Empowering Boston’s Refugees to Fulfill the American Dream

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JVS Economic Opportunity Forum

On World Refugee Day, we welcomed business, government, philanthropy, workforce development, and Jewish community leaders for our Spring Economic Opportunity Forum.

We were thrilled to announce the launch of our new initiative, Together We Rise, which will help refugees living in Boston move from entry-level jobs to family-sustaining careers. This is a 3-year initiative, with the goal of reaching 1,000 refugees. We are grateful to CJP for launching this initiative with us, and to The Shapiro Foundation and Larry and Atsuko Fish for making lead gifts to this project.

Barry Shrage, CJP President, spoke about the importance of the Jewish community supporting this initiative and standing up for immigrants and refugees. Casey Barrett, WeWork Hospitality Manager, emphasized the benefits of hiring refugees and WeWork’s commitment to providing them with family-sustaining jobs. Jessica Cirone, JVS Director of Refugee Services, discussed the enthusiastic response of the refugee community to the launch of Together We Rise, and Jennis Matilde Perez Vazquez inspired us with her commitment to providing a better life for her daughter.

Our Partners

Thank you to our co-hosts, Combined Jewish Philanthropies and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. This forum series is sponsored by the Davis Family Charitable Foundation.

Take Action on Behalf of Refugees

Here are some concrete steps you can take to help immigrants and refugees today.


JVS depends on volunteers to help our refugee and immigrant clients learn English and prepare to enter the workforce. You can volunteer to conduct mock interviews with our students, serve as a tutor, or become a classroom assistant. For more information about volunteer opportunities, please visit our volunteer page to learn more.

Speak Out

Contact your Massachusetts House representatives and ask them to support provisions in the 2019 state budget that would provide basic protections for immigrants. Read this Boston Globe editorial to learn more about the bill, and call Speaker DeLeo (617-722-2500), Chairman Sánchez (617-722-2990), and your individual representative (click here to find your representative) and ask them to support this legislation.


Make a difference in the lives of refugees living in Boston by supporting JVS. Your gift to JVS will empower refugees to join the American workforce, find family-sustaining jobs, and feel welcome in our city. Click here to make a donation today.

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