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Grant will help southeast Michigan communities welcome immigrants

Dec 29, 2016

A $50,000 grant will boost an effort to welcome immigrants in some Michigan communities.

The Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan awarded the money to the Welcoming Michigan initiative.

Welcoming Michigan fosters connections between new immigrants and longtime residents, helping to integrate them fully into receiving communities. The program also helps local governments and groups serve immigrant communities.

“We really feel like the time for that work is incredibly ripe, it’s incredibly needed, and we’re grateful for the investment in this positive approach,” said Susan Reed of the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, which sponsors the program.

Reed says the grant will expand efforts in the Metro Detroit communities that participate in Welcoming Michigan. Those include the cities of Detroit and Sterling Heights, and Macomb County. The program has 12 participating communities statewide.

Reed says that at “a time of great anxiety in immigrant communities,” more local leaders are expressing interest in creating an immigrant-friendly environment.

“Truly, I’ve been surprised by the amount of energy and commitment that local leaders are showing,” she said.

But Reed says the new grant comes at a critical time, as growing requests for advice and technical assistance have left staff feeling “overwhelmed.”