6 Chicago Non-Profits Helping Refugees

Refugee One
Image: The Haj Khalaf family. Erin Hooley for the Chicago Tribune.

In Yasmina’s Necklace, Yasmina dreams of opening a nonprofit organization to provide aid to the local refugees, particularly the young women with which she identifies. Yasmina’s organization would join the ranks of some of Chicago’s leading humanitarian organizations helping immigrants and refugees. Here are just some of Chicago’s many nonprofits fulfilling Yasmina’s dream of helping refugee and immigrant populations.

Learn about Yasmina’s own journey in Yasmina’s Necklace, playing in the Owen Theatre October 20 – November 19.
To buy tickets, visit GoodmanTheatre.org/Necklace >>

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) works to educate and organize immigrant and refugee communities across the state of Illinois. Partnering with member organizations, ICIRR actively advocates for equal access to education, language, healthcare and civic information and programming among Illinois’s immigrant and refugee populations. Their work helps integrate immigrants and refugees into the existing American community while simultaneously promoting both active participation and equivalent opportunities within that community.

To learn more about the ICIRR or to get involved at ICIRR.org.

World Relief Chicago

Part of an international foundation established after World War II, World Relief Chicago has been working since 1980 to assist in the resettlement of over 15,000 refugees across the Chicago area. In collaboration with partners and volunteers, World Relief Chicago assists refugees and immigrants navigate American culture and organization. By contributing help to find employment, apply for government aid or assistance, navigate the American immigration system, or learn the English language, World Relief Chicago is dedicated to offering a comprehensive resettlement program for immigrants and refugees from all over the world.

To see more about World Relief Chicago, or to get involved, visit WorldReliefChicago.org.

Heartland Alliance

Opened in Chicago in 1888, Heartland Alliance seeks to provide vulnerable populations with healthcare, housing and support. Throughout their almost 130 year history, Heartland Alliance provided a first response to any major crises, including reconnecting immigrant families separated at Ellis Island, seeking housing for those affected by the Great Depression, helping veterans of both World Wars readjust to civilian life and providing healthcare services during the AIDS epidemic. Now operating throughout the Midwest and in 20 countries internationally, Heartland Alliance provides help with housing, healthcare, employment and legal needs of immigrant, refugee and underserved populations.

To learn more about Heartland Alliance or to get involved, visit HeartlandAlliance.org.

RefugeeOne

The largest resettlement agency in Illinois, RefugeeOne operates as the first point of contact for incoming refugees to the Chicago area. Working with refugees upon arrival at the airport, RefugeeOne provides furnished housing, language courses, employment search support, mental healthcare services and community programming to aid refugees in adjusting to life in America and Chicago. Every year the organization works with more than 2,500 refugees and immigrants of all backgrounds, faiths, ages and ethnic groups.

See more about RefugeeOne and get involved by visiting RefugeeOne.org.

GirlForward

Working in both Chicago and Austin (with a plan for a 2019 launch of a third location), GirlForward is an organization that focuses support on young women within refugee populations. Through their three core programs, GirlForward promotes the growth of young female refugees. Their Mentoring Program focuses on planning and acting for a fully-realized future, their Camp GirlForward encourages the development of English skills, and their Safe Spaces project provides the opportunity to connect with others in the community and organization.

To learn more about GirlForward or to get involved, visit GirlForward.org.

Centro Romero

Determined to bridge the gap between immigrant and refugee populations and mainstream American society, Centro Romero has been working for over 30 years to serve Chicago’s northeast side. Their many programs include youth-based learning and leadership services, adult education courses, legal support and a myriad of family programming.

See more about Centro Romero and get involved: CentroRomero.org.