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The Rural Women’s Health Project selected for Gateways for Growth Challenge Implementation Cohort to Support GINI Immigrant Inclusion

Press release from Gateways for Growth

National nonprofits the American Immigration Council (recently merged with New American Economy) and Welcoming America have selected Gainesville, Florida’s Rural Women’s Health Project to receive the Implementation Technical Assistance and Grant award as part of Round IV of the Gateways for Growth Challenge (G4G). As part of the G4G challenge, each of these communities led a year-long strategic planning process and brought together leaders across multiple sectors – including government, business, non-profit, faith, and education – to create welcoming plans. Each community will receive up to $20,000 toward implementing recommendations from their developed welcoming plans that prioritize strengthening equity through language access initiatives, educational support for immigrant families, and increased social cohesion. This year’s awardees, alongside Gainesville, Florida include:

  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Lancaster County, Nebraska
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Southwest Kansas, Kansas
  • Saint Paul, Minnesota

These communities and organizations, as part of Gateways for Growth Round IV Cohort, have demonstrated a commitment to developing concrete strategies that ensure all residents have access to the tools and support they need to succeed and contribute to their communities, and have highlighted the contributions immigrants are already making locally. In fact, research from the New American Economy shows that immigrants make up over 11% of the City’s total population and 13% of its workforce, contributing over $22 million in state and local taxes. As of 2019, approximately 14,800 immigrants lived in Gainesville, Florida, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

To ensure successful implementation, the American Immigration Council and Welcoming America will continue to coach communities for the next six months, providing individual technical assistance, cohort-wide calls, and resource referrals.

The Rural Women’s Health Project, in collaboration with the Gainesville Immigrant Neighbor Inclusion (GINI), will be working on implementing:

  1. Language Access Institutes. Working in collaboration with Language Access Florida, the GINI initiative intends to provide two rounds of free Institutes, consisting of three meetings each. The goal of the Institute is to orient agencies, government, and social services in the development of a Language Access Plan (LAP), the integration of phone line service into organizational workflow, promotion of multiple language services, and to build a GINI Language Access Support System (LASS) for agencies new to this service to share best practices.
  2. Day of the Immigrant Cultural Event. GINI partners and the City of Gainesville Parks and Recreation are committed to collaborating on one large community event in 2022. Funds would be used as a partial investment in this event, which would help recognize and celebrate our immigrant neighbors.
  3. GINI Education Assemblies. The Assemblies will bridge the school system and immigrant parents to enhance understanding of the educational system and empower immigrant and refugee families to an increased understanding of their rights, school responsibilities, and guidelines to navigate their needs. Three Assemblies will serve community members with children in K-12 public school. The meetings will take place at churches, cultural group meeting spaces, or others identified by GINI partners’ families.

“After an extensive planning process, we’re thrilled to continue working alongside these communities as they transition into implementing their strategic plans,” said Mo Kantner, director of state and local initiatives at the American Immigration Council. “We look forward to supporting the continued investment in their communities.”

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“We’re excited to be part of community efforts that are taking their welcoming values to the next level,” said Molly Hilligoss, Network Director of Welcoming America. “By implementing welcoming plans, these communities are prioritizing inclusion for all residents, including immigrants.”

“Such a plan affirms City and County efforts to support sustainable, innovative, and prosperous communities,” said Robin Lewy, Co-Lead of the GINI initiative. “We know this work will require adjustments, additions, monitoring, and, most importantly, support from the community.”

On March 29, 2022, the GINI was proud to release its Blueprint for building an inclusive and Welcoming community. The plan outlines over 70 steps the community can take to ensure immigrants feel safe, have equitable access to education, health, and services, and feel included and respected in the new community they call home. The Blueprint can be found here: GINI’s March 2022 Immigrant Inclusion Blueprint

About Gateways for Growth

The Gateways for Growth Challenge (G4G) is a competitive opportunity for localities to receive research support and technical assistance from the American Immigration Council — formerly New American Economy — and Welcoming America to improve immigrant inclusion in their communities. Learn more: https://gatewaysforgrowth.org/

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