Frequently Asked Questions

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Photo Credit: © UNHCR / C. Fohlen

General Questions

Donor Questions

What is UNHCR?

UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), or the UN Refugee Agency, was established in 1950 to provide and coordinate international relief for refugees and displaced people. UNHCR offers them protection and assistance at every stage of their ordeal:

  • In emergencies, UNHCR provides shelter, food, water and medical care.
  • In established refugee camps and communities, UNHCR works to improve refugees’ quality of life and future opportunities, providing infrastructure, schools and income generating projects.
  • When refugees are able to return home, UNHCR gives them assistance with transport, documentation and essential items to make the transition as smooth as possible.
  • Once they are home, UNHCR provides ongoing support and education to help refugees rebuild their communities and their livelihoods.

What is USA for UNHCR?

USA for UNHCR helps and protects refugees and people displaced by violence, conflict and persecution. Working with UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency – and its partners, we provide life-saving essentials including shelter, water, food, safety and protection. Around the world, we help refugees survive, recover and build a better future.

Established by concerned American citizens, USA for UNHCR is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Who do we help?

UNHCR’s primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. To this end, we strive to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another country, and to return home voluntarily. By helping refugees go back home or to settle in another country, UNHCR also seeks lasting solutions to their plight. Learn more on our Who We Help page.

Where does UNHCR get it’s funding?

Only 3% of UNHCR’s budget comes from the UN – the remaining 97% comes from voluntary contributions from governments, corporations, and individual donors. We rely on donations to ensure we can respond  whenever and wherever a crisis strikes.

I am looking to be resettled or seek protection in the United States or have a question about resettlement.

USA for UNHCR exists purely as a fundraising office.

We do not have the expertise or facilities to provide legal advice. For specific information regarding protection within America please contact our regional UNHCR office or call 202-296-5191.

How is my donation used?

UNHCR relies on voluntary contributions for 97% of its funding, so we’re very grateful for your generous support. We’re committed to using your money as efficiently and effectively as possible to help refugees in need. You can find out more about what your donations have achieved on the What We Do page.

Are my donations tax-deductible and can I get a tax receipt?


Yes. USA for UNHCR is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a charity under section 501 (c) (3) of the tax code. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

You will receive a receipt by email if you give online, all other gifts will receive a receipt by mail. If you cannot locate your receipt, please contact our Donor Services team at info@usaforunhcr.org or call 1-855-808-6427, and we would be happy to send you a replacement receipt.

How can I setup monthly donations to USA for UNHCR?

To set up a monthly donation, visit our donate page and choose the Give Monthly option. If you would like to set up a quarterly, bi-annual or annual recurring donation, please call us at 1-855-808-6427.

How can I donate stock, setup a charitable trust or make a planned gift?

Please visit our planned giving page for more information on other ways to give.

How can I raise money in my community or online for USA for UNHCR?


Yes, we welcome contributions from fundraising events. Check out our community fundraising page or setup a crowdrise page to raise funds online

Please note that we are unable to accept material donations such as food, clothing and other goods at this time.

How can I update my contact information or make a change to my monthly payment (including canceling)?

Please contact our donor services team at 1-855-808-6427 or emailing info@usaforunhcr.org and we would be happy to update your preferences, cancel your monthly donations or make any changes that you need!