University of Ottawa News Release: Canadian Philanthropist Frank Giustra Contributes Over $1.5 Million to Support Refugee Resettlement

Jan 28, 2021

January 28, 2021

Vancouver-based businessman and philanthropist Frank Giustra has announced a new $250,000 contribution to support the refugee resettlement initiatives of the University of Ottawa Refugee Hub in 2021. In total, Mr. Giustra has contributed more than $1.5 million to this important work since 2016 through his non-profit organization, The Giustra Foundation.

More than 1.4 million refugees worldwide are in immediate need of resettlement. Over the past five years, The Giustra Foundation has worked closely with the Refugee Hub to develop innovative partnerships and initiatives to meet those needs.

In 2016, The Giustra Foundation became a founder of the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative (GRSI), a unique multi-sectoral partnership that works to encourage and support the adoption and expansion of community sponsorship around the world. The initiative is led by the Government of Canada, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the Open Society Foundations, The Giustra Foundation, The Shapiro Foundation, and the University of Ottawa Refugee Hub. Today, the GRSI is working with more than 20 countries to explore, design, or implement sponsorship programs, and sponsorship was embedded as a core component of UNHCR’s 3-year resettlement strategy under the Global Compact on Refugees. In addition to financial support, The Giustra Foundation has provided significant ongoing strategic advice on the GRSI’s development. Lara Dauphinee, director of The Giustra Foundation and managing director of Fiore Financial Corporation, has represented the Foundation at the GRSI’s strategic leadership table since its inception.

Mr. Giustra also played an important role in the creation of the BVOR Fund, launched in 2018, which raised and granted funds to help sponsors and community groups resettle close to 700 refugees in 49 Canadian communities through Canada’s Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) Program. This innovative partnership helped to ensure that Canada’s resettlement capacity was fully utilized.

The announcement of new funding for 2021 will help to ensure that momentum continues toward increasing resettlement and community sponsorship globally, providing safety to thousands of refugees.


“The urgency of this work became clear to me in 2015 while doing humanitarian work in Lesvos, Greece, at the height of the Syrian refugee crisis. Seeing the needs of refugee children there, and thinking about my own children, I knew we needed to be part of the solution. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made since then by sharing Canada’s refugee sponsorship model with the world. As more countries continue to take up this successful model, they are empowering communities to offer safety and security to many more refugees, and it’s a privilege to be a partner in that effort.” - Frank Giustra, Founder, The Giustra Foundation

“The support of the Giustra Foundation has been absolutely critical to the global effort to increase refugee resettlement and community sponsorship. Frank’s unwavering commitment and strategic leadership provide a shining example of the positive role that private sector and philanthropic partners can play in responding to the urgent needs of refugees around the world.” – Jennifer Bond, Managing Director, University of Ottawa Refugee Hub and Chair, Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative.

About the Giustra Foundation

For over two decades, The Giustra Foundation has supported innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian and economic challenges. Operating exclusively in Canada, with a long-term commitment to British Columbia, The Foundation assists and develops initiatives focused on women and children, health and education, homelessness, and refugee resettlement. Believing that successfully tackling critical problems demands new thinking, new approaches, and the ability to move with both speed and compassion, the Foundation actively supports organizations and individuals that share this worldview, and that are focused on working efficiently to measurably improve people’s lives.

About the Refugee Hub

Based at the University of Ottawa, the Refugee Hub works at the intersection of research, policy, and programming, fostering innovative, multi-sectoral partnerships in support of refugee protection in Canada and around the world. Its flagship project is the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative, a multi-level, public private partnership with the Government of Canada, UNHCR, the Open Society Foundations, The Giustra Foundation and The Shapiro Foundation created to encourage and support the adoption and expansion of community sponsorship around the world.

Media enquiries: