This Startup Partnership Will Change How Americans See Refugees

With only 4% of the US population aware of refugee issues, USA for UNHCR (U4U) decided it needed a startup partner to help it engage Americans in ways that would rewrite the traditional nonprofit marketing playbook.

The winner of KITE-powered #refugeedemo in late August was creative marketplace Tongal, which a diverse group of judges selected after hearing five startups pitch. Tongal has already worked with brands like Lego and Lenovo to create popular videos across online platforms like YouTube, plus broadcast TV and film festivals.

Moving at startup speed, U4U and Tongal have just launched their call for two videos: 1) stories about individual refugees and 2) unique ways to re-frame the refugee crisis (hint: stay away from tear-jerkers and heartstrings). The prize money for both totals $30,000.

Bonus: anyone can submit ideas by the October 28 deadline. From there the competition moves into the filmmaker-only pitch phase, with U4U choosing winners before the end of 2015.

We are confident the vision U4U and Tongal have outlined will result in videos that inspire Americans to learn and do more to help the refugee crisis, rather than dishearten them. And we can’t wait to see U4U pursue partnerships with more emerging-tech companies.

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