Certified Welcoming Blog

How to become Certified Welcoming

Your top questions about Certified Welcoming answered. Since 2017, Certified Welcoming has set the highest bar in welcoming work. This designation is reserved for communities whose policies and programs reflect their values and commitment to immigrant inclusion. In 2023, we relaunched the Certified Welcoming program under the Welcoming Standard 2.0 with new and refreshed criteria….

Read More
Group photo of partners in Champaign celebrating the announcement of their Certified Welcoming designation.

‘You can’t be silent about welcoming’: How Champaign, Illinois leads on immigrant inclusion

As the first Certified Welcoming city in Illinois, Champaign is embracing what it means to truly welcome and include newcomers. In 2023, Champaign announced its certification. We talked with the Equity and Engagement Department and the New American Welcome Center at the University YMCA to learn about how the city and its partners ensure that…

Read More
Employees at the City of Tulsa stand at a booth at their 2023 Welcoming Week Festival

Building a world-class city: Tulsa excels in education and refugee resettlement

In November 2023, Tulsa became the first Certified Welcoming community in Oklahoma and the first place in the U.S. to achieve the 3-star designation. We interviewed team members from the City of Tulsa Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Equity to learn how they advanced their welcoming efforts as a result of Certified Welcoming and their…

Read More
Smiling father and son. The father gives a thumbs up at the camera.

Welcoming in the Crescent City: How nonprofits helped New Orleans become Certified Welcoming

In October 2023, New Orleans became the first place in Louisiana to earn the Certified Welcoming designation. Notably, New Orleans is also the first 1-star Certified Welcoming city under the new star designation system. We talked with leaders across the city to learn how community partnerships helped achieve the designation. Relationships, trust, and power-sharing are…

Read More
Dancers perform outside of Boise City Hall

Embracing change: How Boise leans into language access, fostering belonging for all

Boise is the first Certified Welcoming city in Idaho. In September 2023, Boise was officially redesignated as Certified Welcoming following their initial certification in 2019. We spoke with Lana Graybeal, the senior manager of community outreach at the City of Boise, about how the Office of Community Engagement team advances welcoming in the community. Over…

Read More

A city-county partnership for immigrant inclusion: Welcome Toledo-Lucas County

The first Certified Welcoming city-county duo shares how the local governments collaborate within their community. Among the 18 places that are Certified Welcoming, there is only one city-county duo: the City of Toledo and Lucas County in Ohio. The City of Toledo began working to become Certified Welcoming with Lucas County in 2018. Lucas County…

Read More
Group of students and community leaders pose for an indoor group photo

Civic engagement strengthens Lancaster’s welcoming efforts

Lancaster, Pennsylvania has a long history of welcoming that guides the local government’s work to this day. “We are a city of welcome and have been for hundreds of years,” says Milzy Carrasco, director of Neighborhood Engagement for the City of Lancaster. Lancaster became Certified Welcoming in 2018 — making the city the first to…

Read More
From left to right: Andy Toy, Philadelphia Mayor's Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs; Amy Eusebio, Philadelphia Office of Immigrant Affairs; Rachel Perić, Welcoming America; and Jamie Blackwell, Philadelphia Mayor's Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs.

How Philadelphia is advancing welcoming work through transparency and collaboration

In recent years, the community of welcomers in Philadelphia mobilized to support refugees arriving in the city. More than 25,000 Afghan refugees were welcomed through the Philadelphia International Airport between August 2021 and March 2022, and over 100 Haitians arrived in the city after the political unrest and natural disasters experienced in Haiti in August…

Read More

Five approaches to welcoming that are advancing inclusion and equity in San José

In March 2022, the City of San José, California became Certified Welcoming. Over a year later, we interviewed Zulma Maciel, director of San José’s Office of Racial Equity, to learn more about unique approaches the city government uses to cultivate equity and inclusion for immigrant communities and Black, Indigenous, and people of color. Using racial…

Read More
Group photo featuring members of a delegation from Portugal with members of the Dallas city government

In Dallas, being welcoming takes the city into the future

Author: Maya Smith-Custer In 2019, the City of Dallas became the first in Texas to earn the Certified Welcoming designation. As it approaches recertification this year, we spoke with Christina da Silva, Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs Officer of the City of Dallas, about the steps the city took to earn the initial designation and…

Read More