Welcome.US | Press - Welcome.US Launches Effort to Meet Urgent Needs of Afghan Refugees and Nation’s First In-Kind Giving Platform
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For Immediate Release:
December 13, 2021

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Welcome.US Launches Effort to Meet Urgent Needs of Afghan Refugees and Nation’s First In-Kind Giving Platform

$3 million in supplies and resources committed, ‘Welcome Exchange’ online portal connects businesses directly to resettlement organizations.

Accenture, CVS, Harry’s, Target, Starbucks, Serta Simmons Bedding, Walgreens, and P&G among 90 organizations supporting Afghan arrivals via Welcome.US and Welcome Exchange

Washington, D.C.—Today, Welcome.US announced a first-of-its kind tool called the Welcome Exchange— an online portal for matching businesses that are willing and able to give support and resources with the specific local needs of Afghan newcomers identified by nonprofits and resettlement groups.

Designed to address the problem of businesses wanting to help, but not knowing how to best direct their time and resources, the easy-to-navigate tool ensures that contributions are targeted where they are needed most. Through the Welcome Exchange, businesses can access an online database that shows the real-time needs of resettlement organizations and offer in-kind donations of supplies and services. For example, when several Church World Service affiliates were seeking mattresses in Texas and Indiana, Good360 was able to fill the need by delivering hundreds of mattresses quickly.

“The Welcome Exchange is trailblazing a new way for the business community — including local businesses — to meet the needs of arriving refugees with dignity,” said Welcome.US CEO Nazanin Ash. “Frontline organizations can now post the specific needs of the refugees they support and serve. Businesses can search by location, goods, and services needed, and directly fulfill needs in their communities. We hope that by making these needs specific and visible in real time, the Welcome Exchange can more quickly and easily match the on-the-ground needs of frontline service organizations with the outpouring of support from the private sector — and that no need goes unfulfilled.”

To date, there are more than 300 postings requesting hundreds of thousands of needs, ranging from diapers and mattresses to hygiene and housing. More than 90 organizations, including Harry’s, Starbucks, P&G, Hasbro, and Serta Simmons Bedding have stepped up to offer support with commitments totaling more than $3 million. For example, P&G is contributing everyday essential personal health, hygiene, and cleaning products and ADT, a franchise of Pizza Hut, provided Pizza Hut gift cards as an opportunity for families to share a meal as they make their transition into their new homes. Notably, Good360, in partnership with several name brands, donated more than $1 million in clothing and mattresses to support new Afghan arrivals.

“We are proud to partner with Welcome.US to help meet the needs of Afghan evacuees through the organization’s Welcome Exchange portal,” said Matt Connelly, CEO of Good360. “We, along with our corporate donors, understand the importance of getting these transformational items into the hands of the people who need them, reinforcing their dignity at this critical time of transition.“

Harry’s met all the current needs for razors, donating more than 13,000 razors, and nearly all of the requests for soap, providing over 8,000 bars of soap through the Welcome Exchange.

“At Harry’s we are committed to supporting the mental health and overall wellbeing of those in our community, especially those who need it most,” said Jeff Raider, Harry’s Co-Founder and Co-CEO. “We're honored to partner with Welcome.US to ensure that refugees feel welcomed to the United States and receive some of the essential products that they need everyday. We couldn't have executed this incredible feat without them, and we are incredibly grateful for their partnership.”

Similarly, Serta Simmons Bedding met the need for more than 1,000 mattresses through the Welcome Exchange

“Everyone should have a safe and comfortable place to sleep, and we are committed to working with local communities and organizations to provide mattresses to those in need,” said Esther Ni, Chief Human Resources Officer for Serta Simmons Bedding. We are proud to partner with Welcome.US and support the organization’s efforts to help local resettlement agencies welcome those seeking refuge in the U.S.”

The Welcome Exchange is powered by NeedsList, a women-owned technology company that began five years ago in response to the Syrian refugee emergency. Today, NeedsList builds software to power faster, more sustainable humanitarian action.

“We’re proud that the platform we built to support Syrian refugees is now being used to support Afghans as they start their new lives in the United States,” said NeedsList Co-Founder Amanda Levinson.

“The Welcome Exchange is vital, not only for the men, women, and children arriving on our shores, but for our communities as a whole as they become our neighbors,” said Erol Kekic, Senior Vice President for Programs at Church World Service, a national resettlement agency. “The generosity of the American people to welcome Afghan refugees has never been wanting — the moment Kabul fell to the Taliban, our offices were inundated with messages of how communities could help. What the Welcome Exchange brings is a way that businesses can identify how they can help in a very tangible way to get what’s needed to who needs it.”

Beyond the Welcome Exchange, the private sector is stepping up to help welcome our new Afghan refugees, including:

  • CVS Health Foundation made a financial contribution of $500,000 to help fund Welcome.US, and is donating products valued more than $300,000 to meet critical needs for our Afghan allies on military bases and in communities.
  • Target committed $500,000 to the Welcome Fund to broaden community participation in the resettlement of Afghan newcomers and meet important needs including food, housing, health and wellness, and other essentials.
  • Accenture committed $500,000 to Welcome.US and is providing valuable pro bono services, including support for the Welcome Exchange.
  • Walmart gave $500,000 to Welcome.US and the Welcome Fund and is meeting important needs of Afghan newcomers.
  • Walgreens is committing $100,000 to Welcome.US to support its work in meeting the needs of Afghan newcomers.

For more information on the Welcome Exchange and how to start posting opportunities available in your company, visit welcome.us/exchange or contact exchange@welcome.us

About Welcome.US

Welcome.US is a new national initiative built to unite, inspire, and empower the American people to welcome and support those seeking refuge here, starting with our new Afghan neighbors. In partnership with local and national resettlement agencies, Afghan-American organizations and leaders, refugees, community sponsorship groups, nonprofits, businesses, faith-based institutions, veterans, universities, three former Presidents and three former First Ladies, Welcome.US is the 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
For press inquiries, please contact press@welcome.us