The Hello Neighbor Network Triples Support of Refugees and Immigrants by Welcoming 16 New Nonprofit Leaders
The Network supports refugee and immigrant communities across 24 communities in 17 states within the U.S.
In 2021, the Hello Neighbor Network will triple its support of refugees and immigrants in local communities as it welcomes 16 new nonprofit leaders to the national coalition. The 16 Hello Neighbor Network Fellows will participate in a 10-month intensive leadership program in the interest of furthering their organizational missions to support immigrants and refugees. They will join the eight founding members for professional development, a national convening, and ongoing support as they undertake independent projects to grow and enhance the work of their organizations.
Betsy Bonilla Jimenez Hurst, Executive Director of HOLA Lakeway in Morristown, Tennessee will join as a 2021 Fellow. She says,
“I am excited about this opportunity because I know it will allow me to learn from other nonprofit leaders. This will help me to grow as a nonprofit leader. I am grateful for this opportunity.”
Sloane Davidson, Founder and CEO of Hello Neighbor says,
“It is with immense pride that we welcome 16 new leaders and their organizations from around the country to the Hello Neighbor Network. We know the best way to heal our country and create more inclusive communities is by learning from each other and supporting each other. I’m confident that this year will be transformative for our new Fellows and their organizations.”
Grassroots leaders are more overstretched and isolated than ever in the current political and COVID-19 climate in the U.S. In a challenging atmosphere, the Network enables knowledge exchange, support, and collaborative learning for the next generation of leaders and their organizations to grow and enhance the crucial work they do to fill gaps for refugees and immigrants to truly thrive in their communities.
Laura Erickson, Founder and Executive Director of Ladies Let’s Talk in Austin, Texas will join as a 2021 Fellow. She says,
“It can feel lonely doing this work and I am looking forward to being part of a network of nonprofits who can count on each other for support and ideas.”
A total of 16 new member leaders and organizations join the Network this month:
- Alain Mentha, Welcome Home Jersey City (Jersey City, NJ)
- Andrea Cramer, Neighbor to Neighbor (South Bend, IN)
- Ann McGlynn, Tapestry Farms (Davenport, IA)
- Betsy Bonilla Jimenez Hurst, HOLA Lakeway (Morristown, TN)
- Christy Anderson, Claremont Canopy (Claremont, CA)
- Egide Irambona, Solidarity Development and Light Association (SODELA) (Knoxville, TN)
- Fereshteh Ganjavi, Elena’s Light (New Haven, CT)
- Jin-Ya Huang, Break Bread, Break Borders (Dallas, TX)
- Kirsta Benedetti, Riverview International Center (Columbus, OH)
- Laura Erickson, Ladies Let’s Talk (Austin, TX)
- Leah Hargrove, Global Neighbors (Bismarck, ND)
- Lydia Yousief, Elmahaba Center (Nashville, TN)
- Minda Schweizer, Home for Refugees USA (Los Angeles, CA)
- Rafid Al Bawi, Second Families (Glendale, CA)
- Shana Wills, Refugee Education & Adventure Challenge (REACH) (Greater Chicago Metropolitan Area, IL)
- Suzy Ismail, Cornerstone Marriage and Family Intervention (Princeton, NJ)
The Network was convened in 2019 by Sloane Davidson, Founder and CEO of Hello Neighbor (Pittsburgh, PA) alongside eight founding members:
- Jeri Stroade, Dwell Mobile (Mobile, AL)
- Kari Miller, International Neighbors (Charlottesville, VA)
- Kathie O’Callaghan, Hearts and Homes for Refugees (Westchester County, NY)
- Kristen Bloom, Refugee Assistance Alliance (Miami, FL)
- Laura Thompson Osuri, Homes Not Borders (Washington, D.C.)
- Mary Poole, Soft Landing Missoula (Missoula, MT)
- Miry Whitehill, Miry’s List (Los Angeles, CA)
- Sheryl Rajbhandari, Heartfelt Tidbits (Cincinnati, OH)
One of the Network’s first projects in 2019 was a national research study to understand the impact grassroots nonprofits have in communities. The study found that 100% of responding refugees agreed their organization makes people in their community feel more welcome and 92% felt their children had more opportunities after being involved with their organization. The study also found that nonprofits had an outward ripple effect with 97% of responding volunteers saying they advocate for refugee issues at local, state or national levels as a result of working with their organization.
The Network further supports these crucial grassroots nonprofits in their work. Throughout 2020, the Network grew and evolved, kicking off its first of many regrant opportunities in partnership with USA for UNHCR distributing $24,000 for member organizations to address COVID-19 emergency relief in their communities. The Network also partnered with the Ad Council and Center for Inclusion and Belonging for the national Belonging Begins with Us campaign. And it is looking ahead to a new research study in 2021 and continuing to share OpEds and stories on the Hello Neighbor Network Medium publication.
On April 14–15, 2021 the Network will hold its second annual and first virtual convening with opportunities for member and non-member organizations to learn from leading experts in the field and one another. Details will be available on the new Hello Neighbor Network website: neighbornetwork.io
The Hello Neighbor Network is supported by generous partnerships with the Walmart Foundation, USA for UNHCR, The Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh, The Benter Foundation, The Good People Fund, and The Harnisch Foundation to elevate grassroots voices in ongoing conversations about refugees and immigrants in the U.S.
About Hello Neighbor Network
The Hello Neighbor Network is a collective of grassroots nonprofits serving refugees and immigrants. The Network provides organizations with a supportive peer network, education, resources and skills to better serve their mission and contribute to the national conversation. The group is convened by Pittsburgh-based nonprofit, Hello Neighbor. Learn more at neighbornetwork.io