Mission & Impact

The Challenge

Newcomers to the U.S. are more educated than at any other time in our history: 45% of recently-arrived immigrants have at least a bachelor’s degree. Yet more than 2 million immigrants and refugees who have degrees and professional work experience from their home countries face systemic barriers that leave them unemployed or working in survival jobs in the United States. Upwardly Global is the first and longest-serving national organization that helps these individuals restart their careers and bring their skills and perspectives into the American workforce.

Our Mission

Upwardly Global’s mission is to eliminate employment barriers for immigrant and refugee professionals, and advance the inclusion of their skills into the U.S. economy.

Our Vision

We envision an equitable, welcoming country where everyone–including immigrants, refugees, and asylees–can fully contribute to our workforce and thrive.

Our Story

In 2000, Jane Leu, a refugee resettlement caseworker and social entrepreneur, toured a New York poultry processing plant that was considered a model employer for refugees. The plant owner introduced her to two standout employees: one had been an engineer in Iraq and the other a surgeon in Bosnia. The meeting was ejane leuye-opening to Jane: How many other internationally-trained professionals were working in subsistence jobs that did not utilize their professional skills? What did these individuals–and the country–lose with these missed opportunities?

At her kitchen table, Jane crafted a plan that would become the first organization focused on connecting an estimated two million un- and under-employed immigrants and refugees living in the U.S. with pathways to professional success, while also working to advance the ideals of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workforce. 

Business plan in hand, she recognized that the organization needed a name: “I wanted to express the mutual benefit of immigrant inclusion: economic mobility for immigrants and refugees, with the benefits of global mindsets–diversity, resilience and innovation–for our country.” 

Upwardly Global was born in 1999, and has since grown to a national nonprofit that has supported more than 18,000 internationally trained professionals and U.S. employers in succeeding together. 

Over two decades, the organization has grown to have offices in four cities across the country, remote jobseekers in other states and a digital infrastructure to scale its work nationally. With the leadership of three visionary female CEOs, Upwardly Global’s work has received numerous national awards and recognitions, and is cited internationally as a standard for inclusion and innovation. Today, we remain committed to advancing the powerful vision of a nation where everyone–including  immigrants and refugees–can contribute and thrive. 

Annual Reports and Financial Statements

Upwardly Global meets the highest standards of oversight and accountability, and we are pleased to provide financial, tax and charity accreditation information.

View our Annual Reports:

2020 Annual Report interactive version/ PDF version

2019 Annual Report

2018 Annual Report

2017 Annual Report

2016 Annual Report

2015 Annual Report

2014 Annual Report


View our Financial Statements:

Audit 2019; 990-2019;

Audit 2018; 990-2018;

Audit 2017; 990-2017;

Audit 2016; 990-2016.



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