News Release: Canadian entrepreneur partners with BVOR Fund to settle 20 refugee families

Sep 10, 2018

Canadian entrepreneur Jim Estill joins special initiative that brings together sponsors & funders to resettle UNHCR referred refugees to Canada in 2018

OTTAWA, ONTARIO, 6 September 2018 – Canadian Entrepreneur, Jim Estill, President and CEO of Danby Appliances, has partnered with the recently announced BVOR Fund to sponsor 20 refugee families to Canada. Estill has previously sponsored 61 refugee families, and is recognized around the world for his innovative approach to refugee protection and integration.

The BVOR Fund was established by the University of Ottawa Refugee Hub and Jewish Family Services, in partnership with founding donors the Shapiro Foundation, and Canadian philanthropist, Frank Giustra of the Radcliffe Foundation, who had not previously been identified.

The Radcliffe Foundation has made a number of other significant investments in the refugee space, and is a partner with the Government of Canada, the UNHCR, the Open Society Foundations and the University of Ottawa Refugee Hub on the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative.

The aim of the BVOR Fund is to encourage Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR) sponsorships in 2018 so that none of Canada’s resettlement capacity is lost.

The BVOR program matches Canadian sponsorship groups with refugees the UNHCR identifies as needing resettlement. Settlement costs are shared between the government of Canada and sponsors, and sponsors are also responsible for all aspects of welcoming and integrating the newcomers into their communities.

Refugee protection spaces allocated for the 2018 BVOR program cannot be used in future years.

The BVOR Fund provides funding for both start-up costs and settlement costs associated with Blended Visa Office-Referred sponsorship cases, and is available to groups that submit applications to the fund before September 17, 2018, or until the fund is exhausted prior to the deadline.

If you would like to submit an application to sponsor a BVOR case before September 17, 2018, please contact: Individuals or organizations interested in supporting the mobilization of BVOR sponsors in 2018 are able to donate at:

For more information:  Kailee Brennan at or T: (613) 562-5800 ext.4555


“I believe we are facing the biggest humanitarian crisis of our lifetime.  We need to work together to do our small part.”

  • Jim Estill, CEO, Danby Appliances

“I applaud Jim Estill for his generosity. I also applaud the thousands of others who are contributing in their own way to making  Canada’s refugee sponsorship program a success that is being recognized around the world. Individuals can and do make a difference.”

  • Frank Giustra, Founder, the Radcliffe Foundation

“Our objective is to ensure that none of the spaces Canada has committed to refugee protection in 2018 are un-used. Jim’s commitment to welcome an additional 20 families is a significant step towards our goal, and demonstrates both his generosity and his strategic leadership.”

  • Jennifer Bond, Managing Director, Refugee Hub.

“Since first learning of Jim Estill’s comprehensive refugee sponsorship and employment program two years ago, I have been inspired by what Jim and his Guelph community have accomplished.  I am excited to have him utilize the new BVOR Fund to extend these efforts and hopefully serve as a model for other communities across Canada, and around the world.”

  • Ed Shapiro, Trustee, The Shapiro Foundation


Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) Program

The Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) Program matches refugees identified for resettlement by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) with private sponsors in Canada.

  • The UNHCR identifies the refugees.
  • The Government of Canada gives up to six months of income support.
  • Private sponsors give another six months of financial support. They also give up to a year of social and emotional support.


Jim Estill

Jim Estill, CEO of Danby Appliances is a Canadian technology entrepreneur, executive, and philanthropist. Jim started a computer distribution business from the trunk of his car while in university, which grew into a $2 billion dollar company. Jim Estill is active on various boards and was a founding board member of Blackberry. Jim’s philanthropic work most recently involved sponsoring 61 Syrian refugee families. He has been recognized for his incredible contributions with appointments to the Order of Ontario and Canada.

The Radcliffe Foundation

The Radcliffe Foundation was established in 1997, by Canadian businessman and global philanthropist Frank Giustra. The Radcliffe Foundation brings an entrepreneurial approach to philanthropy to catalyze new ideas and innovations that can be scaled and shared. The Foundation supports a variety of causes on a local and international level – most recently, the foundation has become actively involved in the refugee crisis by providing humanitarian aid in Greece, along with being the founding partner in both The Ascend Collaborative and the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative.  The Radcliffe Foundation has been dedicated to improving the quality of life for those in need worldwide for two decades. More:

The Refugee Hub

The Refugee Hub was founded at the University of Ottawa in 2012. Its mission is to foster justice and human rights for refugees at local, national, and international levels through innovative research, programs and partnerships.  The Hub’s six flagship projects include the Refugee Sponsorship Support Program, which supports Canadian sponsors, and the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative, which encourages and supports the adoption of community sponsorship programs in countries outside of Canada.  More:

The Shapiro Foundation

The Shapiro Foundation, founded by Barbara and Edward Shapiro in 2001, is a U.S. charitable foundation focused on improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable populations. The foundation’s primary focus is on children, refugees, and immigrants, as well as education, global health, and humanitarian aid. Support is provided for organizations in Boston and throughout the US, as well as Canada, Israel, Greece, Rwanda, Bangladesh and Liberia. More: