Sponsor groups applying to be matched through the Welcome Corps can qualify for grants to help with basic necessities and other core services

THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2024 | Media Contact: press@welcomecorps.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.— This World Refugee Day, the Welcome Corps is pleased to announce the expansion of the Sponsor Fund to provide financial assistance to sponsor groups applying to welcome refugees they do not already know. This move is part of the Welcome Corps’ ongoing commitment to make private sponsorship of refugees more accessible and encourage more groups to engage in the rewarding experience of sponsorship

Now through July 31, sponsor groups applying to be matched with a refugee can qualify for grant funding up to $2,425 per refugee welcomed, making it easier to meet the minimum financial requirements of forming a sponsor group. This means sponsor groups do not need to complete fundraising before applying to Welcome Corps. The Sponsor Fund is made possible through the generous private philanthropy efforts led by the Shapiro Foundation in partnership with the Community Sponsorship Hub, WelcomeNST, Steve Kaufer, and GoFundMe.org.

Through the Welcome Corps, Americans from all walks of life can play a critical role in the lives of refugees by providing essential support to ensure refugees feel secure and empowered to be active members of the communities welcoming them. Welcome Corps sponsors help newly arriving refugees with things like securing housing, accessing healthcare, enrolling children in school, finding employment, and integrating into the local community. A key part of sponsorship is covering basic expenses like rent, household goods, groceries, and clothing during the first 90 days of the refugee(s)’ arrival until they can cover costs themselves.

“Every community should have the opportunity to support and welcomes refugees. However, financial constraints can delay groups who are applying to sponsor a refugee they don’t already know. The Welcome Corps and the Sponsor Fund are making it possible for a broader range of groups to get involved and help refugees find safe, supportive homes more quickly,” said Annie Nolte-Henning, executive director of the Community Sponsorship Hub, the organization leading the consortium implementing the Welcome Corps.

At the end of 2023, more than 117 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced, according to a new UNHCR report. Since the U.S. Department of State launched the Welcome Corps in January 2023, more than 87,000 individuals across all 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico have signed up to welcome more than 30,000 refugees. The Sponsor Fund hopes to inspire more Americans to participate in this vital humanitarian effort. The dedication and compassion of sponsors paired with private sector support has a profound impact on the lives of those seeking safety.

Groups applying to be matched with a refugee or family they do not already know are invited to apply for assistance through the Sponsor Fund and start their sponsorship journey today. Once a group’s Sponsor Fund application is conditionally approved, the group will receive an award letter to upload as part of their Welcome Corps application submission. Disbursement of funds is contingent upon successful sponsor group certification and matching with a refugee already approved for resettlement. All sponsors must complete background checks as part of the Welcome Corps application process.

For more information on eligibility and how to apply, or learn about ways to support the fund, visit: https://welcomecorps.org/sponsorfund.

About the Welcome Corps

The Welcome Corps was launched by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) in January 2023, and is implemented by a consortium of seven organizations with extensive expertise in refugee resettlement, protection of vulnerable populations, and integration into welcoming communities. Led by the Community Sponsorship Hub, the consortium includes Church World Service/Refugee Welcome Collective, HIAS, IRIS – Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), International Rescue Committee (IRC), and Welcome.US.

Refugees who arrive through the Welcome Corps follow an established government process that includes extensive security vetting and health checks. They will have refugee status, employment authorization, access to key public benefits like health insurance, and can eventually apply for U.S. citizenship. The Welcome Corps provides sponsor groups with access to tools and resources, including a budget template, fundraising support, an arrival checklist, and ongoing guidance throughout the sponsorship period.

About the Sponsor Fund

The Sponsor Fund by Community Sponsorship Hub helps Welcome Corps sponsors overcome financial barriers so that community members can support more refugees as they recover and regain their futures in the United States. Thanks to The Sponsor Fund, groups can sponsor refugees where it wasn’t possible before, better leverage other community resources, and inspire others to participate in welcome.