It is generally agreed that states have obligations, legally and ethically. But what happens when states and international institutions fail to act? Or act in a way that causes or exacerbates the problem? Does philanthropy - the literal meaning of which is a love of humanity - hold the promise of helping to alleviate human suffering? Our special feature asks how philanthropy should respond to the issues posed by refugees and migration. Guest edited by Timothy Ogden, Ayesha Saran and Atallah Kuttab, the feature looks at where we are now, philanthropy's varied responses to the issues and whether, and under what circumstances, migration can be a force for good. Alliance issue: Refugees and migration: philanthropy responds, March 2016, Volume 21 , Number 1.