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September 14, 2023

USA for UNHCR Seeks Applications for the 2023 Sparking Change Grant

USA for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is seeking applicants for the 2023 Sparking Change grant. The grant is available to community leaders in Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas who have experienced forced displacement. The grant is supported by USA for UNHCR in partnership with Refugee Congress and Welcoming America.

Awarded refugee leaders who are creating change and building local communities will receive project support of up to $10,000 and a personal honoraria of up to $2,500. Applications of particular interest include projects that (1) build new collaborations between refugees, neighbors and organizations; (2) utilize creative approaches to showcase community innovation and creativity; and (3) scale and grow community impact from existing smaller effort initiatives. The grant will highlight work in four focus areas: 

  • Newest Neighbors: Projects emphasizing welcoming, cultivating relationships, and navigating new communities. 
  • Better Together: Projects that foster cohesion, build bridges across cultural differences, or connect multiple communities across religious or cultural identities.
  • Creative Voices: Projects rooted in art, culture, or storytelling that highlight the creative voices of newcomers to build visibility and understanding.
  • Play Together: Projects building connections through sport, hobbies, or togetherness which foster unity by spending time together.

Proposals that fall outside of these categories but highlight a unique approach to supporting thriving refugee communities will also be considered. 


Applicants should be leaders in their communities and are working to create awareness, understanding and community for people who have experienced forced displacement.

  • Location: Individuals living in and completing projects in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas and who have personally experienced forced displacement are eligible to apply. We hope to expand geographically in subsequent years. 
  • Individual Focused: At this time, individuals over the age of 18 and groups of fewer than three are eligible to apply. Applications from organizations such as 501(c)3 non-profits or LLC corporations are not eligible. Individuals who work for an organization but are submitting a project unassociated with that organization are eligible. 
  • Eligibility Status: Eligible applicants must have personally experienced forced displacement. Those with lived experience as a refugee, asylum seeker, or were previously an internally displaced person, are/were stateless, or arrived in the U.S. through a special immigrant visa, temporary protected status, or humanitarian parole are encouraged to apply. 
  • Projects: This initiative aims to support community building and integration among those who have experienced forced displacement. Projects that provide direct services (food provisions, clothing drives, etc.) are not eligible at this time. Projects are expected to be completed in 2024. 

Go to the Sparking Change submission form to submit your application. This application process is expected to take at least 1 hour and no more than 4 hours. Your submission should include:

  • Key goals and activities of your project and how this grant will help support your work 
  • A project budget
  • Past experience with community leadership and project management
  • (Optional) Supporting documents, such as project proposals, resumes and letters of recommendation

Please note that grantees will be required to attend the Welcoming Interactive on April 10 - 12, 2024 in Dallas, TX as part of the completion of this grant. 

Applications are due on Tuesday, October 31, 2023 at 11:59pm EST. 



USA for UNHCR will be hosting a webinar to answer application questions on October 18th at 6:30pm ET, and we will post a zoom link on the application website once available. If you have any questions in the interim, please contact [email protected]


About USA for UNHCR

USA for UNHCR helps and protects refugees and people displaced by violence, conflict and persecution. Supporting UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency – and its partners, we provide lifesaving essentials including shelter, water, food, safety and protection. Around the world, we help refugees survive, recover and build a better future. Together, we give refugees the hope they deserve, restore their dignity and help them rebuild their lives.

Established by concerned American citizens, USA for UNHCR is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, visit

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