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Pen Howell
Pledge 1% Alumni
Senior Manager, Community Engagement, Pledge 1%

For our second installment of the Humanitarian Relief Series, we heard from Nazanin Ash, CEO of Welcome.US, a new national initiative built to inspire, mobilize, and empower Americans from all corners of the country to welcome and support those seeking refuge. This nonprofit, with four former presidents and first ladies on its board, empowers US citizens to welcome refugees into the US. 


Today, over 100 million people globally are displaced. In this conversation, Ash walked us through the resettlement process for refugees entering the United States, and the challenges that newcomers face when they arrive. While the number of refugees worldwide has tripled over the last 30 years, the number of refugee admissions to the United States has remained relatively unchanged at about 70,000 each year.


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Less than 3% of refugees worldwide are successfully resettled, and less than 1% are able to return to their country of origin.”

 - Nazanin Ash, CEO of Welcome.US.


Welcome.US aims to solve this resettlement issue.





Strategy: Work with Business and other Non-Government Partners


Over the past year, Ash and her team have built a network of over 800 partners, many of whom are businesses. Welcome.US and their partners use their resources, innovation, and technology to support newcomers and resettlement agencies.


The challenges to increasing the efficiency and scale of resettlement lie in the government’s limitations to support growing housing, employment, and cultural needs. “Government systems… are constrained by public dollars and methodology, and don’t have access to innovations that the private sector creates,” Ash explains. 


Case Studies: How Businesses Are Helping


While the government can be slow-moving and bureaucratic, businesses have an opportunity to act quickly in addressing refugee needs. Many times, businesses can help with short- and long-term refugee needs such as housing, employment, and cultural needs.


Here are some examples of Welcome.US and business partnerships:


  • Over the last year, Welcome.US has leveraged American’s willingness to offer housing to 24,000 Afghan refugees with partners like Airbnb.

  • In partnership with Manpower, Welcome.US established an employee platform that hosts 68,000 job openings for newcomers. Case workers can search job vacancies to find specific roles that match refugees’ location and skill sets.

Additionally, Welcome.US partnered with Accenture to host a multi-company job fair.



Takeaways: How to Help

The best way to help refugees? Be a welcomer to newcomers in this country. In to the suggestions on the attached flyer, here are assets that can help your business 
  • Welcome.US - This website has financial and product donation opportunities, as well as guidance on how to employ refugees.

  • Refugee Investment Network - Connects investors with refugee-backed ventures.

  • Refugee Insights - Company that ranks and provides data on how businesses integrate refugees into their businesses.

Remember: Partnerships Amplify Impact

Getting others involved can amplify your efforts exponentially. As Sean Nicholson of the Norwegian Refugee Council said, "Ask yourself: who can you partner with? Going in for yourself is nice, but going in for a plan with a group of people that has a sort of systems-thinking impact will be far more valuable."

  • Partner with those in your industry and within your company: This case study featuring Airbnb, Unity, and Twilio demonstrates how companies can leverages the power of their industry partners, employees, customers, and more to deliver the maximum impact for nonprofits.
  • Start a sponsor circle: A sponsor circle raises money and community support for newcomers. Businesses, especially in local communities, often have much more far-reaching networks than individuals. Think about how you can involve your employees, partnerships, and even customers in welcoming newcomers.


For more information on ways to get involved with Welcome.US, read the attached flyer or reach out the team at


The Pledge 1% Humanitarian Relief Series: Follow Along


Pledge 1%’s Humanitarian Relief Series hones in on current and emerging trends related to humanitarian issues and needs around the world. While some of this content will be Ukraine-specific as the war continues and needs evolve, we will also highlight other global challenges and opportunities for collaboration and engagement. 



The Pledge 1% Humanitarian Relief Series: 




 Follow the conversation and see new events at our Pledge 1% Humanitarian Relief Series Resources Hub.