About Us

Helping people survive and recover from forced displacement

Our StoryWHY WE DO WHAT WE DOOVERVIEWCore ValuesTeamFinancialsBoard
Tom Albinson with a refugee pastor in Dzaleka refugee camp, Malawi. Photographer: T.Barnes

Our Story

IAFR was established in 2009 in response to the need for an international Christian nonprofit agency devoted to the mission of helping people survive and recover from forced displacement. We do this in partnership with local churches, refugees churches and the church-at-large.

At the time of our founding, we did not know that the world was on the brink of an unprecedented refugee crisis that would play a defining role in the 21st Century.

We were established for such a time as this. Together with the church, we are a force for hope, healing and recovery in the world.

Why We Do What We Do

The work of IAFR flows naturally out of our relationship with Jesus Christ who taught us that the greatest of all commandments is to love God and our neighbor.*

God is deeply concerned for the welfare of orphans, widows, and migrants - including refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced people, the most vulnerable and marginalized of migrants.**

It is God’s love for forcibly displaced people that fuels our mission. Because we believe God is actively engaged in our world, and has promised that evil, suffering, and death do not get the last word, we serve with hope.

We seek to be a tangible expression of God’s love for those who have been forced to flee their homes and homelands due to war, violence, persecution, and gross violations of human rights.

We believe that refugee churches, churches in local communities, and the Church at large, have an important contribution to make when it comes to helping people survive and recover from forced displacement, while affirming their dignity.

And so we fix our hearts on Jesus Christ as we partner with God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, confident that the day is coming when the will of God will be done on earth as it is in heaven.***

*See Matthew 22:37-39
**See Deuteronomy 10:18-19 and Leviticus 19:33-34
***See Matthew 6:9-10

Furthermore, we serve forcibly displaced people in the spirit of the following documents:

Overview

Click below to scroll through an overview of our work today. If you find it helpful, please click the "Appreciate" button at the end. Thanks!

2022 IAFR Annual Report

Core Values

Our underlying convictions determine how we pursue our mission of helping people survive and recover from forced displacement.

Refugee Churches

We collaborate with refugee churches.

IAFR recognizes that refugee churches are uniquely situated to identify the needs of forcibly displaced people. They are well aware of the challenges and opportunities related to their context and often have clear vision and a compelling sense of mission. IAFR looks for opportunities to help refugee churches accomplish their mission.

Long-term Relationships

We establish and sustain long-term relationships of trust.

Relationships of trust form the basis for all that we do. IAFR develops long lasting relationships with refugee churches and like-minded partners from which projects come and go. Our commitment to these relationships continues long after projects are completed.

Collaboration

We collaborate with others, including refugees.

The challenges and needs facing forcibly displaced people are overwhelming. No single agency has all it takes to meet these needs. We compliment existing ministries and partner with refugees as well as like-minded churches and agencies, believing that we can accomplish more together than we can on our own.

Host Country Economy

We respect and strengthen the economies of the countries within which we serve.

IAFR ministries and projects draw from resources available in the host country whenever possible. We seek to strengthen local economies and avoid creating dependencies upon foreign economies.

Local Churches

We partner with local churches.

As followers of Jesus are to be marked by hospitality to foreigners, local churches are called to be communities that welcome refugees. Their knowledge of the local language, culture, resources, and laws make them well-suited to helping displaced people integrate into their new society. The refugee crisis desperately needs churches to show up in ways that further hope, healing, and reconciliation in the world.

Reciprocity

We acknowledge that refugees bless us even as we seek to bless them.

Refugees are more than people in need. They are among the world's most resilient and resourceful people. Yes, we need to help them, but we also have much to learn from them. IAFR ministries promotes mutual blessing in all we pursue.

Respect & Dignity

We demonstrate respect and affirm dignity.

We are committed to demonstrating respect and affirming the dignity of forcibly displaced people. IAFR publications and media will represent them in honest, respectful and non-exploitive ways. We share IAFR publications, photos, videos, etc. with those featured in order to confirm that they feel respected and appropriately represented.

Meet the Team

Listed alphabetically by first name

Andrew Sandeen

Northern Colorado Team

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Andy Pollock
Andy Pollock

Sarajevo Ministry Leader

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April Palmbos
April Palmbos

Director of Operations

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Bethany Ringdal
Bethany Ringdal

Mpls/St. Paul Ministry Leader

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Brett and Becca McNew
Brett & Becca McNew

Lille France Team

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Bri Bulman

Sarajevo Team

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Chong Bee Vang

VP of Advancement

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Dawn Kilian

VP of Staff Development

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Dr. George Kalantzis
Dr. George Kalantzis

Senior Fellow of Theology

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Elisa Walt

Director of Mobilization

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Ella Skiens
Ella Skiens

Sarajevo Team

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Ilir Cami
Ilir Cami

Ukraine Response Ministry Leader

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Jacob Tornga
Jacob Tornga

US Regional Leader

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Josh and Jen Levin
Josh Levin

Mpls/St. Paul Team

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Kate Cami
Kate Cami

Assistant to the President

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Laura Longino
Laura Longino

Northern Colorado Team

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Paul Sydnor
Paul Sydnor

Lille Ministry Leader

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Rachael Lofgren

Communications Coordinator

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Rachel Uthmann
Rachel Uthmann

Director of Training

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Rev. J.P. Gatera
Rev. J.P. Gatera

Refugee Church Consultant

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SJ Holsteen
SJ Holsteen

Lille, France Team

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Sarah Miller
Sarah Miller

VP of International Ministries

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Sarah Pollock

Refugee Education Curriculum Developer

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Shahrazad Mohamed
Shahrazad Mohamed

Winnipeg Ministry

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Shanna Doughty
Shanna Doughty

Northern Colorado Ministry Leader

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Sharon Tonzo
Sharon Tonzo

Atlanta Ministry Leader

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Tim Barnes
Tim Barnes

Executive Vice President

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Tom Albinson
Tom Albinson

Founder and President

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Whitney Gerdes
Whitney Gerdes

Refugee Education Specialist

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Financials

We are grateful for the generous donations of our financial partners that make the unique ministry of IAFR possible.

As a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, IAFR is committed to financial integrity and transparency. IAFR serves in compliance with all federal, state and IRS regulations. Our most recent Annual Report and IRS 990 Report are available for download below.

2024 IAFR Report cover image

IAFR Annual Report

Click Here to view a touchscreen friendly version. Or click the Download button below to get a PDF version of the IAFR Annual Report that includes Financials for FY2023.

*Updated 4 June 2024.

IRS 990 Report

Download a copy of the most recent IAFR IRS 990 Report (FY2023).

Independent Audit

IAFR recognizes that our financial integrity is of paramount importance to our missionaries, financial partners and ministry partners. To help ensure financial integrity, IAFR submits itself to an annual independent audit.

The IAFR Board of Directors

*Advisory Board Members

Stephen Freed
Stephen FReed, Chair

St. Paul, Minnesota

Rev. Brian Doten
Rev. Brian Doten, Vice Chair

Maple Grove, Minnesota

Stan Diddams
Stan Diddams, tREASURER

Seattle, Washington

Kate Makosky
Kate Makosky

St. Paul, Minnesota

Kristel Lehner
Kristel Lehner

St. Paul, Minnesota

Van Chaounlamountry
Van Chounlamountry

Mineapolis, Minnesota

Tom Albinson
Tom Albinson, PRESIDENT

Plymouth, Minnesota

Tim Barnes
*Tim Barnes, EXECUTIVE VP

Peoria, Illinois

Rev. J.P. Gatera
*rev. J.P. Gatera

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Shahrazad Mohamed
*Shahrazad Mohamed

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Thanksgiving

We want to give our refugee friends an opportunity to express their gratitude to all who participate in and support the work of IAFR in the world.

We created this video of thanks for IAFR's 10th Anniversary Celebration in 2019. Listen to our friends as they express their thanks in their own languages from refugee camps in Africa and European cities.

IAFR is a member of the ICVA Network.

IAFR | 1400 Van Buren St. NE, Suite 200-244| Minneapolis, MN 55413 | info@iafr.org | 612.200.0321

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