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From Seed to Soil: Learn about Receiving Community Engagement at the NIIC

Welcoming America | September 6, 2012

Join us at the National Immigrant Integration Conference in Baltimore, MD this September, where [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"47","attributes":{"class":"media-image size-full wp-image-3761 alignright","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"180","height":"180","title":"NIIC logo","alt":""}}]]Welcoming America will host the Receiving Communities Track.  One of seven exciting session tracks, the Receiving Communities track will share practical approaches for engaging everyday Americans  in immigrant integration programming, and in building economically vibrant and successful communities. Sessions include: Sunday, September 23rd
  • Leadership in New Gateways: Engaging State and Local Government Leaders
  • Communications Training: Talking to the “Unsure” about Immigrants in their Community
Monday, September 24th
  • Building Meaningful Connections between Immigrants and Native-born Americans: Harnessing the Power of Volunteers
  • From Seed to Soil: What Works in Reaching Receiving Communities?
  • The Welcoming Community: How Do We Define It?
Learn more about these sessions at  http://www.integrationconference.org/engaging-receiving-communities/ To see the full  agenda for the conference and to register, visit www.integrationconference.org Learn more about the Receiving Communities Initiative at www.receivingcommunities.org Go Back

National Welcoming Week 2012

Welcoming America | August 5, 2012

Join us for National Welcoming Week 2012! [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"45","attributes":{"class":"media-image alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-3726","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"150","height":"150","title":"LOGO - National_welcoming_week- jpeg","alt":""}}]] 

September 15th-22nd, in communities nationwide Join Welcoming America affiliates and partners across the country for the first ever National Welcoming Week, a nationwide event that will promote meaningful connections and a spirit of unity between U.S. and foreign-born Americans Visit www.welcomingamerica.org/get-involved/welcomingweek2012 to learn more about the event and about activities happening across the country.   Go Back

Partnerships in the Spotlight - USCIS

Welcoming America | April 15, 2012

Welcoming America is pleased to highlight the USCIS as a partner of the Receiving Communities Initiative (RCI).  Learn more about RCI The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), part of the Department of Homeland Security, is a strong leader in promoting the value of receiving communities strategies and is helping grantees to infuse these new approaches into their work, in order to achieve more successful outcomes. Welcoming America recently conducted a webinar for USCIS Office of Citizenship grantees on how to incorporate receiving communities principles into citizenship programs. Citizenship programs are ripe for bringing together newcomers and native born residents, attracting the involvement of local leaders, and promoting positive and unifying messages in the community about the contributions of our newest citizens. One USCIS-funded program using a receiving communities approach involves local high school students as volunteer tutors for their civics tutoring program. Another established a partnership with the local police department on a civic engagement initiative to help the immigrant population set up neighborhood crime watch programs. USCIS also incorporated receiving communities engagement in their funding application for citizenship programs, signaling the importance of this approach. Welcoming America is delighted to be working with USCIS as a partner in the growing receiving communities movement. To learn more about the Receiving Communities Initiative, visit www.receivingcommunities.org. Click here to read the most recent RCI e-news. Go Back

Vote Give Grow - and Support Welcoming!

Welcoming America | April 9, 2012

Want to support more welcoming communities? Cast your vote today at www.votegivegrow.com! [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"38","attributes":{"class":"media-image alignright size-full wp-image-3305","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"217","height":"103","title":"Starbucks_VGG_Logotype","alt":""}}]] Welcoming America has been chosen by Starbucks to partner in the Vote.Give.Grow program in recognition ofour efforts to make communities around the country more welcoming places for everyone who lives in them. During the month of April, you can support our affiliates in Long Island, Boise, St. Louis, and Chicago by voting for them online with your Starbucks card.  Each is in the running for up to $35,000 through the program. Welcoming America is proud to be partnering with Starbucks, who will be giving away a total of $4 million in grants to non-profits around the country that are working to build stronger communities.  Have you cast your first vote?  Here’s how to participate: 1. Go to  http://www.votegivegrow.com/ 2. Click on “Find an Organization” and search for “Welcoming” 3. Vote for one of our Welcoming affiliates! 4. Each account can vote once a week, throughout April.  So, sign up for email reminders to vote again each week. What you need: In order to vote you need a Starbucks Community Card, or customer rewards card.  Don’t have one?  You can get one online, or at any Starbucks location.  Once you have your card, you just need to register your account online at http://www.votegivegrow.com/ and start voting! How else you can help:
  • Send an email to your contacts!
  • Post on Facebook, Twitter (#votegivegrow)
  • Talk about it on your blog, text your friend, tell your neighbor
  • Come back and vote once a week, for the rest of April!
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You're Welcome! Kicks Off at SXSW

Welcoming America | March 5, 2012

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"37","attributes":{"class":"media-image alignright size-full wp-image-3084","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"281","height":"375","title":"welcome_SXSW_poster","alt":""}}]] The You’re Welcome! campaign, organized by Welcoming America, will kick-off on March 15th as part of the official South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival in Austin, TX with a day of music, comedy, dance parties and other creative approaches designed to fuel a cultural shift in the U.S. in support of immigrants and their contributions to the country. Welcoming America and its affiliates across the U.S. are launching the campaign to engage the creative community and younger generations in a movement that celebrates the fusion of cultures and creates a more welcoming America, community by community. The You’re Welcome! campaign kick off will include a free day of entertainment and dialogue on the official program of the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival. The events will include live music, comedy, and a dance party to celebrate the fusion of cultures in America. The event will also feature a panel discussion and invitation-only workshop, where artists and activists will discuss their role in creating a more welcoming culture in the U.S.. The confirmed performers include a diverse spectrum of artists that embody the concept of cultural fusion, and range from one of the hottest bands in Kenya to nationally acclaimed comedians from New York City and Austin. Musicians include Sauti Sol, Invincible, Martin Perna, Oliver Rajamani, and Riders Against the Storm. Comedians include Negin Farsad (recently named one of the 50 Funniest Women by the Huffington Post), Lucas Molandes, and Chris Cubas. Details on performers are listed below. A complete program is available at www.welcomingamerica.org/urwelcome. The goals of the You’re Welcome! campaign, which is in development, are to:
  • Engage artists, musicians, and comedians in a creative campaign that will highlight the positive influence of immigrants on American life and promote the value of foreign-born and native-born communities working together creatively to create art and social change.
  • Inspire younger generations to be part of the Welcoming movement, and engage them as leaders in making their communities more welcoming places.
  • Shift the dialogue on immigrants from one of fear-mongering to one of welcoming. A Welcoming climate is one that celebrates positive contributions, and reflects a vibrant sense of community that emerges from building mutual respect and cooperation between foreign-born and native-born Americans.
You’re Welcome Performers Musicians: Sauti Sol –a captivating Kenyan band comprised of three vocalists and a guitarist, Sauti Sol possesses an unequaled sound difficult to confine to one genre. By blending a recognizably pop sound with the traditional Kenyan music of their youth and influences ranging from African artists Lokua Kanza, Fadhili Williams, Daudi Kabaka, Fally Ipupa and Salif Keita to British and American artists Coldplay and Jason Mraz, Sauti Sol offers an accessible and internationally appealing spin on world music. Riders Against the Storm - Jbro and Tiger make up this husband-wife hip hop duo and dance party hosts, who use music and art as a vehicle for upliftment, social change and sustainable living. Martin Perna –Founder of the musical groups Antibalas and Ocote Soul Sounds, Perna is an Austin-based educator, social entrepreneur, and multidisciplinary artist. Invincible - The Detroit based Hip-Hop artist Invincible is well-known for her blend of spitfire wordplay Oliver Rajamani - Rajamani’s music defies borders to create a unique style described as Texas Indian Gypsy. Rajamani blends eastern and western musical elements such as Texas blues and Roma swing, along with social activism. Comedians: Negin Farsad - Recently named one of the 50 Funniest Women by the Huffington Post, Farsad is no stranger to SXSW; her Nerdcore Rising film premiered at the SXSW Film Festival to sold-out houses and critical praise. Lucas Molandes - A defining talent of the Austin comedy scene, Molandes’ appearances include Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival. Chris Cubas - Called "...one of the funniest and most cogent people you're ever going to witness" by the Austin Chronicle, Chris Cubas is a favorite of the Austin comedy scene and recently won second place in the 2011 Funniest Person in Austin contest. Maggie Maye - Maggie has been called one of the funniest up and coming comics in Austin, has been a finalist in the Funniest Person in Austin contest and was featured in Austin Monthly magazine. She’s also been a featured performer at Fun Fun Fun Fest, the Women in Comedy Festival, and the New Orleans Comedy Arts Festival. Ramin Nazer – A stand-up comedian based in Austin, in 2011 he performed as one of the New Faces of Comedy at the Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal recently as a featured comic guest on The Late Late Show.   Go Back

The Receiving Communities Movement Has Launched!

Welcoming America | September 22, 2011

Learn more about the receiving communities initiative, an effort to build a movement of individuals and organizations focused on building understanding and easing tensions between long-time residents and new arrivals in communities that have seen recent immigrant population growth. Welcoming America is helping to lead this initiative and is featured prominently in the report.
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Congratulations to our July 2011 Friends of Welcoming Prize Winners!

Welcoming America | August 1, 2011

Congratulations to our July 2011 Friends of Welcoming Prize Winners!   Individual Winners:   First Prize to Angela Ferguson with 19000 points! Angela has won $100 to be given to the non-profit of her choice.  Congratulations, Angela!   Second Prize to Dena Dyer with 7550 points! Dena has won a fabulous Prize Pack with a hardcover copy of "Outcasts United", a Welcoming America keychain, a handmade card crafted by the artists of Empowered Women International in an organic Welcoming America tote bag!  Congratulations, Dena!   Random Third Prize to Hilary Greene with 750 points!  Hilary has won $100 to be given to the non-profit of her choice.  Congratulations, Hilary!   Team Winners:   First Prize to Kayla's Team with 2250 points! Kayla's Team has won $100 to be given to the non-profit of her choice.  Congratulations, Kayla's Team!   Second Prize to Welcoming Westside Cincinnati with 1650 points! Welcoming Westside Cincinnati has won a fabulous Prize Pack with a hardcover copy of "Outcasts United", a Welcoming America keychain, a handmade card crafted by the artists of Empowered Women International in an organic Welcoming America tote bag!  Congratulations, Welcoming Westside Cincinnati!   Random Third Prize to Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church with 500 points!  Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church has won $100 to be given to the non-profit of her choice.  Congratulations, Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church!   Congratulations again to all our winners!  The points will now reset, although we will keep a record of points for the Grand Prize awarded at the end of 12 months.  Keep playing, everyone, our second round of winners will be announced September 1!   Visit Friends of Welcoming today at www.friendsofwelcoming.com to get started now! Go Back

Hear Recording: Increasing the Civic Participation of Immigrants through Welcoming Initiatives

Welcoming America | July 6, 2011

Welcoming America  participated in the Campaign for a Stronger Democracy's monthly conference call on July 7, 2011: Download or listen to the full conference call here. Here's the description of the event from the Campaign for Stronger Democracy: Over sixty democracy reformers and interested callers participated in July’s Democracy Exchange, which featured speakers from Welcoming America and the Institute for Local Government in California. David Lubell and Jessy Molina spoke about the work that Welcoming America has done to work with communities and help create a smoother integration process both for new Americans and for existing residents. Terry Amsler and Mahvash Hassan spoke about the work of the Institute for Local Government in California, which connects local communities with decision makers to create a collaborative approach to immigrant integration. ILG has helped identify two cities where local government is an integral partner in developing multisectoral "Welcoming style" initiatives in their communities. For a description of these efforts see this post from the ILG website: California Communities Plan Initiatives to Strengthen Relationships Between Immigrants and Longer-Term Residents The conversation was moderated by Carolyn Lukensmeyer of America Speaks. Download or listen to the full conference call here. Go Back

Welcoming America Receives Draper Richards Kaplan Fellowship!

Welcoming America | June 24, 2011

Welcoming America is pleased to announce that it has won one of the top awards for new non-profits, a Draper Richards Kaplan Fellowship! In a global search, Welcoming America was identified as one of the highest-potential new non-profits and was awarded the prestigious Draper Richards Kaplan nonprofit social entrepreneur fellowship.
This award recognizes Welcoming America’s important work in promoting immigrant integration by engaging immigrant host communities. The award is a testament both to the important work of Welcoming America’s affiliates and the exciting potential for the network’s expansion in the future. Much of the funding will go towards supporting Welcoming America’s expanding number of affiliate organizations. We are excited and energized to continue to build a movement that transforms the country into a nation of neighbors, community by community.
The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation works to support visionary social entrepreneurs who generate sustainable impact at a large scale. The Foundation finds nonprofits led by talented social entrepreneurs with high impact models, funds those early stage nonprofit organizations with $300,000 over three years and supports their growth and impact by serving as a board member and creating a learning community for the nonprofit leaders. This strategy has yielded strong social returns to date. The Foundation’s First fund started in 2002 and contributed $14 million to 30 nonprofit organizations. The portfolio addresses a range of issues domestically and internationally, including education, health, economic development, human rights and civic engagement. Organizations grew significantly during their time in the portfolio, increasing their budget on average 10x and reporting that their impact more than doubled each year.
For more information about the Draper Richards Kaplan foundation, please visit:
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Get Started

Welcoming America | June 14, 2011

Friends of Welcoming is an interactive game around our mission of making our nation a more welcoming place!

You can play as yourself, with a team, or with your organization. You earn points for doing welcoming activities, which include things like  signing a Welcoming Pledge or organizing an event to bringing immigrants and non-immigrants together, as well other activities like watching a Welcome to Shelbyville interactive video or sharing the site with your friends. Each month, you can win fabulous prizes with your points, such as $100 to a nonprofit of your choosing, prize packs full of goodies, and more. Every year, the top points-earning individuals and teams will compete for the grand prize of $2500 to the charity of their choice. Beyond prizes, Friends of Welcoming will also be a place for you to connect with people all over the country who are working to make our country welcoming to all. The following actions are a great way to get situated with Friends of Welcoming and the Welcoming America philosophy. You can also access the full list of actions anytime!
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Complete Your User Profile (1000 points)

Simply upload an avatar and complete your profile to earn easy points and get started.
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"23","attributes":{"class":"media-image aligncenter size-thumbnail wp-image-1730","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"50","height":"50","title":"We The People","alt":""}}]]

Sign the Welcoming Pledge (250 points)

Add your name to the growing list of people working to build a more welcoming nation.
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"24","attributes":{"class":"media-image alignright size-thumbnail wp-image-1332","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"50","height":"50","title":"Welcoming TN Shelbyville Billboard","alt":""}}]]

Share a Welcoming Story (1,100 points)

If you have a personal immigration story, if you ever welcomed an immigrant—or know of an immigrant that was welcomed—into your community, share your story with the help of Shelbyville Multimedia!
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"25","attributes":{"class":"media-image alignright size-thumbnail wp-image-1206","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"50","height":"50","title":"webisode 200x100","alt":""}}]]

Watch & Discuss: "New Neighbors Give Thanks" (750 points)

Watch the following Shelbyville Multimedia webisode and earn points by answering the discussion questions. Watch and discuss with friends for even more points.
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"26","attributes":{"class":"media-image alignright size-thumbnail wp-image-1626","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"50","height":"50","title":"Refer a Friend","alt":""}}]]

Refer a Friend (100 points)

Refer a friend (or friends!) to Friends of Welcoming to earn points and help grow the site and achieve a more welcoming country for us all.
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"27","attributes":{"class":"media-image size-thumbnail wp-image-1615 aligncenter","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"50","height":"50","title":"feedback","alt":""}}]]

Give Your Feedback (100 points)

We want to hear from you on what you like and dislike about Friends of Welcoming. Let us know–and earn points for it too!

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