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Sparking Change Grant Application


USA for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, Refugee Congress and Welcoming America have partnered to create a pilot grant opportunity to support community leaders who have personally experienced forced displacement and are now living in Louisiana, Oklahoma or Texas.

Refugee leaders working in the following areas are particularly encouraged to apply:
(1) those building new collaborations among refugees, neighbors and organizations;
(2) those utilizing creative approaches to showcase community innovation and ingenuity; and
(3) those looking to scale and grow community impact from existing smaller effort initiatives.

Refugee leaders awarded grants will receive project support of up to $10,000 and personal honoraria of up to $2,500.

We anticipate this application to take at least 1 hour and no more than 4 hours to complete.

Eligibility Criteria

This grant seeks applicants who are 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 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.


September 14, 2023: Application opens

October 18, 2023 @ 6:30 pm ET: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) virtual webinar

November 10, 2023: Application deadline

December 8, 2023: Sparking Change Awards announced

Financial grants distributed no later than December 31, 2023.

April 10-12, 2024: Award recipients will be required to participate in Welcoming America's annual conference — the Welcoming Interactive to be hosted in Dallas, Texas. Travel costs will be reimbursed for participants.

Selection Process

The selection committee, made up from the three partnering organizations, will carefully review all applications. The committee will assess proposals based on alignment with program goals, feasibility, impact and innovation. An advisory panel, which will include refugee leaders, will also contribute to the decision-making process. Approximately 10-15 refugee leaders with projects showing potential for positive change and community-building will be selected.

The selection committee anticipates a wide range of experience and comfort concerning the grant application process. The application is designed to be user-friendly, enabling applicants to share their vision for positive community change. Assistance will be available to applicants throughout the grant application process. Once selected, grant recipients will receive support to help successfully implement their project.

Grant notifications will go out to all applicants no later than December 1, 2023.

Winners will be expected to complete relevant tax form(s) such as a 1099. Please reach out to with any questions.


Award recipients will provide key metrics to illustrate the success and impact of their project. Reporting requirements will be shared in detail with grant recipients, and recipients will receive support from USA for UNHCR for measuring key metrics during the project execution. Both quantitative (e.g., budget breakdown, number of people reached, etc.) and qualitative (e.g., storytelling, etc.) will be requested at the mid-year and end-of-year marks.


Q: I have been engaged in community building for years, and I’m interested in using this to start a nonprofit organization that continues this work. Can I use the Sparking Change grant as seed funding?

A: No. At this time, the grant must be used to support individually led-projects.

Q: My parents are refugees, but I was born in the United States. Am I eligible to apply?

A: No, applicants must have lived experience of forced displacement.

Q: I have started a nonprofit organization, but we are a small team. Can I apply on behalf of the organization?

A: Not at this time. You can apply as an individual but the final project cannot be integrated with your existing organization.

Q: I need help with my application, I've never completed something like this before.

A: Please email for help completing the application.

Preview the application questions here. Note: This is not the application. Submit your answers through the application button below.