June 5, 2014 PRESS RELEASE — Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service Receives $90,000 Grant from the ELCA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Miji Bell
mbell@lirs.org, (410) 230-2841

BALTIMORE, MD – Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded two project related grants totaling $90,000 from The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

A grant in the amount of $60,000 will be used to support LIRS’ alternatives to detention project. These funds will strengthen our work with legal and social service partners in seven communities across the U.S. and will deepen ties with local congregations and volunteers who accompany and support immigrants released from detention. “Receiving this level of support bolsters our ability to welcome vulnerable individuals released from detention into our communities,” says Liz Sweet, director for Access to Justice. “It will allow us to continue to partner with organizations and churches across the country to provide holistic services to accompany migrants on the journey to integration.”

In addition, a $30,000 grant is designated for the World Refugee Day Academy, a three-day event that will convene 51 refugee leaders from across the country to learn about ongoing and emerging policy issues, make connections with community leaders and elected officials, and commit to continued involvement to engage and mobilize their local communities. “Fostering opportunities for migrant and refugee leadership is an important part of our ongoing advocacy efforts,” says Folabi Olagbaju, National Grassroots Director for LIRS. “Our efforts for systemic change are strongest when new Americans are empowered to speak for themselves and advocate for others on a similar journey.”

“We in the ELCA are so pleased to have LIRS as a partner in welcoming new neighbors who have been released from detention and in investing in the leadership development of those who have been refugees,” said the Rev. Dr. Stephen Bouman, executive director, ELCA Congregational and Synodical Mission. “There is great giftedness among our new neighbors.”

As the second largest refugee resettlement agency in the U.S., LIRS is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations, and for providing services to migrants through over 60 grassroots legal and social service partners across the United States. Celebrating 75 years of service and advocacy this year, LIRS has helped more than 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.

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