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Expanding Partnerships to Support Refugees with International Rescue Committee

Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and regain control of their future. While this powerhouse nonprofit provides humanitarian aid around the world, Mixte got to know the IRC because of its work with refugees in our own California communities: San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, Los Angeles and the Riverside area.

At Mixte, we choose to use public relations and our communications expertise to nurture our community and empower the people who do good. We knew immediately that IRC was mission-aligned with the work we wanted to do in the world.

The IRC relies on a long list of community partners to connect refugees with the resources they need, from career centers to hunger relief agencies. Karen Ferguson, director of the IRC’s Northern California offices, puts it this way:

“The IRC respects the intense journey of a refugee and strives to empower each new arrival to make this new life successful and fulfilling. We succeed in assisting refugees through strong support of our local communities.



The IRC was wrestling with a big question: How can we improve our approach to partnerships to ensure we provide quality, comprehensive resettlement services to refugee populations in California in an efficient and cost-effective way?

Cue: Mixte’s communications assessment.

Mixte conducted a statewide assessment for the IRC to:

  • Organize partnership information
  • Recommend ways to improve their approach to partnerships
  • Offer additional strategic partners to pursue
  • Create a system to rank and prioritize partnerships



When we conduct a communications assessment at Mixte, our first step is always listening. In order to make informed recommendations, we pair our years of experience with information gathering in the field to gather perspectives from those who know the daily successes and challenges of their organization.

For the IRC, Mixte administered an anonymous survey to staff, conducted one-on-one interviews with key leaders, collected strategic plans and previous partnership information and conducted online and field research on powerful entities within each community. Plus, we tapped into the expertise of talented community-building friends of ours, like Karim Bouris of Business for Good and Monique Lopez, whom we met through our work with Environmental Health Coalition.



With all this research at hand, Mixte examined trends, consistent viewpoints and outlying perspectives. To provide the IRC with the best direction possible, we paired what we learned from their staff with our own years of experience working with social justice leaders delivering care to people who need it most.

Finally, Mixte compiled all our findings, observations and recommendations in a written report for key leaders at the organization. We hosted a phone conversation to discuss everything we discovered over the course of this two-month project.

Now, this assessment report serves as a tool to support the IRC in setting and executing action steps to best utilize partnerships in service of those seeking a safe and thriving future in California.

We think Donna Duvin, Executive Director of the International Rescue Committee in San Diego said it best:

“The assessment Mixte did for us created a strong springboard for our work going forward as we develop strategies to serve refugee communities.”

If you’re looking to streamline your internal communications or community-building systems, Mixte can be your springboard, too. Reach out to Jamie at today to start your assessment.

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