Welcome Fund Awards $1.5 Million in Grants to 39 Organizations Helping Support Afghan Allies

Press Release

May 11, 2023


74% of grantees are affiliated with veteran, Afghan, refugee, Muslim, or other faith-based groups; Grants will invest in local, regional, and national efforts, serving 33,400 Afghan newcomers

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Welcome Fund, a project of Welcome.US and administered by GoFundMe.org, is awarding over $1.5 million to 39 local and national organizations engaging Americans in supporting Afghan newcomers.

This funding provides one-year grants to organizations in 30 states and the District of Columbia that are working to recruit and engage volunteers to directly support Afghan newcomers. The Welcome Fund selected grantees based on their ability to engage community members in assisting Afghan newcomers and prioritized three key service areas identified as top needs: workforce development, social emotional wellness, and education and career support for transitional-aged young adults.

In total, the Welcome Fund received 149 applications representing a wide range of volunteer engagement approaches. The 39 grantees will collectively serve 33,400 Afghans and engage 5,470 community members in supporting newcomers as they rebuild their lives in the United States.

Welcome.US CEO Nazanin Ash highlighted the grant winners at the 2023 Voices of Courage Awards Luncheon hosted by the Women’s Refugee Commission in New York City.

“More than a year after the fall of Kabul, communities across America continue to welcome and assist our Afghan allies as they transition to life in the United States. These grants from the Welcome Fund will help ensure we have the volunteer capacity and organizational infrastructure to meet their needs, from job and skills training to emotional health support and mentorship,” said Ash.

“With this funding, we are recognizing the critical role of community-based organizations in refugee resettlement and equipping newcomers with the tools they need to thrive. At a moment when forced displacement is at an all-time high globally and basic human rights are under threat, we are building a nation of welcomers to support the long-term success of all those seeking refuge, now and into the future.”

Some of the organizations receiving support from the Welcome Fund in this round of funding include:

  • The Spero Project based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, works to serve the refugee community by connecting them with relationships, resources, and learning opportunities. The organization matches local volunteers with women newcomers to expand their social networks and foster long-term, reciprocal relationships in Oklahoma City. Volunteers play key roles as classroom assistants, leading one-on-one study sessions, transporting off-site newcomers to classrooms and permit tests, and providing transportation to employment.
  • Immigrant and Refugee Outreach Center (IROC), serving the national capital region (Washington D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia), harnesses the power of community to welcome newcomers by delivering support, education, and outreach. IROC’s immensely successful New Neighbor Program (NNP) connects newcomers with volunteers to identify resources to meet social, financial, and material needs, including food assistance, workforce development, and career support.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, has a mission to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. With this grant, Boys & Girls Club volunteers will serve as mentors to Afghan newcomers, providing career and academic support.
  • Special Operations Association of America (SOAA) and Moral Compass Federation, have been leaders in the veteran community in assisting and advocating for Afghan veteran newcomers. SOAA, in partnership with Moral Compass Federation and 11 volunteer-run membership organizations with a nationwide network of veterans, have the goal to improve the employment skills and opportunities and social emotional wellness of an estimated 4,000 Afghan Special Operations Forces (SOF) veterans and families.

A full list of grantees is available here.

“We are thrilled to partner with Welcome.US on this Afghan-focused Welcome Fund announcement,” said Amanda Brown Lierman, Interim Executive Director of GoFundMe.org. “It’s an honor to do our part to support the hundreds of nonprofits working to help resettle our new neighbors. And we remain grateful for and inspired by the grantees for their efforts to help those fleeing impossible circumstances. This partnership is a demonstration of our shared mission to provide help and vision for a better future—and an incredible showcase of collective impact.”

To learn more and donate to the Welcome Fund, visit welcome.us/welcomefund.

About Welcome.US

At Welcome.US, our mission is to unleash the desire and capacity of Americans to welcome newcomers and help them thrive. We operate on the evidence that direct participation with newcomers transforms both the welcomer and those being welcomed. By making it easier for Americans from all walks of life to participate in the work of welcoming—and telling their stories—we are building a movement that celebrates America’s welcoming spirit by providing an opportunity to serve for all who seek to welcome. Our diverse community of Welcomers reaches across real and perceived divides to meet the needs of newcomers more effectively. In partnership with local and national resettlement agencies, diaspora organizations and leaders, refugees, community sponsorship groups, nonprofits, businesses, faith-based institutions, veterans, universities, four former Presidents and four former First Ladies, Welcome.US is a single point of entry for Americans who want to get involved and support those who are starting new lives in the United States.

To learn more about Welcome.US, please visit welcome.us.

A project of Welcome.US, the Welcome Fund provides philanthropy, major donors, and the private sector an effective and coordinated national mechanism that will enable communities to not only support those seeking refuge, but also to build a movement of welcome that extends beyond this immediate crisis. The Welcome Fund is governed by an independent Advisory Committee that ensures that funds are disbursed with integrity and directed to address the most pressing needs and emerging issues. The Advisory Committee is comprised of leaders who bring lived experience, refugee resettlement expertise, grantmaking knowledge, and other resources that are essential to executing the Welcome Fund’s mission.

About GoFundMe.org GoFundMe.org, a 501(c)(3) public charity, manages and receives donations for the Welcome Fund from individual and philanthropic donors. Recommendations for potential grantees are made by the Welcome Fund Advisory Committee to GoFundMe.org, which provides rigorous fiduciary and compliance oversight; supports rapid deployment of grants; and ensures timely and transparent reporting.

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