IRIS-Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services
235 Nicoll Street
2nd Floor
New Haven CT 06511
Contact Information
Address 235 Nicoll Street
2nd Floor
New Haven, CT 06511-
Telephone (203) 562-2095 x
Fax 203-562-1798
E-mail info@irisct.org
Web and Social Media
Mission
The mission of IRIS is to enable refugees and other displaced people to establish new lives, regain hope, and contribute to the vitality of Connecticut’s communities. Refugees are men, women and children who fled their countries of origin due to persecution on the basis of their race, nationality, religious belief, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
 
According to international law, refugees are those who have a "well-founded fear of persecution" and are unable to return to their countries without risking violence to themselves and their families, including torture and death. They are granted special immigration status according to international law. Each year the US government invites a small number of them- 70,000 in FY14- to start new lives, or "resettle," in this country. The front-line work of resettlement is done by local agencies like IRIS. IRIS works intensively with refugees, particularly during the first year of their resettlement, to help them build lives of their own choosing in the US. IRIS also serves the larger immigrant community through its Food Pantry.  Through outreach, advocacy, and public events, IRIS educates the community about the refugee experience and issues of national and international importance that touch all of our lives.
At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 1982
Former Names
IRM- Interfaith Refugee Ministry
Organization's type of tax exempt status Public Supported Charity
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years Yes
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Chris George
Board Chair The Reverend Peter Bushnell
Board Chair Company Affiliation Episcopal Church in Connecticut
Financial Summary
 
Projected Revenue $1,422,793.00
Projected Expenses $1,495,472.00
Statements
Mission
The mission of IRIS is to enable refugees and other displaced people to establish new lives, regain hope, and contribute to the vitality of Connecticut’s communities. Refugees are men, women and children who fled their countries of origin due to persecution on the basis of their race, nationality, religious belief, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
 
According to international law, refugees are those who have a "well-founded fear of persecution" and are unable to return to their countries without risking violence to themselves and their families, including torture and death. They are granted special immigration status according to international law. Each year the US government invites a small number of them- 70,000 in FY14- to start new lives, or "resettle," in this country. The front-line work of resettlement is done by local agencies like IRIS. IRIS works intensively with refugees, particularly during the first year of their resettlement, to help them build lives of their own choosing in the US. IRIS also serves the larger immigrant community through its Food Pantry.  Through outreach, advocacy, and public events, IRIS educates the community about the refugee experience and issues of national and international importance that touch all of our lives.
Background

In 1982, the Episcopal Church in Connecticut decided to begin welcoming refugees, reflecting the longstanding history of faith communities worldwide providing safe havens for refugees. Through the Episcopal Social Services, it created the organization that is known today as IRIS- Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services, which welcomed its first refugee family in December 1982.

IRIS is a non-sectarian, federally recognized refugee resettlement agency affiliated with two national organizations that work directly with the US Department of State and Office of Refugee Resettlement at the US Department of Health and Human Services to welcome and serve refugee admissions: Church World Service and Episcopal Migration Ministries. Since 1982, IRIS has resettled more than 5,000 refugee women, men and children.

In 2014, recognizing IRIS’s desire for independence and self-governance, IRIS and The Episcopal Church in Connecticut agreed that going forward IRIS’s purpose will best be served as an organization fully independent from, but in a continued relationship with, The Episcopal Church in Connecticut. In early 2015, IRIS applied to become an independent 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.

Each year, the US government admits approximately 70,000 refugees; IRIS welcomes about 220 of them to Greater New Haven. IRIS’s current clients come from several countries including Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Eritrea, and Sudan. They range in age from a few months to over 70 years. According to federal law, refugees coming to the US must be placed with a local agency like IRIS. Upon arrival, refugees face the daunting tasks of adjusting to this country, enrolling their children in school, learning English, taking care of their health needs, and finding jobs. IRIS collaborates closely with refugees throughout their resettlement process, at least until they reach financial self-sufficiency and sometimes longer.

Initially, IRIS meets the basic needs of refugees, including furnished housing, food, clothing, medicine, and other essentials. IRIS provides intensive, culturally competent case management; English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) instruction for adults, with an on-site Early Learning Program for toddlers; educational and youth services; health care coordination; employment services; immigration legal services; and a weekly food pantry for refugees and other immigrants.

Impact

Stronger Case Management

In order to improve our services to refugees and keep up with the increasing number of new arrivals, IRIS strengthened its Case Management department by hiring a new Director and a new Case Manager for clients with mental health needs. IRIS developed new ways of providing cultural orientation to refugees. We expanded our cultural orientation program and recruited a group of volunteers called Cultural Companions, who work with individuals and families over a longer period of time helping them adjust to their new communities.

Refugees are becoming employed sooner

IRIS has two key strategies to improve refugee employment: 1) Begin employment preparation and the job search process very soon after a refugee’s arrival. 2) Place a greater emphasis on outreach– finding and cultivating appropriate employment opportunities. The result: the percentage of refugees becoming employed within their first six months in the US—which had previously fluctuated between 25% and 60%—rose to 70% from October 2013 to October 2014.

Increased Public Awareness

Through a wide range of speaking engagements, meetings, and events IRIS directly reached a total of at least 3,200 people. Staff gave presentations at colleges, churches, synagogues, and mosques. IRIS spoke at the World Affairs Council, Connecticut Immigrant Day, and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. Every day, at least 10 volunteers serve at the IRIS office. At least 160 new volunteers joined in 2014. Our Facebook page attracted 333 new followers. IRIS’s email list grew by 962.

Goals

  • Renovate and move into a larger, more efficient, and accessible office space.
  • 85%  of employable refugees will be working full time within six months of their arrival.
  • Educate the public about the refugee experience and resettlement.  Increase amount and diversity of private funding.
  • Strengthen governance and complete the process of becoming independent.
Needs
  • Fundraise. In order to maintain high standards and program breadth, respond to increasing client needs, and rebuild its financial reserves, IRIS needs to strengthen its fundraising capacity and continue to attract new supporters in the community.
  • Improve support for staff. Refugee resettlement is stressful work and it never ends. Demands on staff are compounded by increasing numbers of refugees and limited resources. It is easy for staff to burn out. IRIS needs to promote staff wellness, set limits on the work, and improve organizational policies and procedures.
  • Complete transition to become an independent organization. In 1982 IRIS was created by the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. In 2014 IRIS and the Episcopal Church in Connecticut agreed that going forward IRIS’s purpose will best be served as an organization fully independent from, but in a continued relationship with, The Episcopal Church in Connecticut. In early 2015 IRIS filed Articles of Incorporation with the State of Connecticut, and will soon apply to the IRS to become an independent 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.
  • Develop the Board. Recent departures brought the number of board members down from 15 to 11. New members—with interest and skill in fundraising—need to be recruited.
CEO Statement

A refugee from Iraq who arrived in New Haven years ago was asked, “Of all the things you needed when you arrived in the US—housing, employment, education, food, healthcare—what did you need the most?”

His answer: “Respect.”

In the ten years I have been the director of IRIS, I have worked with over 1,000 refugees. The nationalities have changed, programs have grown, services improved, staff have come and gone, the challenges and frustrations and joys raise and lower our spirits, and we never have enough money to do what we need to do. But, through it all, we have treated refugees – our newest Americans – with respect.

Welcoming persecuted people to the United States and helping them start new lives is our nation's oldest and most noble tradition. The basic goal of refugee resettlement is to save lives. The bonus, for Americans, is that refugees enrich our lives. Refugees bring remarkable skills and experiences. They help to internationalize our perspective on the world, and they strengthen our economy.

Visit the IRIS office and you’ll meet these new Americans and get a feel for the international and respectful environment we’ve created. My colleagues are incredibly dedicated, and despite the pressures and stress, they are always professional and polite. Everyone is culturally sensitive. You will hear several different languages spoken and see a colorful array of clothing. After you’re offered coffee or tea you might hear me deliver a pep talk to refugees. “If you want Americans to respect you,” I have said more than 100 times, “You need to work hard.”

Greater New Haven is a welcoming community, partly because it respects diversity and appreciates hard work. But the cost of living is high and jobs for refugees with limited English are scarce.

In order to successfully resettle refugees in Connecticut, IRIS needs to reach out to the general public, raise private funds, and attract a wide range of support from volunteers and organizations. But, as I explain to our refugee clients, “I cannot stand up in front of a group – whether it’s a Rotary Club or a house of worship – and ask people to help you, unless you are helping yourself.”

Refugee resettlement is a tough self-help program that demands a lot from the refugees, people who have already been through a lot just to get here. Starting a new life in a new country will always be a struggle, but with broad support from the Greater New Haven community, IRIS can provide high quality services and treat refugees with the respect they deserve.

Board Chair Statement

The most important recent initiative involving the Board of Directors has been the ongoing work to make IRIS its own nonprofit organization, independent from its parent organization, Episcopal Social Services, a part of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. Independence has been a strategic vision for several years, and it comes as a culmination of a ten-year process that has moved IRIS toward greater inclusiveness and a stronger presence in the community. Board members have taken the lead in writing new bylaws and defining the terms of the ongoing relationship between IRIS and the Episcopal Church in Connecticut.

Over the past four years, the Board has diversified its membership. One of our priorities for 2015 and 2016 is to add new members. Two years ago the board had grown to 15 members, but recent departures including geographic moves have reduced the board to 11 members. We plan to add at least three members during the next two years.

The work of IRIS continues to be a source of pride, satisfaction, and excitement for me on a personal level. For over three decades, I and congregations served by me have participated in the work of welcoming and helping to resettle refugees in Connecticut. Many years ago, my current parish sponsored a family of five persons from Kosovo through IRIS. As we came to know about them and their extended family back home, we realized that they had left a family business and network of support behind in coming to the United States. They were glad to be here, but missed everyone and everything they had left behind. Despite a good start in Connecticut, and employment that was able to sustain them, when the opportunity arose, they opted to return home. They were sad to leave us, and we missed them greatly.

Several years later, we were surprised and overjoyed to discover that this family decided, when their children were old enough to pursue higher education, to move back to Connecticut as immigrants. It was a result of their experiences as refugees that them that they were persuaded to return to the United States in the best interests of their children, and the opportunities they would find here.

I continue to experience refugees as wonderfully adaptive people with strong survivor mentalities. They are some of the most ambitious and hard-working people I have ever known. Refugee resettlement always is one of the most satisfying causes I can imagine investing in, and I am proud of and humbled by the amazing commitment of our staff, volunteers, Board members, and donors.

Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Human Services / Ethnic/Immigrant Services
Secondary Organization Category Public & Societal Benefit /
Areas Served
New Haven
West Haven
East Haven
The IRIS offices are in the East Rock neighborhood of New Haven, and many refugees are resettled there, as well as in other neighborhoods, including the Hill, Edgewood, and Fair Haven.  Some refugees are also resettled in West Haven, East Haven, and Hamden. Occasionally, when community groups join with IRIS in co-sponsoring refugee families, a few refugees may be resettled in other CT towns, most recently Guilford, Milford, Brookfield, and West Hartford.
CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments
Programs
Description Case management lies at the heart of IRIS programs and services.  Every refugee family is assigned a case manager to coordinate basic needs-- including housing, food, clothing, and public benefits--and help the family craft plans for its future.  At IRIS, case managers are the first point of contact for every refugee and play an important role in easing refugees' transition into US culture and society. IRIS has five full-time and one part-time staff members in case management. The case management budget includes $385,000 direct financial assistance to refugees, such as housing expenses (security deposits, rent, utilities, furniture and housing supplies), food, clothing, medicine, and bus passes which are provided to refugees during their first few months in the US, or in case of emergency.
Population Served Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees / At-Risk Populations / Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service. IRIS’s overall goal is for refugees to become self-sufficient, contributing members of their new communities.  This means that clients should be able to support themselves financially, handle day-to-day tasks in the US with confidence, and make decisions on behalf of themselves and their family based on their needs and abilities. To empower them to reach self-sufficiency, the Case Management department seeks to give them the information, tools, and support they need to succeed.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. IRIS participates in a global humanitarian effort to save lives. This is the agency's core work and, in a certain sense, is an end in itself. When refugees successfully start new lives here, they become active, contributing members of our society, helping to diversify the community and strengthening the workforce. Volunteers who help to resettle refugees, including faith communities and others who act as "co-sponsors" of refugee families, engage in acts of hospitality, small and large, that transform their lives and perspectives.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.
IRIS measures success by evaluating the overall well-being of individual refugees and family units on many different levels.  Three months after every adult refugee arrives in New Haven, a case manager conducts an 11-question assessment with them to gauge their knowledge of their community and how well they have begun to integrate.  The questions are all practical, such as “What is your address and phone number?” and “How do you get from your home to the grocery store? ” IRIS’s goal is for 90% of refugees to answer at least 7 of the 11 questions correctly.
 
IRIS's national affiliates (Church World Service and Episcopal Migration Ministries) and the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration at the US State Department regularly visit IRIS to conduct site visits, review client case files, and interview clients and staff.  IRIS adheres to all resettlement requirements and guidelines, and often exceeds federal standards.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success. Rosa (name changed) came to the US from Cuba in 2006, to escape oppression and imprisonment for her dissenting political opinions. Jorge arrived from Cuba in 2007, having suffered similar harsh treatment. IRIS worked closely with each of them to help them integrate into a culture and economic system that was new to them. Rosa started out making a living by cleaning rooms in a hotel, and Jorge was able to get job in construction. Through their connection with IRIS and the Cuban refugee community in New Haven, they met each other and soon decided to marry. With Jorge’s support, Rosa was able to leave her job at the hotel and go through a rigorous screening and training process in order to become a foster parent with the State of CT Dept. of Children and Families. She and Jorge fulfilled all of DCF’s requirements, and to date they have fostered dozens of Spanish-speaking children who were at crisis moments in their lives. The support that IRIS gave Rosa and Jorge in their first months in the US is being repaid many times over in their service to the most vulnerable of their new neighbors.
Description Finding work is a major factor in refugees' successful resettlement in the US.  Adult refugees are legally authorized to work immediately upon arrival in the United States.  IRIS’s Employment Services are designed to foster economic self-sufficiency soon after refugees arrive.  The employment team works one-on-one with every employable refugee to help them find and keep jobs.  Many refugees, including highly qualified professionals, accept entry-level positions as a first step toward building a new life for themselves and their families in the US.  The Employment Services team helps refugees formulate long-term employment goals, such as training and/or re-certification in their chosen fields, while emphasizing the importance of demonstrating a strong work ethic. Employment Services staff members, with the Executive Director, cultivate relationships with current and prospective employers in the region. Employment Services is staffed by two full-time and two part-time employees, plus several volunteers and interns.
Population Served Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees / International / Adults
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service. All employable adults have an employment assessment and resume completed within two weeks of arrival. They all receive tailored job leads, help completing applications, and assistance setting up interviews, to help achieve these goals: 85% of employable adult refugees will have full-time jobs within 6 months of arrival. 50% of jobs obtained will pay above minimum wage.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. With stable employment, refugees have financial stability, which helps everyone in a family. Refugees build productive, healthy lives of their own choosing and contribute to the vitality of our city, state, and nation.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. To measure success, the employment team tracks applications submitted, interviews granted, offers received, and employment gained. Employers and clients are interviewed to gather feedback on the quality of IRIS services. Case managers track data pertaining to client financial self-sufficiency. When clients are gainfully employed, they no longer need rental assistance from the agency, an important measure of self-sufficiency.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success. Maryam came to the US from Iraq with some of the greatest challenges any refugee can face. She is a single mother with four children, and did not speak a word of English when she arrived. Over the course of a few months she made great progress. Her English skills improved, she relied less and less on her children for translation, and she gained confidence. Maryam was eager for any job but had the additional hurdle of needing to be at home in the afternoon to care for her youngest children. She persevered and was able to obtain a first-shift position in a physically demanding local manufacturing job. She demonstrated the pride of someone who was impressed with her own abilities. Unfortunately, she was laid off after only two months, but IRIS was able to help her find a second, better paying, factory position. If IRIS's contacts in the business community--and donor support-- had not been available to help Maryam with her employment search and housing costs, she wouldn't be where she is now: a single mother with immense obstacles who’s succeeding in spite of them.
Description Refugees come to the US with a variety of physical and mental health care needs. The IRIS Health and Wellness Program supports refugees of all ages in obtaining high-quality medical care. The program's chief partner is the Primary Care Center (PCC) at Yale-New Haven Hospital, which provides health assessments and follow-up care to all refugees at the adult and pediatric Refugee Health Clinics. These clinics are staffed by Yale Medical School residents under the supervision of an attending physician. The IRIS Health and Wellness Program Coordinator (HWPC) provides medical case management including: communicating with medical providers, arranging interpreters, scheduling follow-up appointments, organizing and running the health and wellness education sessions and acting as an intermediary. HWPC oversees all the volunteers and facilitates care coordinators to help especially vulnerable clients. Volunteers often accompany refugees to doctor's appointments, serving as interpreters and advocates for them.  The IRIS Health and Wellness Program Coordinator (HWPC) serves as a vital liaison between IRIS’s clients and their health care providers.The HWPC assists IRIS’s clients in virtually all aspects of their formal health care including scheduling appointments and follow-ups, securing interpreters, accompanying clients to doctor’s visits and obtaining test results.She also serves as a resource to IRIS clients and organizes health and
Population Served Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees / Families / At-Risk Populations
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service. 100% of refugee adults will receive their federally mandated health care assessment within 30 days of arrival in the US; 75% of refugee children will receive their federally mandated health care assessment within 30 days of arrival, and 100% within 45 days; 90% of refugees will establish a relationship with a primary care physician within the first six months after arrival; 100% of clients will receive a mental health screening at 30 days and 90 days after arrival.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. In the long term, the Health and Wellness Program helps refugees obtain good health and teaches them to navigate the healthcare system and advocate for themselves.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. IRIS tracks how quickly every refugee receives a health assessment, and whether they have received a mental health assessment.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.
Local health care providers, who partner with IRIS to run the weekly and bi-monthly clinics attest to the success of the program.
 
"I believe that IRIS is the single most important contributor to refugee health in New Haven. Without IRIS's partnership and support, we would not have a Pediatric Refugee Clinic, we would be unable to engage in pre-arrival planning for refugee children with complex health problems, and we would have great difficulty connecting children with additional health services. IRIS provides important direct services for refugees. IRIS also enables other organizations, such as our clinic, to support and improve refugee health.” Katherine Yun, MD, Director, Yale-New Haven Hospital Pediatric Refugee Clinic.  
 
 
 
Description IRIS’s Education and Youth Services encompasses three programs: (1) Academic support and enrichment activities for K-12 children and their parents; (2) the English Language Class for adult refugees; and (3) the Early Learning Program for refugees ages 1-4 whose parents are enrolled in the IRIS English class. Most adult refugees speak limited or no English and must improve their English before they will find jobs. Some children have never attended a school; others come from families in which education is highly valued. Upon arrival, few refugee children speak English and must adjust quickly to the social and intellectual demands of school in the US. The program trains parents to be active participants in the education of their children. Fortunately, children learn languages quickly and are adept at making friends. To see children succeed in school--and develop friendships with peers from all over the world--is one of the most rewarding aspects of work at IRIS.
Population Served Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees / Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) / At-Risk Populations
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service. 100% of students enrolled in the program improve their level of English language proficiency. Refugee students in after-school programming demonstrate a 10% academic improvement (one grade level) from one year to the next. 90% of students enrolled in the program will demonstrate growth towards proficiency on curriculum assessment. 90% of students enrolled in the program improve their attendance rates over a two-year period. 100% of students enrolled in the program improve their social adjustment.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. Many refugees tell IRIS that they came to the US. for their children. The ultimate goal of IRIS's programs for refugee youth is to maximize the children's ability to succeed socially, emotionally, and academically. Refugee children and their parents understand the community, access support systems, and take advantage of educational opportunities.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. IRIS has developed relationships with area public schools that refugees attend. The Education Coordinator makes regular contact with teachers, administrators, and New Haven Public Schools. The Education Coordinator observes overall student wellness, tracks parent participation in parent/teacher conferences, and, to the extent possible, keeps up-to-date on student attendance, grades, and test scores. In IRIS’s English class for adults, the teachers track attendance, and New Haven Adult Education conducts regular written and oral assessments of their progress.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success. Nadia is a refugee from Congo, who arrived in New Haven when she was 16. IRIS provided in-school and after-school tutoring for Nadia, and also provided parent orientation to her mother. Nadia’s English improved dramatically, and she excelled academically at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven, even while balancing her academics with extracurricular activities and a part-time job. Her academic performance earned her admission to the Outstanding High School Senior Program - a highly competitive program awarded to candidates in the top 10% of their class and which allowed her to leave high school and attend 4-5 college classes during the spring semester of her senior year. Nadia is now a student at Quinnipiac University. When her busy schedule allows, Nadia is eager to help newly arrived refugees in any way she can. Currently, she works at IRIS through Quinnipiac’s work-study program, and prepares apartments for new refugees!
Description
Refugees who arrive in Connecticut are relieved to escape persecution and hopeful as they rebuild their lives. But for some, resettlement also brings sadness, because they have left their loved ones behind. For these refugees, nothing is more important than being reunited with family members.
     
Refugees also need legal help to become permanent residents and—five years after their arrival—to become US citizens.
 
Family reunification, and applying for permanent residency and citizenship, requires professional legal assistance, which can be prohibitively expensive, poor quality, or worse—fraudulent.
 
In order to address the severe shortage of immigration legal services in Connecticut, particularly for refugees, several years ago IRIS expanded its resettlement program to include Immigration Legal Services (ILS). These services are now essential parts of IRIS’s mission to welcome refugees and help them integrate into the community.
 
A licensed Connecticut attorney serves as the ILS Director and counsels all clients. She supervises a team comprised of a legal assistant,volunteer attorneys, student interns, and other volunteers. The program represents IRIS refugee clients in approximately 300 cases each year.
 
 
Population Served Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees / At-Risk Populations / International
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service.
In 2014, with assistance from IRIS Immigration Legal Services:
-51 refugees successfully became permanent residents.
-12 refugees naturalized to become US citizens in 2014.
-11 clients were reunited with family members.These family members came from Sudan, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Cuba.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. Refugees successfully reunite with family members after long periods of separation. With assistance from IRIS, they learn how to navigate the legal system. Gaining legal permanent residency status and ultimately US citizenship enables those who came to the US as refugees to become civically engaged, contributing members of their community.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. The IRIS Immigration Legal Services Director keeps standardized case files on all clients and tracks the progress of their cases in a customized spreadsheet. Data measures include approval by US Citizenship and Immigration Services of lawful permanent resident (green card) applications, naturalization applications, and,family reunification petitions.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.
“I just want to thank you again for your effort and support. It was a lovely day Friday, and we had a lot of fun. It's great that you see the country you believe in, love, and sacrifice to be part of is loving you back and welcomes you as part of its big family!”
- A note to the Immigration Legal Services Director after a client became a US Citizen in June 2014
 
“By your effort and the help of God now I am with my family. …You see a person who was at times in a situation of dreaming for his loving spouse and kids to be together; now [this is] the fact. How that situation was hard! Now it is history and I will never forget what you, IRIS, and the US Government did to me for this history cannot be disappeared from memory.”
- Email to Attorney O’Brien from a refugee who was reunited with his wife and children September 2014
Program Comments
CEO Comments Every day, we ask ourselves and our clients: what do refugees--new Americans--need in order to start new lives in this country? Our programs, and the way we operate them are a result of that question. We are not content to provide only the bare minimum that is required by the federal guidelines under which we work. We strive to create a welcoming, tolerant, and respectful environment for refugees and design programs to meet their unique needs. Over the years, we have learned from our clients that housing, education, health care, and legal services require extra attention during the process of adjusting to a new country. These programs cost more and require more community support, so we have had to raise more funds, develop a strong volunteer program, and form partnerships.
CEO/Executive Director
Mr. Chris George
Term Start May 2005
Email cgeorge@irisct.org
Experience Chris George has worked in international development, human rights, and refugee assistance for more than 30 years. He began his international experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer and served more than 20 years in the Middle East managing programs for Save the Children, American Friends Service Committee, Human Rights Watch, and USAID.  He has worked extensively with refugee populations, directed a legislative strengthening project in the Palestinian territories, and was Executive Director of Human Rights Watch - Middle East.  Since 2005 he has served as the Executive Director of IRIS. 
Co-CEO
Experience
Staff
Number of Full Time Staff 13
Number of Part Time Staff 11
Number of Volunteers 200
Number of Contract Staff 2
Staff Retention Rate 67%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 17
Hispanic/Latino 2
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 2 1 Mixed
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 6
Female 18
Unspecified 0
Senior Staff
Title Deputy Director
Title Employment Services Manager
Title Director of Case Management
Experience/Biography

Alexine previously held senior management positions at a childcare-focused international NGO in Morocco, for 7 years.

Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Collaborations

IRIS is fortunate to have many strong partners throughout Greater New Haven and beyond. Many faith communities--churches, synagogues, and mosques—support IRIS’s work through financial donations, in-kind assistance, or by "co-sponsoring" a refugee family, which involves sharing the core resettlement work with IRIS and providing financial support to a newly-arriving family.

IRIS collaborates with many local non-profit organizations and government programs to meet the needs of refugee clients. The Connecticut Food Bank is IRIS’s Food Pantry partner, and IRIS is a distribution site of New Haven Diaper Bank. There are many allies at New Haven Public Schools, especially with the administration of Fair Haven School and Wilbur Cross High School, where the highest number of refugee students attend. Fair Haven K-8 School hosts IRIS’s afterschool program for refugee and other immigrant youth.

New Haven Adult Education collaborates with IRIS by offering daily English class at the IRIS office; they hire and pay two teachers to lead the class and supervise IRIS volunteers. IRIS also collaborates with the Yale-New Haven Hospital Primary Care Center in order to provide required initial health screenings as well as ongoing healthcare at Refugee Health Clinics. Mental health clinicians from the private Post-Traumatic Stress Center on Edwards Street advise IRIS staff on a pro-bono basis, and the CT Mental Health Center

IRIS occasionally invites city government officials and public safety officers—including alders, police officers, and firefighters—to present educational workshops to newly arrived refugees.

In Employment Services, IRIS works with programs and organizations including the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, New Haven Works, CT Works, Elmseed Enterprise, and The Jackson Institute among others. The goal is always to enhance refugees’ language skills, community integration & understanding, and develop direct employment opportunities. IRIS also directs clients to local programs that provide certification in fields such as security, phlebotomy and certified nursing assistance.

IRIS works with AAA in Hamden to offer the CT-required 8-hour safe driving class at a reduced cost and with language interpretation. A driver’s license is a key factor needed for employment at any location that is both inaccessible by public transport and beyond the distance easily covered by bicycle.

IRIS engages a robust network of volunteers, in part by collaborating with the community service, internship, and work study programs of area colleges and universities including Yale University, Southern Connecticut State University, University of New Haven, Quinnipiac University, Fairfield University, Sacred Heart University, and Gateway Community College.

Affiliations
AffiliationYear
United Way of Greater New Haven2010
Connecticut Association of Nonprofits2010
Comments
CEO Comments The strategic plan developed by board and staff in 2004 has been the blueprint for IRIS's development since then.  IRIS conducted another strategic planning session in August 2011, and is in the process of drafting and approving an updated strategic plan.
Board Chair
The Reverend Peter Bushnell
Company Affiliation Episcopal Church in Connecticut
Term Jan 2014 to Mar 2015
Email rector_holytrinity@sbcglobal.net
Board of Directors
NameAffiliation
Andrew Cohen Attorney, The Law Office of Andrew A. Cohen, LLC
Anthony DiSalvo Ph.D.Chairman, Regional Water Authority
Alexandra Dufresne Staff Attorney, Center for Children's Advocacy; Lecturer, Ethics, Politics, & Econ. Dept., Yale University
Asma Farid Vice President, Netsolace
Scott Harding PhDAssociate Dean for Academic Affairs & Associate Professor, University of Connecticut School of Social Work
Dr. David Hesse Member, Department of Urology, Yale School of Medicine
Kaveh Khoshnood Ph.D.Associate Professor, Yale School of Public Health
Rosalie Mutonji Community Volunteer
Andrew Ruben Yale Law Student & Co-founder, Blue State Coffee
Kiran Zaman Program Developer (Artist, Educator), Eli Whitney Museum
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 2
Caucasian 7
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 1 Iranian-American
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 7
Female 4
Governance
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 27%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Finance
Nominating
Board Governance
CEO Comments
Prior to 2005, most board members were from the Hartford area -- a reflection of the organization's roots in the Episcopal Diocese.  IRIS has recently expanded the board to include members from the Greater New Haven area.  In 2011, 8 new members joined the board.  Today, almost all board members are from the New Haven area.
 
 
Financials
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01 2015
Fiscal Year End Dec 31 2015
Projected Revenue $1,422,793.00
Projected Expenses $1,495,472.00
Spending Policy N/A
Other Documents
Other Documents 3
NameYear
Employment Mentor Fact Sheet2013View
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Revenue Sources ChartHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201320122011
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$544,246$420,838$330,912
Government Contributions$761,107$761,868$606,584
Federal------
State------
Local------
Unspecified$761,107$761,868$606,584
Individual Contributions------
------
------
Investment Income, Net of Losses$69$16$54
Membership Dues------
Special Events------
Revenue In-Kind------
Other$19,819$19,942$14,050
Prior Three Years Expense Allocations Chart
Fiscal Year201320122011
Program Expense$1,007,166$1,052,035$837,585
Administration Expense$89,476$73,528$75,999
Fundraising Expense$72,271$55,581$28,990
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.131.021.01
Program Expense/Total Expenses86%89%89%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue6%5%3%
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201320122011
Total Assets$345,247$175,079$188,592
Current Assets$328,926$162,818$173,330
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities$102,377$88,537$123,570
Total Net Assets$242,870$86,542$65,022
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201320122011
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountChurch World Service $283,348Episcopal Migration Ministries $320,733Church World Service $195,097
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountEpiscopal Migration Ministries $251,419Church World Service $237,052Episcopal Migration Ministries $148,707
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountState Dept. os Social Services $214,591State Dept. of Social Services $131,818DSS $121,554
Solvency
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities3.211.841.40
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Comments
CEO Comments
The difference between the current fiscal year projected income ($1,422,793) and expenses ($1,495,472) is temporarily restricted donations from earlier years that will be released from restrictions.
Foundation Staff Comments

This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Financial information is inputted by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.

Address 235 Nicoll Street
2nd Floor
New Haven, CT 06511
Primary Phone 203 562-2095
Contact Email info@irisct.org
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Chris George
Board Chair The Reverend Peter Bushnell
Board Chair Company Affiliation Episcopal Church in Connecticut

 

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