Peter Laugharn, president and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, discusses the role of compassion and collaboration in recent grantmaking.

Dear Friends,

All around the world people are struggling with forces beyond their control, bringing dramatic changes to their lives. I believe that philanthropy can bring a practical, compassionate optimism to help the world tackle some of these global challenges.

Currently, the Syrian refugee crisis, now in its sixth year, is the largest humanitarian crisis we face. In response to selected the overwhelming need, we have provided $5.3 million in grants over the past five years to address the situation close to the epicenter of the Syrian refugee crisis.

This quarter, our board of directors approved $1 million in additional funding to two projects designed to provide relief for refugees: $500,000 to Save the Children for the education of the children of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and $500,000 to the International Rescue Committee for refugee resettlement assistance in the U.S.

We fund these organizations because we know they are strong and will produce good results. But we’ve also made these grants because we believe in the value of compassion. We know that our funding is a small part of the solution, which is why we also strongly believe in the importance of collaboration. We urge business, the nonprofit sector and government to stand alongside us and to welcome and support these refugees.

By working together, we can channel and share our different strengths and points of view, enabling us to look at issues from a fresh perspective, and allowing us to accomplish things together we could never do independently.

In the face of the world’s great challenges, we have a unique opportunity to leverage our collective knowledge and expertise to work productively together with a shared pragmatic optimism. Let’s move past our differences so we can effectively bring about the change we can only achieve by joining together. Above all, we need to build bridges so that, in Conrad Hilton’s words, people “of many nations and of good will may speak the language of peace.”