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Welcoming America - Building a Nation of Neighbors
Immigrant integration isn't new to Community Science. In fact, CS has been involved in immigrant integration work since 1999, when we provided technical assistance and other support to a national effort funded by the Ford and Mott Foundations in partnership with six local foundations to build relationships between long-time residents and newcomers. IN 2005, we evaluated The Colorado Trust's Immigrant Integration Initiative. That same year, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees commissioned Community Science to write the evaluation-related sections of a toolkit that included a wide range of resources to meet the information needs of foundations that sought to support immigrant integration work. Based on the research and findings of these and many other projects, Principal Associate and Vice President, Kien Lee, presented on the definition and meaning of immigrant integration at the International Community Psychology Conference in Lisbon in 2010.
Today, Community Science has partnered with Welcoming America (WA) to assess WA's efforts to transform communities into more welcoming and integrated places.
Welcoming America's approach to immigrant integration in unique in that they focus on the receiving community.
Immigrant integration is "... a dynamic, two-way process in which newcomers and the receiving society work together to build secure, vibrant, and cohesive communities" (as defined by Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees , 2006)
However, much of the work in the United States, thus afar, has mainly focused on one-side of the framework - helping immigrants adjust to like in the United States. Welcoming America works to fill this void. The goals of Welcoming America's work are to:
- Establish a more positive dynamic in which cities and communities are taking active step to become more welcoming places; and
- Broaden the conversation on immigrant integration.
For more information on Welcoming America's work, please visit their website at http://www.welcomingamerica.org
Community Science and Welcoming America are also collaborating to develop a set of indicators of a welcoming community, which will also become the basis for a roadmap for cities and communities that seek to become more welcoming to immigrants. The support form the German Marshall Fund has transformed this idea into a tangible project. Now with preliminary work of the study underway, Community Science and Welcoming America are hopeful that our work will soon enable many cities and communities to become more welcoming.