Thousands of Syrian refugees living on U.S. soil will now receive more support from major tech companies like Google, HP and IBM.
U.S. President Barack Obama has recruited at least 15 companies to pledge money and services to support Syrian refugees, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. Goldman Sachs says it will underwrite programs to help refugees learn English and employment skills. Google, which will provide consulting and technology to non-profits, says its efforts will touch more than a million refugees.
Last year, both firms invested a collective $4.5 million to European relief programs, including nonprofits that provide food, shelter and clothing, as well as the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Independently, Google.org -- Google's philanthropic arm -- has given more than $13 million to aid refugees since September of 2015, a spokeswoman for the company tells Inc.
Airbnb, the embattled home sharing service which is reportedly seeking funding at a $30 billion valuation, says it will donate credits for relief workers to book housing through its site.
The president's call to action signals a broader push to stem the effects of what is said to be the worst refugee crisis since World War II. By end of September, Obama hopes to admit 10,000 refugees. So far, the country has admitted just half of that. He also aims to increase global financing for refugees by 30 percent, and increase the number of refugees in schools and work by one million. Overall, the U.N. says it's received just $11 billion of the $20 billion it initially requested in 2015 to help Syrian refugees.
"When refugees escape barrel bombs and torture, and migrants cross deserts and seas seeking a better life, we cannot simply look the other way," the president told the Canadian Parliament in a speech on Wednesday. "We certainly can't label as possible terrorists vulnerable people who are fleeing terrorists."
"We are thrilled to be part of this partnership, and to see the White House's continued leadership in this area," a spokeswoman for Google told Bloomberg.