About the Award

The Story

Inspired by a personal connection to refugee families, the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award is sponsored by philanthropists Lyna Lam and Chris Larsen.

Lyna and her family were refugees after the Vietnam War and Cambodian Genocide, and spent three years in various refugee camps. After being sponsored to the United States, Lyna earned her way out of public housing to work in technology, became a small business owner of a café, and now serves as founder and Executive Director of the A Khmer Buddhist Foundation, a nonprofit that helps the Cambodian American community and other refugee groups. Lyna and her Foundation work on a variety of issues including general refugee support, community health issues, and archiving ancient Khmer scripts. She is currently building Wat Khmer Kampuchea Krom, a Cambodian temple in San Jose, California.

Chris is an angel investor, serial entrepreneur, current Executive Chairman of Ripple and was a co-founder/former CEO of several other innovative companies. In 2015, Chris co-founded Rippleworks, a nonprofit foundation that partners world-changing ventures with world-class experts to help social ventures scale their impact globally.

Chris and Lyna are grateful for the opportunity to offer this Award in honor of their family’s history, as well as their commitment to build stronger, brighter communities at home in the Bay area of California and around the world.

Refugee Family

The Challenge

According to the UN Refugee Agency, the refugee population is increasing – latest figures show that a person becomes displaced every two seconds. More than 70 million people – nearly half of whom are children – have been forcibly displaced by war, conflict, and persecution. A majority of today’s refugees are displaced for a long period and has turned the refugee crisis into a protracted one. At the end of 2017, two-thirds of refugees globally had been in exile for at least five consecutive years in a given asylum country (UNHCR Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2018).

The Solution

The Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award will award $12 million to scale an innovative solution aimed to support the well-being of refugees and secure a durable future for them across one or more of the following areas:

(1) repatriation, helping refugees return to their former country of nationality in safety and dignity;

(2) local settlement and integration of refugees in host countries; and

(3) resettlement of refugees in a third country i.e. beyond the country of asylum.

Strong solutions will include a powerful, scalable, and innovative strategy that strengthens existing efforts and will result in transformational, long-term change. Applicants should have deep community roots with authentic stakeholder relationships and a collaborative approach to engage community. Solutions must be backed by robust evidence and understanding of the landscape to create lasting change and serve as a model for other communities. We are seeking impressive teams comprised of seasoned experts well-positioned to effectively and efficiently execute an innovative approach to produce deep, lasting impact.

Interested eligible organizations are invited to assess your fit for the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award and review the scoring rubric to learn more about what makes a strong application.

Refugee on Work

Join Us

We are honored to have the support of an anonymous donor couple from the ICONIQ network who contributed $2 million to scale this award and add to the $10 million contribution from Lyna Lam and Chris Larsen, for an award total of $12 million.

The Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award is open to new donors contributing so that more than one finalist solution may be funded. In order to amplify our impact and support more solutions, the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award team invites other donors committed to improving the well-being of refugees to join us. If you are interested in becoming a donor partner, please contact us for more information.

The Process

We’ve designed a process that is fair, open and transparent. Once the application period closes on June 2, 2020, our team will confirm that each submission meets the requirements and rules before advancing to Peer-to-Peer and Evaluation Panel review. Once review is complete, the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award team will review the top-scoring submissions and may request additional information as needed in order to select up to five Finalists who will move on to the next phase.

The Finalists will work with an expert team to strengthen, revise, and resubmit their proposals, host site visits, and share their more detailed plan to implement the proposed solution. The $12 million grant will be awarded to one of the Finalists in Spring 2021.

Review Timeline


The Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award will host Q&A webinars in the weeks leading up to the registration and submission deadlines. Information to sign-up for these webinars will be emailed to those who have registered for the Award and will be available on News & Updates

In the meantime, you are welcome to email [email protected] to request more information regarding eligibility, requirements, and other Award-related questions.

Let’s work together to build brighter, more durable futures for refugees.

Join us and support the well-being of refugees around the world. Submissions have closed.