Join our refugee sponsor group in Edmonton!

We are an ambitious (and growing) team of 11 people around the world committed to raising all the funds needed to bring Ahmed’s family to Canada. You do not need to give your own money to be part of our sponsor group! 

We are looking for three more sponsors living within 100km of Edmonton, Alberta to join our “Group of 5” (G5) Canadian  residents to sponsor a Syrian family. We are a fun, organized, committed group who gets things done!  We invite you to join us.

Some frequently asked questions:

Can you tell me more about the family, and show me the fundraising website? 

The family’s story is on the fundraising website (click here). I met Ahmed, the oldest son, in May 2016. We became pen pals and, through writing nearly every day, we have become family. I call him my little brother… trapped in a war zone. You will adore him and his family —kind, generous, gentle, and funny. Ahmed has kept his sense of humor despite the war around him. They will be awesome neighbors, and I wish they could be mine here in the USA. #CanadaRocks

I don’t want to sponsor, but I’d like to donate. How do I do it?

We welcome your contribution via the fundraising website (click here). Thank you!

What does it mean to privately sponsor refugees?

According to the Government of Canada website (here):

A Group of five (G5) is five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents who have arranged to sponsor a refugee living abroad to come to Canada. All of the group members must be at least 18 years of age and live or have representatives in the area where the refugee will settle.

The group must agree to give emotional and financial support to the refugee(s) for the full sponsorship period-usually one year.

Please note that we are actively raising the funds needed to bring this very special family of seven to Canada, and you are not required to contribute your own money.

What would be required of me?

G5 members help us raise funds and/or help us source furniture, home goods, and clothing before the family arrives. Non-fundraising support is just as important, and may feel like a better fit for you. Once the family arrives, the G5 helps them settle in by showing them around town, helping them learn the public transportation system, enroll in schools, obtain bank accounts and cell phones, etc. As newcomers into a foreign country, they will need help to understand the culture and get set up to be self-sufficient.

Learn more on the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program website (here). Lots of great information, including a FAQ.

How much do we need to raise?

The Canadian government estimates that it would cost $60,800 CAD ($46,000 USD) to settle this family of seven for one year in Canada. However, because we have already secured housing, and will source donated furniture and clothing for the family, the minimum we must raise is $29,550 CAD ($22,365 USD). We have added 2.9% to cover what Paypal charges to accept funds, for a total of $30,433 CAD ($23,102 USD). After one year, with some guidance and help from this sponsor group, the family will be in a position to support itself.

Learn more about costs and deductions for in-kind donations (here).

Who is already part of the group?

We are a group of Canadians and Americans committed to giving this family a new life in Canada. Jennifer Schwitzer is a Canadian citizen leading the family’s sponsor group in Edmonton, Alberta. Jennifer is a home sales consultant who just returned from spending a year traveling the world doing volunteer work, including with refugees in Greece. She has found one other person to join our group, so we are looking for three more.

The group also includes Americans Marcy Franck, who volunteered in Greek refugee camps, blogs about refugee issues for the Huffington Post, and is the communications director of a research institute at Harvard University; Ayesha Mattu, a critically acclaimed author featured in the New York Times, NPR, the BBC, Washington Post and Guardian; and Leslie Meral Schick, a former co-director of a non profit providing aid to refugees, who travels regularly to Greece and also coordinates online to help refugees in need. Vania Davidovic, a seasoned refugee sponsor in Canada, is guiding us through the process, as is the government-run Refugee Sponsorship Training Program.


We would love to hear from you if you have questions. No obligation comes from asking. Please contact Marcy Franck via Facebook ( or email at Marcella_Franck (at) harvard dot edu. Apologies for the bot-unfriendly address! The email icon at the bottom of the page works as well.