Boston, MA   |


RefugePoint advances lasting solutions for at-risk refugees and supports the humanitarian community to do the same.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Mr. Alexander Chanoff

Main address

89 South St Suite 802

Boston, MA 02111 USA

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NTEE code info

International Migration, Refugee Issues (Q71)

International Relief (Q33)

Community Health Systems (E21)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

There are more refugees than at any other time in history, living in exile for longer periods than ever before. The majority of the world’s 25.4 million refugees, who remain displaced for an average of 20 years, is forced to survive on temporary humanitarian aid in host countries where they are subject to fear, hopelessness and destitution. In recent years, fewer than 4% of refugees annually are able to return home, resettle to a safe country or legally integrate into their host country. Humanitarian response has been slow to adapt to these new realities, and funding continues to prioritize emergency aid year after year. For example, of the nearly $6BN USD budgeted for UNHCR’s refugee programs in 2018, 52.7% is directed at basic needs, and only 7% is directed to durable solutions and 9.4% to self-reliance and community empowerment. These compounding factors culminate to a broken system that fundamentally fails at its primary goal: to realize lasting solutions for refugees.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?


Resettlement involves permanently relocating refugees to a safe country where they can rebuild their lives.

Supporting refugee resettlement is a longstanding priority of RefugePoint. Since the agency was founded in 2005, we have helped over 54,000 refugees access resettlement.

In Nairobi, our resettlement program is designed to prioritize our most at-risk clients for this life-saving solution, while our global partnership with UNHCR allows us to send staff to dozens of other countries, expanding our resettlement impact by reaching thousands of refugees each year. In addition to our direct services, we use the occasion of our casework to assess, troubleshoot and improve local resettlement systems and practices. This field building, in turn, supports our global effort to promote systems change that leads to more equitable access to resettlement for those who need it most. Child Protection is a critical consideration that is at the foundation of our resettlement work, as children at-risk are very often among the refugees most in need of resettlement. Learn more about what RefugePoint Child Protection Experts do.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants

Self-reliance involves stabilizing refugees in the countries to which they have fled and helping them regain the social and economic ability to meet their essential needs and reduce dependence on assistance.

Very few of the world’s refugees are able to either: return home; legally settle in the country to which they have fled; or resettle to a third country. These are the “durable solutions” envisioned by the refugee response system, yet in recent years fewer than 4% of refugees annually have been able to access any of these. That leaves the vast majority of refugees stuck in limbo in their host countries, dependent on aid and denied key rights such as the right to work, move freely, own property and access public services.

That fact – combined with today’s scale of displacement and overstretched humanitarian budgets – requires us to think in new ways and create new programmatic responses to refugees. Helping refugees achieve a better quality of life where they are, while they await a permanent solution, is what we refer to as our “self-reliance” approach.

For too long the focus of humanitarian response has been to wait for legal solutions for refugees before addressing their need for livelihoods, dignity, well-being and resilience. There is growing recognition that it is vital to address these needs, so that refugees may rebuild their lives and become contributing members of their host communities.

Our work to improve self-reliance outcomes for refugees involves three tactics — Direct Services, Field Building, and Systems Change.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of refugees assisted with casework related to third-country solutions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program


Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success


Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

RefugePoint challenges the status quo of refugee response with innovative programs that reshape humanitarian action and advance solutions. We help at-risk refugees resettle—legally and permanently relocate—to a safe country where they can rebuild their lives. For the vast majority stuck “temporarily” in host countries, we develop programs that empower them to become self-reliant so that they can earn an income and secure their basic needs. With the flexibility of private funding, we develop and test pioneering programs. Then we train, influence and collaborate with leading service providers and the philanthropic community to scale our innovations around the world.

Since 2005, RefugePoint has worked in 81 locations across 35 countries worldwide and directly assisted over 54,000 refugees to access resettlement. We helped triple resettlement from Africa and brought attention to groups that would have gone overlooked. Since our start, more than 1.2 million refugees accessed resettlement globally, and the US reached its resettlement quota for the first time ever in 2014. Through our direct service, field-building and systems change tactics, we helped precipitate the increase in these global numbers.

Following our resettlement successes, we use similar tactics to change the traditional care-and-maintenance paradigm of refugee response to one of facilitating socioeconomic inclusion. RefugePoint developed a cutting-edge program in Nairobi, Kenya, to enable refugees to become self-reliant and live better lives while awaiting permanent solutions. The model involves laddered stabilizing services, self-guided case planning, a built-in exit strategy through livelihoods and asset transfers, all tied together through case management and a unique measurement tool for charting refugees’ progress. Our Nairobi program reaches approximately 10,000 refugees per year and works intensively with a core caseload of about 1,500. Since 2015 we have graduated more than 2,500 refugees from dependence on humanitarian assistance.

In 2016 RefugePoint and Women’s Refugee Commission created the Refugee Self-Reliance Initiative—a global collaborative made up of practitioners, governmental, UN, philanthropic, academic and private sectors. The Initiative aims to collectively reach five million refugees with self-reliance programming in five years and spark a global shift in the humanitarian response paradigm.

RefugePoint is dedicated to helping individuals who have no one else to help them. This was our founding impetus and continues to guide our work. While we help shape the humanitarian agenda and support other refugee response agencies to deliver on their goals, we keep the urgent needs and aspirations of refugees at the center of our work. Elements of our approach include:

Focusing on long-term solutions: We take aim at the biggest challenge facing refugee response and one of the biggest questions of our time. It is not, “how can we feed and shelter more refugees longer?” but rather, “what are the long-term solutions that will enable refugees to lead healthy, dignified lives and become contributing members of society again?” In other words, we deal with the solutions side of refugee response rather than the burgeoning emergency assistance side.

The stage is set for a radical revision of the refugee response sector. Recent developments, such as the United Nation’s Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, have opened the door for codifying a new dimension of humanitarian response that matches the urgency and scale of the refugee crisis. For the first time, global development goals recognize and include refugees, and the GCR has highlighted the urgency of advancing specifically third-country solutions including resettlement and self-reliance for refugees. RefugePoint is well positioned to be a key player in this shifting global conversation and is a recognized expert in resettlement and self-reliance programming.

It has been said that RefugePoint is insider enough to get vital information and outsider enough to act on it. We have staff working both inside and outside of the system, allowing us to improve the system from within while also giving us the critical distance to see where more improvement is needed. We are also recognized as thought-leaders, conveners and experimenters in the field. Our reputation has allowed us to create a unique representative role at UNHCR headquarters in Geneva and partner on creative initiatives. In 2018, RefugePoint collaborated on a pilot project that aimed to increase opportunities for refugees to participate in Canada’s economic immigration programs, expanding possibilities for a third-country labor mobility solution. We also launched in 2018 the Refugee Self-Reliance Initiative, a global movement of more than 20 organizations that aims to reach five million refugees in five years with programming that puts them on a path to self-reliance. This unprecedented collaboration includes fellow NGOs, private-sector donors and policy leaders all working towards social and economic inclusion of refugees for their own and the host country’s benefit.

Since 2005, RefugePoint has led the way for collaborative, innovative change within the refugee response sector with the aim to advance effective solutions that match the challenges of today and tomorrow. We address the need to expand access to resettlement and other third-country solutions for the most at-risk refugees while recognizing that the vast majority of refugees stuck without formal legal status in host countries need opportunities to become self-reliant. We pursue the advancement of these two solutions—resettlement and self-reliance—through direct service in Africa, through field building by supporting other organizations to accelerate and expand programs reaching refugee populations, and through systems change by influencing policy and decision-makers to drive global impact. Through direct service, we have reached more than 55,000 refugees since our founding with access to resettlement and self-reliance programming—and through field building and systems change, we have reached thousands more refugees indirectly.

In a field that is often defined by competition and silos, RefugePoint pursues a unique strategy of equilibrium change by collaborating with others to spread the innovations and evidence we have developed in the field. Critical to our model is the mobilization of the private sector, which is stepping into the refugee field in unprecedented ways. Multinational corporations and impact investors are finding ways to engage beyond corporate social responsibility. With 80% of the world’s wealth held by the private sector, it is critical that these actors be brought into a broader strategy. Essentially, RefugePoint seeks to change the business model of the global refugee field. The world’s attention is (finally) on refugees and there is recognition that they are central to our global peace and security.



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Board of directors
as of 07/06/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

George Lehner

Sheikha Ali

International Organization For Migration (Kenya)

Stephanie Dodson

Managing Director, Draper Richards Kaplan (USA)

Daniel Draper

CPA, President, Draper Tax Consulting (USA)

Elizabeth Ferris

Research Professor, Institute For The Study Of International Migration Georgetown University (USA)

Laurie T. Franz

President, Five Together Foundation (USA)

Jessica Houssian

Women Moving Millions (USA)

Barrie Landry

Trustee, Landry Family Foundation (USA)

George Lehner

Partner, Pepper Hamilton LLP (USA)

M'Imunya J. Machoki

MD (Kenya)

Samora Otieno

MD (Kenya)

Edward Shapiro

Trustee For The Shapiro Foundation And President Of Shapiro Investment Company, LLC

Colleen Tighe

Refugee Resettlement, International Grant Making And Development (Kenya)

Sandra Uwiringiyimana

Board Director

Jessica Hussein

Lorna Brett Howard

Dr. M'lmunya J. Machoki

Kitty Dukakis

Desiree Younge

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 7/19/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data