2022 Grants Challenge

Empowering Refugees and Displaced Communities Starting Anew

Founded by refugees and women of color, for the places we live and the communities we serve. The Tiyya Foundation exists to provide economic and educational opportunities for families of refugees, immigrants, and indigenous communities. Through our work, we create a community that cultivates the fruits of self-sufficiency, ultimately helping our program participants overcome obstacles to actively participate in society. Our goal is to continue to provide sustainable support that benefits refugees long after initial government support ends.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Immigrant and Refugee Support

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Tiyya is changing the narrative. We believe that those who survive displacement are the true alchemists creating life after loss. We focus on the individual refugee, with the goal to celebrate their story. We encourage them to see their life experiences as a form of expertise to be shared through storytelling, recipes, or participating in community gatherings, ultimately achieving economic mobility and community in the U.S. Tiyya has served 1,000+ families in CA and is currently working with 200 families locally, half of which arrived due to the recent turmoil in Afghanistan. As the focus remains on Ukraine and we prepare for an influx of refugees from the region, it is critical that support continues to resettle the many Afghan refugees still facing challenges and requiring assistance. Many continue to live in motels, as finding housing is the biggest issue. In addition, asylum seekers remain the most underserved population in LA.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Tiyya provides comprehensive support for refugee families by focusing its programming on four cohorts – Mothers and Women, Children, Economic Advancement, and Community Development. This allows the foundation to offer tangible ways to activate local and sustainable support systems for families starting anew in our community. In addition to a dedicated Housing Specialist tackling the current refugee housing crisis in Los Angeles, Tiyya has a dedicated Career Placement Specialist working with local employers to place clients directly into jobs. We prioritize serving women to address gender economic equity, but no one is turned away from services. Unique to Tiyya, the career placement staff work with clients not just to find entry level employment, but to become recertified into the professions they held in their home countries such as lawyers and doctors. Tiyya’s social enterprise, Flavors from Afar (in Little Ethiopia), offers refugee chefs the opportunity to develop their skills, showcase traditional cuisine, and connect with the local community. Additionally, forty percent of proceeds go towards sustaining Tiyya’s programming.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

When refugees resettle in Los Angeles, they bring with them diversity and new skills, helping to enrich one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Most of the clients we serve have left everything they’ve ever known behind, including close family members. To start anew in a country, unfamiliar with the culture and language can be incredibly isolating and feel impossible. The Tiyya Foundation embraces the strength and beauty of those different histories to build spaces and experiences where all discover belonging – that’s what sets us apart. Our specifically designed programs like the youth soccer team, culinary academy, Tea & Tots for mothers and children, and housing program – all assist our clients in building the necessary new relationships in their new community, allowing them to plant roots for a successful and sustainable life in Los Angeles and beyond.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Evaluation at Tiyya varies program to program with some constants. All programs are evaluated quarterly by program staff with Director of Operations-led evaluation every six months. All data is received and organized through Salesforce allowing us to keep a thorough record of our quantitative impact. Each program utilizes multiple tools to survey program participants through formal client satisfaction evaluations that occur annually to gather our qualitative analysis. We evaluate progress towards our program goals through outputs identified in our program logic model to assess participant achievement. Last year, we completed an organization-wide needs assessment that identified exactly how best to serve our clients in this dynamic environment.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 776

Indirect Impact: 2,000