Refugee & Immigrant Services and Empowerment

aka RISE   |   Portland, OR   |  www.riseNW.org
This organization has not appeared on the IRS Business Master File in a number of months. It may have merged with another organization or ceased operations.

Mission

Refugee & Immigrant Services and Empowerment is the first nonprofit to promote justice for refugees living with disabilities by providing legal representation, advocacy, and education for the broader community.

Ruling year info

2016

Executive Director

Cheryl Coon

Board Chair

Israa Hasani

Main address

1020 SW Taylor, Suite 500

Portland, OR 97205 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

81-1735941

NTEE code info

Ethnic/Immigrant Services (P84)

Disabled Persons' Rights (R23)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Refugee Disability Benefits Oregon (RDBO) works to achieve justice for refugees and immigrants, now in Oregon, who are disabled as a result of war, violence, trauma, torture, and inadequate access to nutrition and care.
Consider:
• Before being forced to flee, refugees may experience severe violence, both physical and mental, both at home and in camps.
• Those who flee and are not confined to camps are often separated from family members, robbed, witness torture or killing, and endure harsh environmental conditions.
• After a prolonged stay in a camp, many immigrants face overwhelming obstacles in resettlement, including the challenge of adaptation to a new place, learning a new language, and coping with unfamiliar bureaucracy.
• Refugees who come with advanced education find that their work opportunities are limited to menial occupations.
• Pervasive ignorance and bias in the United States further frustrates their efforts to achieve justice and equity.

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?

Community Education

Education and training in cultural competence

Population(s) Served

We have a pending class action lawsuit to seek restitution for Afghan and Iraqi nationals who assisted the U.S. military as interpreters and after becoming disabled during that effort and coming to the United States, were illegally denied disability benefits.

Population(s) Served

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.

Percentage of cases won at or before hearing

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

No target populations selected

Related Program

Legal advocacy on behalf of refugees

Context Notes

In 2016, we won benefits for every client whose case proceeded to a hearing; in 2017, we won benefits for 90% of our clients, the majority of which were won without the need to wait for a hearing.

Total number of volunteer hours contributed to the organization

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

No target populations selected

Context Notes

We have welcomed the help of many skilled volunteers to do our important work!

Number of new clients within the past 12 months

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

No target populations selected

Related Program

Legal advocacy on behalf of refugees

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Charting impact

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

RDBO works toward a future in which:
a) Refugees and immigrants with different abilities are safe, accepted and supported by their communities; as a result, they are empowered to advocate for themselves and able to obtain the help they need;
b) Members of refugee and immigrant communities understand and are able to navigate the disability benefit system, which results in securing just treatment for their members with different abilities;
c) Refugees and immigrants with different abilities understand the choice between disability benefits and vocational training and are able to make informed choices as to which to seek, thereby increasing their likelihood of success;
d) Healthcare providers, social security decision-makers, judges, and the broader community have greater cultural competence and a realistic understanding of refugee and immigrant experiences, which results in more just actions and decisions;
e) Institutions and public policy makers credit, value and justly serve refugees and immigrants with different abilities and their communities because they trust RDBO's integrity, respect our knowledge, and partner with us to improve the lives of refugees and immigrants with different abilities.

RDBO promotes justice for refugees and immigrants with different abilities through:
• Legal representation enabling refugees and immigrants to obtain the federal disability benefits for which they are qualified or if they are not eligible, connecting them with a network of vocational counselors who are culturally sensitive and interested in working with refugees and immigrants;
• Training for refugees and immigrants, their families and their communities to empower them to understand and support refugees and immigrants with different abilities as they seek healthcare, explore options ranging from disability benefits to vocational opportunities and seek services in the community;
• Training healthcare providers, social security decision-makers, and judges who interact with refugees and immigrants in cultural competency and understanding of the refugee and immigrant experience;
• Advocacy for public policy changes needed to ensure just treatment for refugees and immigrants with different abilities.

Our executive director works full-time on education and advocacy. Our staff attorney focuses on individual client representation. Our client manager works closely with disabled refugees and their families and communities. Each of our board members, from nine diverse nations, is deeply involved in the Portland refugee community and leverages his/her own networks to achieve our goals. Our Board also leads our programmatic subcommittees, in which we are: (1) developing Community Navigators to educate and assist refugees and their communities; (2) creating a network of culturally sensitive vocational counselors to assist disabled refugees; (3) educating healthcare providers and the judiciary in cultural competence with regard to diverse refugee communities.

Although we are only 18 months old, we have already achieved many noteworthy successes: (1) we have obtained approvals for 85% of our clients and at the earliest stages of the process, sparing them a long wait without the resources to survive; (2) we have negotiated successfully with the County to ensure that there will be no fee charged for a healthcare provider to consult with us and provide supportive documentation; (3) we have held back an attempt to change Oregon law, which currently provides free medical records to disability applicants, to a system in which these marginalized and very low-income individuals would have to pay to obtain their own records. We have achieved widespread recognition in the refugee resettlement organizations and in refugee communities themselves, of the services we offer and the goals we seek to achieve. The number of individuals seeking our help has tripled since we first opened our doors.

Financials

Refugee & Immigrant Services and Empowerment
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Refugee & Immigrant Services and Empowerment

Board of directors
as of 4/29/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Bernal Cruz-Munoz

Chhabi Koirala

Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization

R. Bernal Cruz-Munoz

Unaccompanied Children Program through the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Victoria Libov

Work Systems

Cheryl Coon

Refugee Disability Benefits Oregon

Nora Coon

Oregon Supreme Court

Javid Ghorashian

Retired

Teo Cho

Louisiana-Pacific Corp

Bassel Beitinjaneh, M.D.

Faiza Mohammed

OHSU IPP

Assefash Melles

Lutheran Community Services NW

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? Yes
  • 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? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No