Refugees in Colorado are supported by federal and state policies under the Refugee Act of 1980 that assist them in settlement, employment, integration, and self-sufficiency. Kit Taintor (Colorado Refugee Services Program) and Jennifer Wilson (International Rescue Committee) will speak about the refugee population in the state, state refugee services, and their economic contribution to Colorado.
Kit Taintor is the Colorado State Refugee Coordinator, responsible for statewide coordination of the refugee resettlement program. Kit has led Colorado Refugee Services Program (CRSP) at the Colorado Department of Human Services since 2014. Prior to her appointment as State Refugee Coordinator, Kit served CRSP as the Grant and Program Manager and worked with refugees and immigrants as the Executive Director of the Colorado African Organization. Kit attended Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Virginia. Kit also served in the Peace Corps in Malawi and worked extensively in sub-Saharan Africa in international development. She also currently acts as the elected President of the State Coordinators of Refugee Resettlement, a national affinity group for state refugee coordinators.
Jennifer Wilson serves as Executive Director of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Denver. She brings nearly 20 years of experience in nonprofit management and leadership that has covered many areas, including human rights, advocacy, international development, maternal and child health, and early childhood education—much of it focused on working with displaced people in the U.S. and abroad. She started working with refugees in Denver in 1999, before moving to New York in 2002 to join CWS Global’s Immigration and Refugee Program. During her time with CWS, Jennifer led the agency’s domestic refugee resettlement programs, and later helped to launch a portfolio of initiatives to provide targeted support that promoted durable solutions for displaced and stateless populations in Afghanistan, Argentina, Chile, Ghana, Kenya, Lebanon, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand and Uruguay. Jennifer is thrilled to have the opportunity to continue this work in her home state of Colorado. Since joining IRC in July 2016, she has had the privilege of working with a talented team of staff and volunteers to build the Denver office from the ground up. IRC in Denver now offers an array of programs and services for refugee and immigrant populations, including case management, employment and career development, health navigation, family stabilization, health insurance literacy, psychosocial support, financial capability, youth programming and specialized services for survivors of torture. Jennifer holds a Master of Nonprofit Management and Global Leadership from Regis University and a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology and Latin American Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Outside of work, she enjoys gardening, cooking, running, yoga, hiking and trying to keep up with her two young girls.