Welcoming Network members receive over $1 million to strengthen welcoming infrastructure for Afghan arrivals

Welcoming America is pleased to announce $1.25 million in grants from the Open Society Foundations to select local governments that support community efforts to meet the needs of new Afghan arrivals.

Rachel Perić, executive director of Welcoming America, co-chaired the selection committee with Rich André of the American Immigration Council. Each grantee will receive amounts ranging from $75,000 to $150,000 and join the growing Welcoming Network.

“This grant recognizes the longstanding efforts of community leaders from the public and private sectors across the U.S. to create welcoming communities for all. This is vital to not only supporting new Afghan neighbors, but also the robust infrastructure needed to support the arrival of Ukrainians and other new Americans in the future through strong public-private partnerships that go beyond humanitarian responses,” said Perić.

“State and local leaders are stepping up to welcome Afghan arrivals and ensure that our new neighbors are fully integrated into communities across the country,” said Rich André, Senior Policy Advisor for State and Local Initiatives at the American Immigration Council. “These funds will address Afghans’ immediate needs — ranging from housing and transportation to legal services — while also helping communities invest in inclusive policies and partnerships that will benefit all newcomers.”

There are currently an estimated 65,000 Afghan new arrivals who will make new homes in communities across the country in the coming months. The funds, provided by the Open Society Foundations, are meant to augment limited federal resources to help communities that are particularly invested in welcoming Afghans.

“Local government leaders are playing a critical role in welcoming Afghans and helping them to settle into new communities,” said Laleh Ispahani, co-director of Open Society-U.S. “We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with them in welcoming these newcomers. In making these grants and others like it we recognize that partnerships between local governments and community groups are essential in building inclusive communities and are contributing to a growing movement of ‘welcome’ across the country.”

Each community will also join a group with other government leaders and their partners to share best practices. The group will be facilitated by Welcoming America, which works to support communities building a welcoming society where every person, including immigrants, can fully contribute and shape our shared prosperity. The American Immigration Council, which works to create a more fair and just immigration system, will partner on this effort.

Read more about what some of the grantee communities plan to do with the funds: