About WJCI's Microgrant Program
WJCI's microgrant program was created with generous funding from UJA--Federation of New York, Jewish Federations of North Americas (JFNA), and The Shapiro Foundation and allowed us to support refugee resettlement in our community.
We previously provided grants to newly formed and certified HIAS Welcome Circles and served as their personal Welcome Circle Liaisons to guide them through best practices. Although we are no longer actively forming Welcome Circles, please check out our one-sheet on Welcome Circles to learn more.
Thank you to all those who applied! The application period is currently closed. Please check back here for updates and future opportunities.
Ukrainians are fleeing their war-torn home country and are coming to the United States. 100,000+ of them have registered with Uniting for Ukraine, established by the Department of Homeland Security as a pathway for Ukrainians fleeing the war into the U.S. These accepted applicants can stay temporarily for two years on humanitarian parole. Ukrainians participating in Uniting for Ukraine must have a supporter in the United States who agrees to provide them with financial support for the duration of their stay in the United States. To date, the New York Metropolitan area, including Westchester County, has been selected as a destination by nearly 8K Ukrainians.
Now more than ever, we need new, flexible, fast, and creative approaches to welcome the large influx of Ukrainians already on U.S. soil. With generous funding from UJA-Federation of New York, Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), and The Shapiro Foundation, as well as crucial partners HIAS AND Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS), WJCI will not only be able to offer microgrants to help members of our community resettle refugees but also create and provide other means of support. These services include career counseling, ESL tutoring, in-kind donations, a support group, and a dedicated Care Manager to help new arrivals with benefits and local services referrals.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED?
To apply for WJCI's grant money, an applicant must have formed a Welcome Circle, completed HIAS' application, and been approved to do this work and do ALL of the following:
Have launched with a minimum of five people (over 18 years old) and not exceed a maximum of eight people who are the group's leaders.
Committed to a minimum six-month period of support for a Ukrainian family, with the goal of the newcomer(s) achieving self-sufficiency.
Passed mandatory background checks, took an online knowledge assessment on the roles and responsibilities of Welcome Circles (one person in the group must complete this) and completed Code of Conduct forms.
Submitted a "Welcome Plan" through which your group articulates how they will connect Ukrainian newcomers to support and services during the initial resettlement phase. This plan includes securing housing, accessing benefits, relating to healthcare and education, and other forms of community orientation.
Congregations can choose to form a core group of volunteers and independently raise the additional funds they need to resettle Ukrainian refugees. Alternatively, WJCI can match a congregation, group of people or organization with another congregation to share fundraising and other responsibilities. We encourage clergy and Jewish community leaders to reach out to neighborhood churches, mosques, and secular groups to make this an interfaith effort.
Whether alone or in partnership with others, you will become a "Welcome Circle" and recruit enough volunteers through WJCI's matchmaking efforts.
Welcome Circles will need to raise funds, and thanks to our generous partners, we will provide HIAS-certified Welcome Circles with matching microgrants that will boost fundraising efforts.
The WC model is HIAS' version of the Community Sponsorship Hub's Ukrainian Sponsor Circle, with embedded support, resources, and training. WJCI, alongside HIAS, will support Welcome Circles by providing technical and operational resources on best practices in refugee resettlement, peer-to-peer mentoring, and Jewish resources to ground the experience and the work. In addition, WJCI's plan includes the provision of a HIAS Welcome Circle Liaison to support the launch and growth of supported Welcome Circles and a Care Manager provided by Westchester Jewish Family Services (WJCS).
EMPLOYMENT & HOUSING
Employment & Housing: Through our partnerships with area organizations, clergy, and UJA, WJCI will provide you with solid leads for potential work and housing opportunities.
PRIOR WORK: HOST GROUPS
In early 2022, several months after the fall of Kabul, WJCI successfully funded 15 “Host Groups” (+ 2, as two were “repeaters”) and gave out $80,000 to the volunteers doing vital resettlement work to keep this population safe. Here are the results, by the numbers:
These Host Groups consisted of individual volunteers - 1,500 and many organizations;
25 of the organizations were Jewish (synagogues, etc.); and
43 of the organizations were non-Jewish (churches, etc.)
WJCI’s grant money serviced this many Afghan Refugees:
Adults - 43
Children - 47
Total - 90 individuals
48% of total were adults, 52% of total were children