Our 2023 impact

During a challenging year—with crises affecting populations around the world—Welcomers offered hope.

Providing support during tumultuous times

Deepening conflict and crises around the world—from our own hemisphere to the Middle East to ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine and longstanding conflicts in Afghanistan and Sudan—have forced more than 110 million people to flee their homes and seek safety where they can find it. They are often taking dangerous journeys, and facing uncertain outcomes in the communities where they are seeking refuge. National and local governments, here and around the world, are overwhelmed by the challenge of welcoming rising numbers of people in need of safety. Many migrants struggle to find shelter and other basic necessities, or access to legal work that will allow them to provide for themselves and contribute to their new communities. The stress on cities and communities is hardening hearts to the devastating circumstances that have forced so many to flee, and increasing the toxicity of our politics.

Another way is possible, and it is taking hold across the United States in systems that help more people in need of refuge arrive in ways that are safe, orderly, secure, and with the support and services they need to thrive alongside their new communities. This is the work of Welcome.US, and it could not be more urgent or more impactful.

Sparking a nationwide movement of welcoming

In 2021, Welcome.US was founded with one hypothesis: by mobilizing the private and civic sector and empowering Americans to help resettle newcomers, we would find the national capacity, and the commitment, to welcome more people in need of refuge in ways that ensure they and their new communities would thrive together.

Our hypothesis has proven true faster than we ever imagined. In just over two years, the United States has moved from a government system that welcomed just 11,400 refugees through the formal refugee resettlement system to an expansive public-private partnership that has welcomed nearly 500,000 refugee newcomers in safe, orderly ways in 11,000 zip codes across all 50 states.

Transforming lives

That momentum is not by chance, it’s based on the tangible and measurable proof that these programs are both effective in managing the global refugee crisis and also deeply resonant with our American communities.

With our partners, Welcome.US has helped design critical innovations that allow family, friends, and everyday Americans to sponsor refugee newcomers to come to safety in the United States. Community sponsorship allows individuals and families to arrive to the United States in planned, orderly ways. It allows newcomers to settle in communities across the United States, reducing the stress on our most highly impacted cities. Americans volunteer to be sponsors, providing the initial support—and sense of community—that newcomers need to succeed. And because it is led by our communities, it reduces pressure on tax dollars and public services, providing a sustainable and scalable solution for refugees in crisis. Remarkably, in story after story, we hear how this act of welcome transforms both the lives of newcomers, and the lives of those who welcomed them. It’s why Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Nick Kristof, for the second consecutive year, has profiled Welcome.US as a spotlight volunteer opportunity for his annual Holiday Impact Prize. Sponsorship changes lives, including the lives of those who volunteer to sponsor.

Welcoming at a glance

80 million people reached

#BeAWelcomer media and digital campaign has reached 80 million people thus far, with over 3.3 million visits to the Welcome.US website.

800 civic, community and private-sector partners

Welcome.US includes the broadest coalition ever—made up of veteran, faith, service, diaspora, and corporate organizations.

500,000 refugee newcomers

People in the US have welcomed nearly 500,000 refugee newcomers over the last 2+ years.

2,000+ donors

More than 2,000 donors to Welcome.US and the Welcome Fund helped to support sponsor and newcomer needs.

240 community organizations supported

Welcome.US funded over 240 community organizations through our Welcome Fund, which in turn mobilized over 26,000 volunteers to help welcome and resettle newcomers.

$18 million in donated goods

Welcomers have donated $18 million in goods, in addition to 45,000 phones and laptops, 200,000 phone plans, 850,000 airline miles, and 20,000 free flights.

Innovating solutions in refugee resettlement

These innovations were designed, first to respond to the Afghan crisis, then Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022. They proved so successful they’ve now been expanded to enduring crises, including in the Western Hemisphere, and to refugee populations around the world through the Welcome Corps, the boldest innovation in refugee resettlement in 40 years. And in a groundbreaking expansion of the Welcome Corps, Americans will soon be able to sponsor family members or other refugees they know to come to the United States through the program. This expansion of the Welcome Corps holds the promise of reuniting families and friends who have been separated from loved ones in the United States by crisis, and it makes it possible to provide refuge to allies.

Arriving through the Welcome Corps

The first privately sponsored refugee family—a multigenerational family of five—arrived through the Welcome Corps just before Independence Day.

Offering community and safety across America

From Unity, Wisconsin, a town of less than 400, to Hartsville, South Carolina, where Lakeview Baptist Church led the way, to a North Carolina Rotary Club that pooled its resources to support Ukrainian newcomers, to a Raleigh-based woman who’s sponsored women in need multiple times, to a Brooklyn family who asked how they could help, to our incredible diaspora communities, inspired by the opportunity to pay it forward—Americans are coming together to provide refugee newcomers what they need most: safety, a sense of belonging and inclusion, a new community when they’ve had to leave theirs behind, the dignity of work and the ability to make contributions worthy of their human potential.

After matching on Welcome Connect, Helen Krauss agreed to sponsor Viktoriia, Igor, and their two boys in Raleigh.
Inspired by her own experiences in Haiti, Marie sponsored Berlange, providing safety for her in the U.S.

Relying on the compassion of the private and civic sectors

This new vision for addressing displacement crises at scale would not be possible without the compassion, generosity, and ingenuity of our nation’s private and civic sectors. Alongside rapid innovations to expand community sponsorship, we've mobilized leading private and civic sector institutions to build the scaffolding to support a reimagined resettlement system. Private sector partners, led by our Welcome.US CEO Council, helped us build an online sponsorship hub with resources that have been downloaded nearly 350,000 times, and powered our efforts to spread the word to diaspora and other American communities about their ability to bring people to safety in the United States. They built a matching platform called Welcome Connect where sponsors could connect with refugees who needed one. With grants through the Welcome Fund, supported by over 2,000 large and small donors, we built a network of over 240 organizations in 40 states, mobilizing over 24,000 volunteers and sponsors in their communities to welcome their new neighbors. Welcome.US partners include Lions and Rotary Clubs, veteran and faith groups, and refugee and diaspora-led organizations. Private and civic sector partners innovated on employment, housing, flights, and matching grants for sponsors, who have contributed an estimated $7 billion in their own time and money to support newcomers arriving in the United States.

In September, leaders from the Welcome.US CEO Council companies convened with White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients and other White House leadership for a working session on how to sustain and expand the CEO Council’s innovations and systems transformations, while tackling the urgent migrant crisis in U.S. cities.

Realizing the future of welcoming

We are at a moment of unique transformation in the United States. Far from the toxicity of our national politics, a different narrative is emerging, centered on the desire of Americans in every corner of the map to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. As we close 2023, we find not only the promise of a new approach but the proof that it works. The mission now is to expand, strengthen, and sustain these new approaches—and we invite you to join us in shaping this new vision of hope and humanity.

Be a Welcomer

Discover how rewarding it can be to welcome newcomers into your community.

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