Subject Area:
Refugee Support
Donor Partners:
Lyna Lam & Chris Larsen
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
  • GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
Competition status: Registration Closed; Finalists Selected

Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award

Launched on January 29, 2020, the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award is a $12 million global competition to fund a solution that secures a brighter, more durable future for refugees. The registration period is now closed, and finalists have been selected.


On December 3, 2020, five finalists were announced for the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award. Selected from a pool of 71 applicants, the finalists represent projects focused on the realities faced by displaced people and refugees, and a determination to find and fund bold solutions that will achieve significant social change. One of the finalists will be selected as the recipient of the $12 million Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award in March 2021.

The finalists are now featured in our Bold Solutions Network, where we match donors with nonprofits and social enterprises whose solutions to significant social challenges were highly ranked after rigorous evaluation in one of our competitions.

The finalists are listed below in alphabetical order (follow links to their Bold Solutions Network profile pages for more information):

  1. Asylum Access: In partnership with refugee-led organizations Basmeh & Zeitooneh in Lebanon, RAIC in Indonesia, StARS in Egypt, RefugiadosUnidos in Colombia, and YARID in Uganda, Asylum Access will build the capacity of other refugee-led organizations to scale up their influence and position refugees to lead solutions for their communities.
  2. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service: New American Cities provides an opportunity to rebuild for both new Americans and the cities they call home. Through economic empowerment, social mobility, and the promotion of diverse, inclusive communities, LIRS will create an infrastructure that allows both refugees and their cities to thrive.
  3. Southern New Hampshire University’s Global Education Movement: Through the Global Education Movement, refugees across six countries will learn skills, earn accredited bachelor’s degrees, and connect to meaningful, well-compensated careers as agents of change in their communities.
  4. Talent Beyond Boundaries: Talent Beyond Boundaries connects skilled refugees to international employers, and advocates for refugees and other displaced people to be able to move internationally for work, leveraging their own skills to move their families towards secure futures.
  5. Village Enterprise: Village Enterprise, in partnership with Mercy Corps and IDinsight, plans to scale and evaluate “DREAMS for Refugees”, a program to equip refugees in Uganda and Ethiopia with the skills, supports, resources, and connections they need to become successful entrepreneurs.

About the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award

The Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award was launched in January 2020 with funding from philanthropists Chris Larsen and Lyna Lam, and the Sea Grape Foundation, and support from ICONIQ Impact and Lever for Change to identify actionable ideas that will transform the lives of refugees and displaced people. The five finalists present promising solutions that will not only improve the well-being of refugees in the short term but can also be scaled up to help secure a durable future for refugees in the long term.

The Award was inspired by Lyna Lam’s own experiences. In the 1980s, the Lam family emigrated from Vietnam to the United States, arriving with limited resources. A loan from their local Vietnamese community helped them start a business and achieve stability. Lyna is now the founder and Executive Director of the A Khmer Buddhist Foundation, a nonprofit that works with the Cambodian American community and other refugee groups. Lyna’s husband, Chris Larsen, is an angel investor, serial entrepreneur, Executive Chairman of Ripple and has co-founded and previously served as CEO of several other innovative companies.

The Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award will award $12 million to scale an innovative solution including a powerful, scalable, and innovative strategy that strengthens existing efforts and resulting in transformational, long-term change.

The Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award is the first in a series of expected grant competitions facilitated by Lever for Change’s partnership with ICONIQ Impact, ICONIQ Capital’s platform for collaborative philanthropy. In addition to the $10 million provided by the Larsen-Lam family, an additional $2 million was contributed by the Sea Grape Foundation, a family foundation focusing on making catalytic grants across scientific discovery, gender equality, human rights and the environment.

The Award finalists hold some of the most promising ideas to improve the present and future lives of refugees. We hope that this Award inspires other philanthropists to join our efforts to fund all five of these critical organizations. Interested donors may contact Dana Rice, Vice President of Philanthropy at Lever for Change.

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