Ryerson celebrates success of Syrian sponsorship challenge

The Star Toronto - A year after its launch, the university’s refugee resettlement effort raised $4.5 million, formed 102 sponsorship groups and supported 150 refugee families.

When Wendy Cukier first challenged her colleagues and students at Ryerson University a year ago to step up and help sponsor Syrian refugees to Canada, her goal was modest: forming 10 sponsorship teams to bring in 10 families.

Little did the Ryerson vice-president of research and innovation expect the challenge would get so much traction, not just from her local community but also from OCAD University, the University of Toronto, York University, and communities across Canada.

This week, on the first anniversary of the Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge, Cukier, the project’s founder, announced the final tallies: $4.5 million raised, 102 teams formed, 150 families sponsored, 23 families or 125 people arrived and 1,000 volunteers recruited.

“It’s really tremendously inspiring to see the work of the community. This is incredibly exciting,” said Cukier, who will be leaving Ryerson to be president and vice-chancellor of Brock University in September.