Regarding refugees and migrants in Europe, … [A World of Neighbors] has chosen to be as close to the action as possible. This means supporting receiving communities and grassroots practitioners who are accompanying ‘people on the move’ in their journey to safe haven, while at the same time convincing the broader society to be more welcoming of these newly-arrived in their midst…. a movement guided by a shared vision, a compelling mission, and a hands-on approach… made up of people, so convinced in heart and mind.—Dirk Ficca, "The Power of Accumulated Smallness
Some of us were lucky enough to know Dirk Ficca in his work with A World of Neighbors (AWON); to have been touched by his compassionate and innovative projects designed to support both migrants and the people who work with them.
Others knew and loved Dirk in other ways, perhaps through his leadership of the Parliament of the World’s Religion or his Social Cohesion projects but are not familiar with A World of Neighbors and its Practitioners’ Network. And some know A World of Neighbors (AWON), but did not know Dirk.
The Dirk Ficca Memorial Fund brings all of us together in the hope that Dirk’s legacy as Founding Director of the Practitioners’ Network will continue to blossom, grow, and sustain this vital work.
For Dirk, A World of Neighbours was first and foremost about people. He was instrumental in charting an ‘Ecology of Migration’ – a template of the various people whose actions impact human immigration in Europe. His focus was the ‘Practitioners’: people working directly with both migrants and with organizations that aid them; the ones who stand right at the intersection between the reception and the accompaniment of refugees and other migrants.
Dirk’s goal was to establish a hub that would provide practitioners with everything they need to continue their work regardless of the myriad challenges they face. He wanted AWoN to develop a fund to support their work without the administrative burdens. He sought to offer resources directly to individuals who need them; people who work tirelessly with little or no compensation.
Help us to bring Dirk’s vision to fruition with the Dirk Ficca Memorial Fund.
Depending on the amount we raise, we envision three levels of financial support:
1. The Dirk Ficca Practitioner Honor – in support of exceptional work (such as people currently volunteering on the Poland/Belarus border)
2. Dirk Ficca Project Grants – small grants (between 300€ - 1000€) for collaborations between Network Practitioners.
3. The Dirk Ficca Fellowship –annual stipends for 20% of their time for individual practitioners in need. Dirk hoped that AWoN would eventually be able to support 20 people this way.
The practitioners who receive this funding could be celebrated at a yearly event like the Practitioners Network’s Gathering, which an annual Dirk Ficca Memorial Lecture could accompany.
Lynda Ficca, Dirk’s wife, has asked AWoN to honor Dirk by continuing to do good work in the world…and always to choose kindness and diplomacy over hate and divisiveness. In addition, the family requested that those who wish to give charity in Dirk’s memory donate to A World of Neighbors Practitioners’ Network, whose work was so close to Dirk’s heart.
Thanks to the Goldin Institute, a Chicago-based 501(c)(3), for temporarily receiving and holding the Dirk Ficca Memorial Fund funds.