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This article was published 11/1/2019 (821 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg's Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba (IRCOM) is one of 10 organizations in Canada that is getting a boost from corporate strategists.
Vancouver-based LIFT Philanthropy Partners says it will use its business expertise and strategic support to help immigrant-serving organizations that are doing a good job, do even better at helping newcomers belong.
Statistics Canada figures show more than 1.2 million newcomers settled in Canada from 2011 to 2016. Lately, national polls have shown that nearly half of Canadians have misgivings about newcomers.
"A lot of people are misled when overarching statements are made about newcomers," said IRCOM executive director Dorota Blumczynska. She came to Canada nearly 30 years ago from Poland with her siblings and parents who spoke no English.
The media will focus on the one newcomer who is struggling but never mention the other 999 who are succeeding, said Blumczynska, who noted that she and all of her siblings are successful. And so is IRCOM, which she runs.
It was chosen as one of 10 organizations that have "demonstrated positive impact for newcomers in communities across Canada and, importantly, want to do more," LIFT announced this week.
In 2018, LIFT put out a call for proposals from federally funded organizations that serve newcomers with a social purpose — those that do more than just housing or pre-employment training and have a more holistic approach to integration, said Blumczynska.
IRCOM was the only one chosen in Manitoba.
The non-profit organization, which has two transitional housing apartment blocks, offers a vast array of supports and services to help newcomers move towards "emotional integration," Blumczynska said.
That happens when people have a voice and can contribute to the local and national discourse, she said. "On the flip side, we want members of the community to come into IRCOM and understand someone's journey, the human aspects of migration and what it means to belong and develop friendships," she said.
"Even if we're doing all the right things, if the broader society continues to have reservations about what it is newcomers bring, and what it is refugees have to contribute to the economy, society and Canada as a whole, then our work is not complete."
IRCOM wants to reach out to people "who aren't familiar with the work we do, and have a willingness and curiosity to to expand their understanding and become allies in the work we do with a focus of building community cohesion."
In the coming months, staff at IRCOM will meet with LIFT strategists. The program, dubbed Better Beginnings, Bigger Impact, is funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. LIFT did not respond Friday when asked how much federal funding the program receives.
After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.