge, due to the hilliness of the terrain in Cox’s Bazar district.  
This is just the start of the monsoon season, which peaks through the start of September. A few days of very heavy rain have already had a punishing impact on the fragile environment in the refugee settlements in Cox’s Bazar district, where more than 720,000 Rohingya, refugees who fled violence in Myanmar since last August, are sheltering.
Global Crisis at a Glance

The world now has a population of 70.8 million forcibly displaced people. The number of new displacements in 2018 was equivalent to an average of 37,000 people being forced to flee their homes every day.

©UNHCR/Caroline Gluck
Young Syrian refugee children in Lebanon enjoy an after school homework session led by Syrian refugee college students. ©UNHCR/Antoine Tardy

Investing In Impact for Refugees

USA for UNHCR serves vulnerable people around the world who have been forced to flee their homes because of violence, conflict and persecution. Through the generosity of the American people, we help refugees survive, provide hope for recovery and prepare them for independence in a new and permanent home.

©UNHCR/Siegfried Modola
A father holds a young girl to cross the river and the border with Colombia, taking a  'trocha', muddy footpaths that cut across the scrubland that covers the banks of the Tachira River, which forms the border between Venezuela and Colombia.

A father carries his daughter across a river on the Venezuela-Colombia border. They are just two of the more than four million Venezuelans who have fled the country since 2014 because of political strife, human rights abuses and lack of opportunity.

©UNHCR/Vincent Tremeau
©UNHCR/Diana Diaz
Malak, eight years old, and her brother Muntasir, three years old. sit near UNHCR assistance in Dhamar governorate, Yemen. They fled from Hudaydah and they came with father to receive the assistance.

Eight-year-old Malak and her family receive assistance at a UNHCR distribution site outside of Sana’a, Yemen’s capital. Violence throughout Yemen has forced three million people to flee their homes– and more than 22 million vulnerable Yemenis are in immediate need of humanitarian assistance.

©UNHCR/Arwa Al Sabri


Once refugees are resettled or return to their homes, their search for safety has ended, but a new process begins. They may need to learn a new language and culture. They need to find work and a community. They need support around them when they settle, to help them navigate the complexities of a new place. USA for UNHCR supports resettlement agencies and community-based programs that help refugees feel welcome in the United States. USA for UNHCR also spends time educating Americans about the refugee crisis and who refugees are.

©USA for UNHCR/Lucian Perkins
Young children pose for a photograph in Camp 4 Extension, Kutupalong Refugee Camp, south-east Bangladesh.

Young Rohingya refugee children pose for a photograph in Kutupalong refugee camp. Two years after being forced to flee from their homes in Myanmar, Rohingya refugee children continue to heal from the trauma while trying to reclaim a childhood.

©UNHCR/Roger Arnold

2018 Financial Report

(as of December 31, 2018)

The following is a summary of financial information of the U.S. Association for UNHCR for the year 2018. USA for UNHCR is classified as a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code and is qualified for charitable contribution deductions.

All donations to USA for UNHCR are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. USA for UNHCR Federal Tax Identification Number is 52-1662800.

Revenue 2018 2017
Grants and Contributions $44,442,448 $42,651,897
Corporation and Foundation Grants
$14,745,722 $10,330,069
Interest and Investment Income $105,031 $114,932
In-Kind Contributions $5,900,641 $2,731,868
Contributions from UNHCR $12,018,001 $12,040,958
Total Revenue $62,466,121 $57,539,655
Program Services $40,587,563 $36,428,675
Supporting Services
Management and General
$2,147,878 $2,143,827
$19,141,453 $19,219,322
Total Supporting Services
$21,289,331 $21,363,149
Total Expenses $61,876,894 $57,791,824
Changes in Net Assets $589,227 -$252,169
Net Assets at Beginning of Year $16,064,797 $16,316,966
Net Assets at End of Year $16,654,024 $16,064,797

The complete financial statements for 2018 are available upon request from USA for UNHCR. The firm of Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman is USA for UNHCR’s auditor.

Our Board

USA for UNHCR is governed by an engaging and cohesive Board of Directors who share a commitment to the goals and objectives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). With an extensive knowledge base and various expertise our Board provides advice on policy, advocacy, fundraising and programming.

All Board members are independent.

  • Charles DeSantis, Chair

  • Kathleen Newland, Vice Chair

  • L. Craig Johnstone, Treasurer

  • Susan McPherson, Secretary

  • William Ball, Board Member

  • Mika Brezezinski, Board Member

  • Kelly C. Blevins, Board Member

  • George Lindemann, Board Member

  • Dr. Liberty Vittert, Board Member

  • Mark Wallace, Board Member

  • Yasmin Causer, Board Member

  • Virginia Tenpenny, Board Member