The Archdiocese of Toronto’s “Project Hope” emergency refugee resettlement campaign surpassed its ambitious $3 million fundraising goal, reaching $3.1 million in just 100 days. The first refugee families sponsored through Project Hope will arrive in Toronto on December 20, with more expected in the coming weeks.
Launched on September 8, 2015 by the Archbishop of Toronto, Cardinal Thomas Collins, the effort brought together churches and religious communities from across the Greater Toronto Area, corporations, schools and individuals, giving of their time, talents and treasure to support private refugee sponsorship.
Processing of refugee families through Project Hope began in October when a team of eight volunteers from the Archdiocese of Toronto’s Office for Refugees (ORAT) traveled to Jordan, identifying and streamlining the application process. The Archdiocese of Toronto is one of the largest private sponsors of refugees in Canada, with a dedicated office providing leadership since 2009. Project Hope is above and beyond current efforts that were underway in the archdiocese before the current crisis.
In addition to funds raised for Project Hope, volunteer committees have been formed to facilitate the welcome of 89 refugee families to date. Committees will journey with newcomers and provide practical assistance during their first year in Canada. These committees are a critical component to a successful resettlement strategy. There are still opportunities for committees of six to 10 people to join this cause and assist in welcoming the sponsored families. Those wishing to contribute financially to the campaign may still do so by visiting here, with funds raised beyond the $3 million goal re-invested to welcome additional families sponsored through ORAT.
Cardinal Collins expressed his gratitude to the community for its generous response: “It has been wonderful to see the outpouring of support for Project Hope from both our Catholic community and those of other faiths. We have also seen corporations, community groups and individuals beyond our faith community engage in this refugee settlement effort. It is heartening to see such goodwill and co-operation alive and at work in our archdiocese.”