Dear friends and colleagues,

Six years ago, informed by research conducted by my wife, Dr. Christine Mahoney, I realized that the humanitarian aid system was both broke and broken in its ability to respond to long-term, protracted displacement crises. I also knew from my own family’s lived experiences, and by meeting countless refugee entrepreneurs, scientists, artists, and activists around the world, of the remarkable resilience, creativity, and potential of people who have been forced to leave their homes in search of a better future. We launched the Refugee Investment Network for and with them–to pick up where humanitarian response leaves off, and to ensure that every person, regardless of why they move or where they travel from, has a path to fully pursue their potential.

While RIN is still a young organization, it now has strong roots, a growing team, and robust and expanding programs in 7 countries. Since inception, I knew at some point I would transition to a different role at the organization–passing the torch of leadership to someone who could help the organization grow exponentially to meet the complex drivers of displacement. Tim Docking has been with me every step of the way these past four years and I am honored to support him now as he takes on a new role as RIN’s CEO.

Reflecting on the last four years, we have accomplished a great deal:

  • We designed and introduced the Refugee Lens, a new framework to guide and qualify capital allocations that intentionally support displaced people and the communities hosting them;
  • We built an ever-growing and active community of Refugee Lens Investing (RLI) practitioners, made up of investors across the capital continuum from grant makers to institutional investors, and from the public and private sectors;
  • We expanded affordable financing for small businesses founded by New Americans;
  • We helped the global micro-finance community become a viable enabler for refugee self-reliance;
  • We designed an innovative, system-of-systems assessment program to identify and address barriers to RLI, create onramps for practitioners, and to build more inclusive economies at a country level. This work began in Mexico, but has since expanded to Colombia, Jordan, Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia;
  • We developed a rigorous, first-of-its-kind, indexing tool called the Refugee Opportunity Index (ROI), as a diagnostic for countries to assess their policies and regulatory environment as it relates to the economic inclusion of people on the move;
  • We have hosted dozens of workshops for displaced founders, founders supporting refugees, investors, policymakers, and other RLI practitioners;
  • And we have advised a select group of companies, fund managers, and now three government agencies on their refugee lens strategies.

This was only possible through the incredible generosity of our clients and donors, the commitment of our Board, team, and fellows, and the energy and optimism of community. To all of you: Thank you!

The work of RIN is just beginning. It is not enough for us to simply do our work–we must do it well. We must simultaneously grow our community, our team, andour expertise. To this end, I will continue to support our mission as Senior Advisor to RIN, improving our governance and performance, ensuring we have greater representation from those with lived displacement experiences on our team and board, and centering our work on equity. I will also assist Tim and the RIN team in developing new partnerships, expanding to new regions, and incubating new innovations that advance a more inclusive and resilient world.


John Kluge