As cities across the nation aim to make newcomers feel welcome, the lack of funding often stands in the way. Thanks to the Gateways for Growth Challenge, or G4G, many cities now have a way around this roadblock.
Created in 2015 by Welcoming America and New American Economy, this program offers qualifying cities financial and planning support in creating a multiyear strategic plan to help immigrants adapt and prosper in their communities. These cities also receive “on the ground” technical assistance from the sponsoring organizations.
Winners are chosen for having “demonstrated a strong commitment… to recognize and highlight the contributions immigrants are making,” including “bolstering population growth, increasing the tax base, creating new businesses and jobs, and adding vibrancy and culture to our social fabric.”
More than 40 cities have created and implement immigrant integration goals though G4G with matching grants up to $12,500, including 20 cities in 2016 alone.
The Gateways for Growth Challenge was inspired by the accomplishments of Mayor Kasim Reed and the City of Atlanta, Georgia. Under Reed’s goal of making the city more welcoming to immigrants, Atlanta joined Welcoming America’s Welcoming Cities and Counties Initiative. As a result, the Mayoral Welcoming Atlanta Working group was created. Comprised of 21 community leaders representing different community interests, the group engaged with at least 100 individuals during the three month planning period, with assistance from Welcoming America and New American Economy.
The team organize their focus into six categories: ensuring equitable access to basic services, expanding educational opportunities, facilitating economic empowerment, enhancing public safety, fostering a connected community and building immigrant civic engagement and leadership. Due to their efforts and the mayor’s commitment to this cause, Atlanta’s Office of Immigrant Affairs was formally established in 2015.
G4G now allow government officials from around the country to bring similar goals to fruition.
Recently, G4G announced 25 winners for 2017, which includes San Diego, California, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Missoula, Montana.