Resilient Rapid Response Initiative | Welcoming America

Resilient Rapid Response Initiative

As COVID-19 continues to sow fear, anxiety, and uncertainty in communities, we must empower the organizations that serve as bridges between official information and immigrant and refugee residents. Through the Resilient Rapid Response Initiative, Welcoming America works to assist local government and nonprofit members of the Welcoming Network with immediate needs in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the press release

Give to the Resilient Rapid Response Fund and provide immediate, critical support for our members who provide front-line services to those most vulnerable in our communities:

Donate Now

Or, text “welcomingamerica” to 243725 to make your gift.

Thank you to the Democracy Fund and World Education Services Mariam Assefa Fund for their support of this Initiative.

Check out our curated resources for community-based organizations and local governments addressing COVID-19.



The Resilient Rapid Response Initiative includes:

  • Grants to local communities to support immediate critical response needs
  • Resources and trainings on language access, communications strategies, building bridges in a time of social distancing, and inclusive response solutions to support members to quickly meet gaps
  • A community of practice for our members to discuss and share what they have learned, problem solve, gather resources, and generate best responses in a timely fashion as the situation rapidly evolves

These activities will aim to expand the reach of current response efforts to include immigrant and refugee residents and continue the momentum of the welcoming movement during times of crisis. Investments will also better equip Welcoming America members in responding to future emergencies.

Many local immigrant-serving organizations provide translation and interpretation services. These services support language access for immigrant residents while providing income to those organizations. When seeking translation and interpretation services, Welcoming America recommends looking at opportunities to use services provided by local organizations. For a list of Welcoming Network members who may provide these services in your area or nationally, check out the member map.

Our Impact

Check out how the Resilient Rapid Response Initiative has impacted local communities through the COVID-19 pandemic:

As the pandemic began escalating in early 2020, the Welcoming Network mobilized in communities from Vermont to Texas to meet the pressing and often overlooked needs of immigrant and refugee communities. Through our Resilient Rapid Response Initiative, see how our members rose to the occasion and responded to community needs in this “Resilient Responders” blog series:

Making COVID-19 information, transit updates more accessible in St. Louis

Changing the language access game in Tennessee

Maximizing funds, community partnerships in Texas through COVID-19

Mobilizing immigrant mothers in Georgia to sew masks, spread facts

Strengthening connections, financial access in Vermont through COVID-19

Engaging immigrant leaders, sharing facts through videos in Ohio


Programs & Events

Programs marked by an asterisk (*) are exclusively for Welcoming America members. Not a member? Learn more

For our members: we recognize that many of you have been working in the emergency management space for the past few months. We are excited to offer a new partnership with the Institute for Diversity and Inclusion for Emergency Management (I-DIEM) to provide more support in ensuring the emergency responses in your community are inclusive.

As a network member, you are eligible to receive a 30-minute consultation session with I-DIEM experts, whose backgrounds are in crisis leadership, health and racial equity, and disaster management. Sessions are limited, so register now:

Register Now

Questions? Email [email protected].

A welcoming community is one in which all residents can thrive and belong. Especially in times of challenge, inclusive emergency management—the practice of ensuring that all residents of a community are considered during planning and included in response and recovery activities—is critical to a successful outcome for everyone.

While inclusive emergency management has long been a feature of welcoming communities, it is more important now than ever. A resilient recovery will mean working together, rethinking the voices  included, communicating effectively, and building trust. Many communities face real challenges in ensuring immigrant neighbors are informed about COVID-19, engaged in the response, and able to participate in community-wide solutions. Traditional strategies for communicating with and engaging immigrant and refugee residents, like community meetings, are no longer possible, and translation and interpretation capacity is being tested. 

In response to this challenge, Welcoming America is launching the Resilient Rapid Response Fund that supports members with:

  • Providing lifesaving services and information related to the COVID-19 pandemic to immigrants and refugee residents;
  • Moving their community toward effective and inclusive emergency management strategies.


  • Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (VT)
  • City of Columbus (OH)
  • City of Dallas (TX)
  • Corners Outreach (GA)
  • Latino Memphis (TN)
  • Lowell Rise Coalition (MA)
  • Lucas County (OH)
  • One Siouxland (IA)
  • New England Arab American Organization (ME)
  • St. Louis Mosaic Project (MO)

Read the announcement

In partnership with Global Wordsmiths, Welcoming America offered language access coaching for members through workshops and individual consultations. The coaching has ended, but recorded workshops can be accessed in the member library. We plan to offer additional coaching in the future, so please check back! 

About Global Wordsmiths
Global Wordsmiths provides fair cost, high-quality translation and interpretation services, as well as language access consulting and training. One hundred percent of profits are used to improve language accessibility through social impact initiatives.

About Mary Jayne McCullough 
Mary Jayne is the Founder and Director of Global Wordsmiths, an adjunct Faculty Lecturer of Global Communication and Applied Translation at Carnegie Mellon University, and co-chair of the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition Board of Directors. She studied public service at the University of Pittsburgh and language translation and interpretation at the Universidad Autónoma Nacional de México in Mexico City. She brings 15 years of experience as a Spanish language translator, simultaneous interpreter, and a language service industry executive.

The Inclusive Emergency Management Community of Practice (CoP) offers Welcoming America members an opportunity to discuss foundational principles, innovations, challenges, and solutions for organizations working to ensure immigrants can access and contribute to COVID-19 prevention, care, resources, and response coordination.

A CoP is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. It focuses on peer-to-peer learning rather than relying on outside experts. This CoP will focus on inclusive emergency management, which is the intentional inclusion of immigrants, refugees, and other historically marginalized groups in emergency response plans.

We are seeking both Leaders and Participants with a diverse range of experience willing to commit time and energy to the CoP's success. As a Leader, you will engage Participants, set meeting agendas, and facilitate monthly meetings. As a Participant, you will participate in monthly discussions and share best practices to enhance programming and service delivery.

Deadline to apply: April 28

*Contact [email protected] with any questions.

For our members, we have developed a series of webinars on topics related to COVID-19, featuring subject matter experts and members:
  • Inclusive Emergency Planning
  • Language Access and Communication Strategies in a Time of Crisis  
  • How Communication Can Divide and Unite: Addressing Hate and Division in the Time of COVID-19  
  • Supporting Immigrant-Owned Small Businesses During the COVID-19 Pandemic  
  • Introducing Virtual Civic Dinners to Help Build Community and Social Cohesion in Times of Crisis 
As events evolve and information changes, we will offer additional webinars. Welcoming America members can log into the Member Forum to register for upcoming webinars and access records of past webinars.

On Friday, May 29, Welcoming America and DJ Quasi Mandisco hosted a virtual dance party to support the Resilient Rapid Response Initiative. Nearly 50 participants joined or donated to support communities in need of translation and interpretation services, inclusive emergency response management, and more in response to COVID-19. 

Thank you to everyone who joined or supported us! Share photos of you dancing virtually on social media with the hashtag #WelcomingIsResilient. 

About DJ Quasi Mandisco
An Atlanta native, Kwasi “DJ Quasi Mandisco” Anderson has been entertaining crowds with soul, funk, R&B, house and disco beats for two decades. He is the resident DJ for the Atlanta Ballet and the world famous Clermont Lounge. Kwasi regularly gives back to the community by working with nonprofit organizations whose missions he believes in. Learn more on Facebook, Twitch, and Instagram.