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November 17, 2021

ECAR Wins Prestigious J.M.K. Innovation Prize

The J.M. Kaplan Fund has announced the results of its nationwide search to identify and elevate transformative, early-stage projects in the fields of social justice, the environment, and heritage conservation. Included among the 2021 prize awardees is Every Campus A Refuge, an organization founded by Guilford College English Professor Diya Abdo.

Read about all of the 2021 award winners.

Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR) was founded in 2015 to call on every college and university in the world to partner with agencies to house refugees on campus grounds and assist them in resettlement. Since January 2016, Guilford has hosted 66 refugees (29 of them children between the ages of 10 months and 17 years) in campus houses and apartments.

“It is so exciting to be receiving this recognition at this pivotal moment in our country’s history when we, as a nation, are grappling with how to support thousands of Afghan refugees,” Diya says.

Watch a video from Diya on the J.M.K. website.

“Every Campus A Refuge offers a potentially game-changing answer in a category of critical need,” says Amy L. Freitag, executive director of the J.M. Kaplan Fund. “Like their fellow J.M.K. Innovation Prize awardees, they’re building collective power that promises to reshape communities in more just and equitable ways. We can’t wait to see how their pathbreaking ideas develop.”

Each awardee receives $150,000 over three years, plus $25,000 in technical assistance funds, for a total award of $175,000. Awardees also join a resource network designed to support them through the challenges of a startup organization, participating in twice-yearly convenings and benefitting from peer learning, mentoring, and strategic counsel.

“With exposure and funding from the J.M. Kaplan Innovation Prize, we want to scale up ECAR as quickly as possible,” Diya adds, “and mobilize dozens of colleges and universities to host Afghan refugees on campus grounds and support them in their resettlement.”

“These 10 J.M.K. Innovation Prize awardees are incredible standouts, and they are just a fraction of the inspiring ideas shared by leaders of trailblazing nonprofit and mission-driven for-profit organizations in all 50 states,” says Peter W. Davidson, the chairman of the J.M. Kaplan Fund Board of Trustees.

Established in 1945 by philanthropist and businessman Jacob Merrill Kaplan, the fund is committed to visionary innovation. It has devoted $280 million to propel fledgling efforts concerning civil liberties, human rights, the arts, and the conservation and enhancement of the built and natural worlds.

Learn more about ECAR on its website, including how to follow the organization on social media and how to give. Visit the J.M. Kaplan website to learn more about the fund and all prize winners.