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The FGM will provide $750,000 in support for Syrian refugees in Greater Montréal

MONTRÉAL, March 16, 2016 – The Foundation of Greater Montréal announces that it will provide support initially totaling $750,000 in order to enhance the activities of organizations in the Greater Montréal community with respect to Syrian refugees. “The families and communities who – to this point and in a short period of time – have welcomed over 4,210 Syrian refugees face enormous responsibilities,” stated Yvan Gauthier, president and CEO of the Foundation of Greater Montréal. “To meet that challenge, the FGM believes it essential to provide support that complements the efforts of the sponsoring organizations and governments lending a hand to families.”
A sense of solidarity gets the ball rolling
Courtesy of a generous contribution from CN and Manulife, the Welcome Fund for Syrian Refugees was created by Community Foundations of Canada. Its goal is to help meet the immediate needs of the 25,000 refugees that will be hosted by communities all over Canada in the months ahead. That Fund supports front-line organizations that will see to the accommodation, settlement and integration of refugees in the various regions of Canada, in partnership with the network of 191 community foundations across the country. The Foundation of Greater Montréal is responsible for the awarding of grants in Greater Montréal.
Greater Montréal as a unique model in Canada
Between January 1, 2015 and March 13, 2016, Montréal, Laval and Longueuil welcomed 4411 of the 5326 Syrian refugees, accounting for 83 percent of refugees received in Québec. More than 4,250 other sponsorship applications for Syrian refugees have been accepted, and these have already been submitted to the immigration process at the federal level.
Greater Montréal gathers together the largest Syrian community in Canada, amounting to 40 percent of the country’s population hailing from Syria. This explains why it differs from other big Canadian cities in terms of how Syrian refugees are welcomed: in effect, 95 percent of refugees in Greater Montréal are sponsored by families and citizens, whereas in the rest of Canada, 80 percent are taken charge of by the state. So that the assistance provided can have the greatest possible impact, the FGM will primarily be targeting refugees who are privately sponsored.
“I want to pay tribute to the remarkable effort of the Syrian community, and that of the community of Greater Montréal as a whole, in the face of the massive arrival of Syrian refugees,” added the FGM’s Yvan Gauthier. “The Foundation of Greater Montréal will support the community who spontaneously welcomed those refugees, by providing assistance to the sponsoring organizations and to all those who offer support services in refugee reception, settlement and integration. The assistance we furnish to sponsoring organizations will be aimed at meeting immediate needs like accommodation. It will be complementary in nature, and not duplicate what already exists. In that perspective, we’re announcing that we’ve entered into an agreement with the Red Cross to use its one-stop service to receive and to enhance support for projects already selected in order to avoid repeated requests. We’re also working in collaboration with Centraide and other private foundations to support available resources that offer needed assistance in refugee integration and social inclusion, such as job seeking.”
An impassioned plea to businesses and donors in Greater Montréal
“The federal government is announcing the intention to double its goal of receiving refugees from all countries in 2016, and more than ever” – Yvan Gauthier emphasized – “Greater Montréal is invited to demonstrate solidarity. I’m therefore inviting businesses and donors to contribute to the Foundation of Greater Montréal’s Refugee Assistance Fund so that refugees can integrate in the best possible conditions. The Syrian refugees have allowed us to demonstrate that we are a mobilized community. We must continue our efforts on behalf of all refugees in order to remain an exemplary host community”
“It’s our duty to act,” Mr. Gauthier concluded. “But the effort made today must be sustained for years to come if we’re to ensure the harmonious integration of refugees into our society.”
All those interested in contributing to the Refugee Assistance Fund can do so at the following address:

For more information on the Canadian Red Cross  program for organizations that sponsor Syrian refugees contact: or  514-362-2930, ext. 3622905.