World Refugee Day: An Opportunity for ECBOs to Identify Funding, Service Provision, and Partnership Possibilities

This year commemorates the 23rd anniversary of World Refugee Day, observed annually on June 20. It is a pivotal moment to spotlight the challenges faced by millions worldwide who have been displaced due to persecution, conflict, and violence. Through events organized by refugee communities and supporting organizations, we can draw attention to the struggles of refugees, celebrating their resilience and sharing their valuable contributions to their communities. This blog offers Ethnic CommunityBased Organizations (ECBOs) guidance on effectively observing World Refugee Dayfostering community engagement and expanding their reach. 

World Refugee Day is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the diverse refugee communities and refugee-led organizations that exist in your state or local community. Ethnic CommunityBased Organizations (ECBOs) around the country often spearhead events to celebrate the cultures, contributions, and resiliency of their communities. Whether your ECBO is organizing an event or co-sponsoring an event with other partners, view this occasion as an opportunity to deepen and expand support for your organization and its long-term sustainability 

Below, we describe three important ways World Refugee Day events can contribute to ECBO sustainability.

1. Increase visibility and relationships 

To maximize the impact of your event, consider inviting: 

  • Current supporters and partners—to help them feel more connected to your work and community; 
  • New prospective funders—to introduce them to your work and community; and 
  • Leadership from schools, businesses, mainstream nonprofits, and local government—to foster stronger champions of your ECBO in the future.  


You can share invitations via printed card or email, or simply by visiting their offices. In any case, personalized invitations will be more effective in encouraging attendance, especially with new relationships. 

2. Raise money through sponsorships and fundraising  

Reach out to local businesses and other groups about co-sponsoring your World Refugee Day event. Once you build relationships with these sponsors, they may be willing and able to sponsor other activities. World Refugee Day can also open doors for new sponsors—the prominence of the event may attract new funders who were previously unaware of the organization.  

Some best practices for engaging local businesses include the following: 

  • Look for businesses that align with your event’s values, have a history of community involvement, or could benefit from the exposure and goodwill generated by sponsoring your event. 
  • Invite them to participate in the celebration of World Refugee Day by hanging a banner in their business establishment and/or pledging to donate a percentage of proceeds to your ECBO on June 20. You can incentivize them to donate by offering free tabling and advertisement opportunities at the event. Additionally, some businesses might be willing to donate food and other supplies to provide event attendees.  
  • Ensure that your sponsors receive the agreed-upon recognition, such as logo placement on event materials, verbal acknowledgments during the event, and social media mentions.  
  • After the event, thank your sponsors and provide them with a summary of the event’s impact. Maintain the relationship for potential future collaborations.  

You can also tie other fundraising activities to World Refugee Day: 

  • Launch an online donation campaign for your organization in the month of June, including a special World Refugee Day appeal, using your newsletter and social media.   
  • Send special thank you cards to existing donors with a World Refugee Day theme.
  • Reach out to new donors and start conversations on how to work together for refugees and newcomers in your region.

3.  Promote cultural and economic empowerment
World Refugee Day events can both generate revenue for community members and promote the cultural traditions of local refugee communities. Here are some strategies to consider:   

  • Provide space and opportunity for community members to sell artisan, culturally representative clothing, accessories, and other items at your event. 
  • Allow community members to sell food from their traditional cuisine during your event. 
  • Host performers to showcase the diverse dance, music, and other artistic expressions of local refugee communities. Build honorariums to compensate all performers into your event budget.

World Refugee Day Events

If your ECBO is unable to organize an event, you can still make the most of World Refugee Day to introduce your organization to broader audiences, including other refugee service providers in the area. Consider the following options:       

  • Participate in tabling at existing events to raise awareness about your organization.  
  • Mark the occasion virtually by sharing special newsletters and social media posts throughout the month of June, featuring community stories and details about your programs. 
  • Connect with local elected officials to advocate for the refugee community with timely urgency.  


Additionally, if you are seeking ideas for your ECBO’s World Refugee Day event, consider attending existing events in your community. Listed below are some World Refugee Day-related events hosted, organized, or participated in by ECBOs throughout the U.S.:  


  • World Refugee Day Event, hosted by the East Bay Refugee & Immigrant Forum, June 15, 123 PM at Clinton Park, 655 International Blvd., Oakland, CA 
  • San Diego World Refugee Day celebration, hosted by the San Diego Refugee Forum, June 22, 11 AM–2 PM at Cuyamaca Community College, 900 Rancho San Diego Pkwy., El Cajon, CA  
  • Oral History Project of Refugees from Burma: Public Presentation, hosted by Karen Organization of San Diego, June 21, 14 PM at Mingei International Museum, 1439 El Prado, San Diego, CA 


  • 2024 World Refugee Day Community Celebration & Open House Fort Collins, June 22, 124 PM at Opera Galleria, 123 North College Ave., Fort Collins, CO 


  • World Food Bazaar, June 20, 5:308 PM at Festival Center on the New Haven Green, 250 Temple St, New Haven, CT 



  • World Refugee Day in Boise, hosted by the Idaho Office of Refugees, June 22, 9:30 AM1:30 PM at The Grove Plaza, 827 W. Main St., Boise, ID 
  • World Refugee Day in Twin Falls, hosted by USCRI Twin Falls, June 22, 69 PM at Twin Falls City Park, 400 Shoshone St. E., Twin Falls, ID 



  • World Refugee Day Community Celebration, June 22, 124 PM at Valley Community Center, 4444 Fuller Ave., West Des Moines, IA 



  • LORI 7th Annual World Refugee and Immigrant Day, June 22, 26:30 PM at Raising Cane’s River Center, 275 S. River Rd., Baton Rouge, LA


  • LSSNCA World Refugee Day Event—Maryland, June 14, 3:306 PM at Riverdale Elementary School, 5006 Riverdale Road, Riverdale Park, MD  


New York 

  • World Refugee Day Pride Exhibition, June 20, 68 PM at 208 West 13th Street, New York, NY  


North Carolina 

  • Durham Refugee Day, June 29, 36 PM at Durham Central Park Farmers Market Pavilion, 501 Foster St., Durham, NC  



  • World Refugee Day Block Party, June 22, 11 AM3 PM at Community Refugee & Immigration Services, 4645 Executive Drive, Columbus, OH


  • World Refugee Day 2024, June 15, 58 PM at Deane Hill Community Center, 7400 Deane Hill Dr. NW, Knoxville, TN 



  • World Refugee Day, June 8, 11 AM2:30 PM at the Bullock Museum, 1800 Congress Ave., Austin, TX
  • World Refugee Day Festival 2024, June 18, 68 PM at St. Francis Episcopal Church, 4242 Bluemel Rd., San Antonio, TX


  • LSSNCA World Refugee Day Event—Virginia, June 14, 4:307 PM at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 6219 Villa Street, Alexandria, VA


  • World Refugee Day 2024: Home Away From Home, June 15, 11 AM3 PM at 725 E. Joseph Ave., Spokane, WA 


Washington, D.C. 

Related Content

More Posts