June 13, 2023
BALTIMORE, MD — Today, the Welcome Corps program announced World Relief’s designation as a Private Sponsorship Organization to assist with nationwide refugee resettlement efforts. The Welcome Corps program was first launched in January 2023, allowing everyday Americans to privately sponsor refugees and assist them in the process of resettling in the United States. As a Private Sponsorship Organization, World Relief will expand the reach of their resettlement services through new private sponsorship groups around the country that are able to welcome refugees and provide them with support and resources they need to rebuild their lives in the United States.
“We are thrilled to join the Welcome Corps as a private sponsor organization. While World Relief has always worked closely with local churches in welcoming refugees, our reach has been limited by the geographic scope of our local offices,” said Aerlande Wontamo, senior vice president of U.S. Programs at World Relief. “However, through Welcome Corps, we now have the opportunity to expand our reach and partner with churches and communities that have long expressed their desire to welcome refugees. This partnership enables us to respond to the current era of unprecedented displacement, enhance our capacity to welcome more refugees, and equip communities eager to extend welcome to their new neighbors.”
The Welcome Corps program comes at a time of broad support for refugee resettlement among Americans overall, but especially among evangelical Christians who are eager to participate in the call to serve the vulnerable. The Welcome Corps private sponsorship program will allow World Relief to partner with additional church-based Good Neighbor Teams to carry out core private sponsorship services, including providing refugees with assistance in securing employment, safe housing, and education opportunities for children, along with cultural orientation services that empower individuals to make community connections.
“For almost 80 years, World Relief has been responding to the global refugee crisis. Founded in the aftermath of World War II to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs of war-torn Europe, our work has touched the lives of millions of people in over 100 countries, many of whom have now found refuge and a safe place to call home here in the U.S. At a time of unprecedented displacement, innovative programs like the Welcome Corps are needed to expand U.S. resettlement to the persecuted abroad,” said Myal Greene, president and CEO of World Relief. “For years, many faith communities have desired to welcome refugees, but found themselves outside the current U.S. resettlement areas. As a private sponsor organization, we will use our
decades of expertise in equipping churches and communities to catalyze a greater movement of Americans ready to welcome refugees as their neighbors.”
To learn more about World Relief’s involvement with the Welcome Corps program and how to get involved, please visit https://worldrelief.org/private-sponsorship/.
About Welcome Corps
The Welcome Corps was launched by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), and is being implemented by a consortium of six organizations with expertise in refugee resettlement, protection, and welcome. Led by the Community Sponsorship Hub, the consortium includes Church World Service/Refugee Welcome Collective, IRIS – Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), International Rescue Committee (IRC), and Welcome.US. The Welcome Corps aims to mobilize at least 10,000 Americans in 2023 to welcome refugees through private sponsorship.
Refugee newcomers who arrive through the Welcome Corps will 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 initial sponsorship period.
Americans interested in learning more about sponsorship or to apply to the Welcome Corps should visit WelcomeCorps.org.
About World Relief
World Relief is a global Christian humanitarian organization whose mission is to empower the local church to serve the most vulnerable. The organization was founded in the aftermath of World War II to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs of war-torn Europe. Since then, for over 75 years, across 100 countries, World Relief has partnered with local churches and communities to develop sustainable, locally-driven solutions to some of the world’s greatest problems. To learn more, visit worldrelief.org.