Welcome Fund Awards $200,000 to Three Indiana Organizations Supporting the Training and Education of Afghan Newcomers

Press Release

July 12, 2022


More than $19 million raised since Welcome.US launched in September

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the Welcome Fund awarded $200,000 in grants to three community-based nonprofits focused on the training and education of Afghan newcomers in the state of Indiana. The grants were made possible by the Strada Education Network.

This is the third set of grants announced by the Welcome Fund, an initiative of Welcome.US, to leverage philanthropic support so that Afghans and others fleeing their homelands are connected to welcoming communities across the United States. The Welcome Fund has disbursed more than $14 million to 175 organizations since its launch in September 2021.

“Strada Education Network is proud to support these impactful organizations,” said Daryl Graham, Strada's Senior Vice President for HBCU and Engagement. “These grantees have already shown an unwavering commitment to supporting those in their communities, and the education and training support they will provide our newcomers from Afghanistan will provide them with opportunities to create fulfilling lives in Indiana. We’re excited to see these organizations rise to meet the needs of their new neighbors.”

Since last August, more than 75,000 Afghans have arrived in the United States and in response, hundreds of nonprofits have stepped up to support their transition into their new homes. These frontline organizations tap into their communities’ local capacity to meet a whole host of needs, ranging from securing permanent housing, providing food supplies, teaching English, mentoring jobseekers, and more. Continued support of these community-based efforts will be critical as Afghan newcomers establish roots here in the United States.

Today’s grantees are nonprofits that bring a wide range of assets to the welcoming infrastructure, including new networks of volunteers, language and cultural competencies, and knowledge of and support to navigate U.S. systems.

Grantees include:

  • Immigrant Welcome Center: Founded in 2005, under the leadership of former First Lady of Indianapolis Amy Minick Peterson to ensure that all new neighbors feel welcomed, the Immigrant Welcome Center is dedicated to ensuring all immigrants are thriving. Their mission is to be a trusted partner and advocate for all immigrants.

  • Indy Reads: Based in Marion County, Indy Reads’ mission is to build the literacy, English language, and job readiness skills to empower adults and families to reach their full potential with the ultimate goal of 100% literacy for all. The nonprofit’s free community programming is hosted in their bookstore, virtually, and in Community Classrooms throughout Marion County and proudly serves adults of all literacy skills levels, including the most beginning-level, in compliance with Federal education and workforce training standards.

  • Project Azul: Based in Indianapolis, Project Azul’s mission is to provide individuals with the flexible training and financial assistance needed to transition into full-time positions offering higher wages, access to benefits, and a pathway to career advancement.

Statements from the grantees

“Immigrant Welcome Center is grateful for this generous grant from Welcome.US. This grant will enhance our capacity to provide wraparound services and integrate our new Afghan neighbors in Central Indiana,” said Gurinder Kaur, CEO of the Immigrant Welcome Center. “We will be able to help them by providing appropriate literacy-level English classes, connecting with resources for employment, and accessing other essential services.”

“Welcome.US aims to ensure newcomers are welcomed and able to survive and thrive here in Indy and across the U.S. Indy Reads does just that. Providing a safe and engaging home for English literacy for nearly 40 years, we proudly serve a growing refugee and immigrant population as essential members of our community,” said Ruba Marshood, CEO of Indy Reads. “We are excited to continue expanding our programming to meet the needs and dreams of our newest neighbors—now and into the future.”

“Project Azul is proud to welcome Afghan newcomers to their new community. We look forward to working with our local partners to support our new neighbors and build a more inclusive community,” said Yecenia Tostado, Executive Director of Project Azul. “These funds will allow us to support their long-term success in Central Indiana by helping them to gain new skills and secure good jobs.”

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, an independent 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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