Local communities across the country have long seen the positive effects of a growing immigrant population. An influx in newcomers has driven population growth, revitalized neighborhoods, spurred innovation, and enriched communities with cultural diversity. In the face of this, many local governments, chambers of commerce, and nonprofits have been thinking more proactively about how to create an environment that sends a message of inclusion and social cohesion, maximizes the contributions of all residents, and gives community members the tools they need to thrive together.
To support and scale these pursuits, in 2016 New American Economy (NAE) — now the American Immigration Council — and Welcoming America (WA) launched the Gateways for Growth Challenge (G4G), a competitive opportunity for public and private sector organizations to jointly apply for up to three tiers of support to facilitate local immigrant integration and inclusion:
In many places, a lack of information around who immigrants are and how they engage in the economy prevents communities from designing programs that maximize the skills and talent of their international populations. G4G awardees receive customized research reports that highlight the economic and demographic impact of immigrants locally, including their tax contributions and spending power, roles in the local labor force, population and demographic trends, and other key information. This research can be used to inform existing planning processes, or can be used to start the conversation on why a community should develop an immigrant integration strategy. G4G awardees who only received research may reapply the following year for technical assistance.
Explore past G4G research reports using the G4G map
Awardees receive individualized technical assistance from NAE and WA to support the development of a multi-sector welcoming plan during the one year period of their G4G award. The planning process includes building connections with community stakeholders, convening working groups, and developing and presenting the strategic plan. During this time, awardees participate in monthly check-in calls with the G4G team, through which NAE and WA provide consultation on the planning process, help troubleshoot challenges, and connect communities to examples and resources, as appropriate. Awardees also have opportunities to connect with current and prior G4G awardees for peer-to-peer learning.
Explore past Welcoming Plans using the G4G map
Applicants that secure a commitment from a local funder (a community foundation, corporate sponsor, local government, etc.) to support this work will be eligible to receive a small planning grant of up to $12,500—to be matched locally for a total of up to $25,000—towards their strategic planning process (in-kind donations are ineligible for this match). Some ways these funds could be used include, but are not limited to, hosting an initial convening of stakeholders; hiring a consultant to advise or facilitate the planning process; supplementing staff time of a point-person for managing or facilitating the strategic planning process; hosting immigrant and refugee roundtables; and developing a community outreach and messaging campaign. All matching grant awardees are expected to participate in the direct technical assistance program.
Note: Matching Grants not provided for 2020 Awardees.
The American Immigration Council works to strengthen America by shaping how America thinks about and acts towards immigrants and immigration and by working toward a more fair and just immigration system that opens its doors to those in need of protection and unleashes the energy and skills that immigrants bring.
Visit www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org to learn more.
Welcoming America leads a movement of inclusive communities across the world that are becoming more prosperous by making everyone who lives there feel like they belong. Through a membership network of 200+ local governments and nonprofits, Welcoming America connects and supports place-based initiatives that work to reduce divisions and support greater civic, social, and economic participation among new and longtime residents alike. Through the Welcoming Network, participating members access peer learning opportunities, technical assistance, tools, and training to help transform their communities into more welcoming places. Learn more at welcomingamerica.org.