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We want to hear from you: What is a welcoming community?

Keiron Bone Dormegnie | February 18, 2016

Today, Welcoming America released the first draft of a standard for a Welcoming community open for public comment through April 22.

This will be the first standard in the U.S. for a welcoming community, and the criteria are being defined by leading experts and practitioners in the field of immigrant inclusion as well as by you, the general public.

While a growing number of studies, such as the Cities Leading for Immigrant Integration report and the Chamber of Commerce Nashville study, link welcoming to economic benefits, we often hear questions from our members: What does it actually mean to be a Welcoming community? What are the steps we must take to get there?

We envision Welcoming Communities to be equitable and inclusive places, but our members need a path to get there. The Welcoming Standard is that path.

The Standard will outline the policies, programs, and practices that local governments need to have in place —such as supporting new American civic participation; making services accessible; and engaging all residents, including both receiving communities and new Americans.

Welcoming America will use the standard to help localities track and benchmark their efforts and ultimately, become certified. Smart local policy and business leaders across the country are already competing to gain an edge for their communities. More than just a label, being certified will help communities demonstrate that they are invested in the success of all residents and a friendly place for global business and talent.

We are asking a big question, and we need your help to get the answer right.

With the help of our advisory board, we have come up with a draft of what it takes to be a Welcoming Community, and we are asking for your feedback. Through Friday, April 22, we will be accepting comments, questions, edits, and emojis on this first draft. We want to hear from you.

To see our draft and share your thoughts on the standard, take this survey.

Comment on the standard

Photo Credit: Loris Guzzetta and League of Kitchens

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White House Launches Building Welcoming Communities Campaign

Keiron Bone Dormegnie | September 17, 2015

The White House today launched the Building Welcoming Communities Campaign, accelerating the growing movement of communities that are becoming more prosperous by embracing immigrants and fostering opportunity for all. Launched during National Welcoming Week, the Campaign is part of a broader package of announcements made by the White House Task Force on New Americans.

Already, 40 early acceptor US cities and counties have already signed on to the campaign, from Pittsburgh to Boise, Atlanta to Detroit. The groups include cities and counties big and small from across the country.

Early Acceptor Cities and Counties

Allegheny County, PA Denver, CO Oakley, CA
Atlanta, GA Detroit, MI Philadelphia, PA
Austin, TX Dodge City, KS Pittsburgh, PA
Baltimore, MD Grand Forks, ND San Francisco, CA
Boise, ID High Point, NC San Francisco County, CA
Boston, MA Houston, TX San Jose, CA
Buffalo, NY Lincoln, NE Santa Fe, NM
Charlotte, NC Los Angeles, CA Schuyler, NE
Chicago, IL Louisville, KY Seattle, WA
Clinton Township, MI Macomb County, MI St. Louis, MO
Columbus, OH Montgomery County, MD St. Louis County, MO
Crete, NE Nashville, TN Sterling Heights, MI
Dayton, OH New Orleans, LA Toledo-Lucas County, OH
Decatur, GA New York, NY York, PA

The campaign will help better connect federal resources with local communities in order to expand immigrant integration efforts. It calls on local communities to commit to and act on a set of principles that focus on building inclusive communities that enable all residents to thrive, while advancing immigrant civic, linguistic and economic integration.

Said Welcoming America Executive Director David Lubell, “Communities across the country are already recognizing that they gain an economic edge and invigorate their communities when they create environments where everyone can participate and thrive. We applaud the White House and the New Americans Taskforce for this major boost to the movement of Welcoming communities during National Welcoming Week, and look forward to supporting the federal taskforce and communities in this effort because we know it will help jumpstart economic growth and vitality.”

In November 2014, President Obama created the White House Task Force on New Americans which in April released a federal strategic action plan, Strengthening Communities by Welcoming All Residents: A Federal Strategic Action Plan on Immigrant & Refugee Integration. The Building Welcoming Communities Campaign is a key element of this action plan and the federal government’s strategy to support immigrant integration.  As part of this campaign, federal agencies will be leveraging their resources in support of communities to help foster greater civic, economic and linguistic participation.

Participating communities will also demonstrate their progress along a Welcoming Communities Roadmap, and depending on their level of commitment, will be assisted through a public private partnership which will offer technical assistance and support from federal agencies, as well as from national non-governmental partners led by Welcoming America. The initial national partners for the campaign include National Skills Coalition, NALEO, Cisneros Center for New Americans, World Education Services – Global Talent Bridge, IMPRINT, Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, Partnership for a New American Economy, World Education, YMCA of the USA, NCLR, and the National Partnership for New Americans.

Join

To join the campaign as a local government, please email [email protected] to express your interest. If your city or county is not already involved, talk with municipal leaders about joining.

White House Blog Highlights Campaign

A More Perfect Union — Building Welcoming Communities Campaign to Strengthen Immigration Integration

By Jerry Abramson, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and León Rodríguez, Director of USCIS

As President Obama has said, as a nation of immigrants, we are constantly being replenished with strivers who believe in the American Dream. It’s what makes us entrepreneurial. And today, more and more communities are recognizing the potential benefits for all their residents by pursuing a welcoming approach.

We were inspired by all the great work taking place and hope to encourage even more communities to become welcoming communities. Read more on the White House Blog >>

More Information

For more information, please see the White House fact sheet, or contact Welcoming America at [email protected].

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National Welcoming Week kicks off today!

Keiron Bone Dormegnie | September 15, 2013

Find events in your community at www.welcomingweek.org

During National Welcoming Week, Welcoming America and its partners across the country will bring together immigrants and U.S.-born community members in a spirit of unity through service projects and other events.  This year, close to 80 events are planned in 22 states, and more than 5,600 people are expected to participate. We encourage you to join the events in your area – visit www.welcomingweek.org to see what projects are happening in your backyard. Also, we want to hear from you as you participate in your local Welcoming Week event – Tweet us at @WelcomingUSA or tag us in your Facebook post @WelcomingAmerica to let us know what’s going on (don’t forget to add hashtag #welcomingweek to your post). If you cannot come out to a National Welcoming Week event, you can still participate through our photo action. Facebook or Tweet us a photo answering the question, "Why do you value a welcoming community?"  See an example below:

We also want to give a special shout-out to BB&T and One Region Atlanta, an initiative of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, for their sponsorship of National Welcoming Week.  Their generous support has made our event possible.  We are excited to work with you to build stronger communities during National Welcoming Week!

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