11/29/23 Newsletter

December 6, 2023

Picture of Kent County Welcome Plan logo

Creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for New Americans, Immigrants, and Refugees in West Michigan.



Leadership Highlight Nominations

The WMWPC is asking you to nominate local leaders that help our Refugee/ New American/ Immigrant population to be featured in a monthly special recognition in our communications and online platforms. This highlight would be a great way to spotlight their work in our community and inspire others to do the same!

Please fill out this form to enter your nominee’s information

WMWPC Resource Page

Our Welcome Plan Resource Page is still under construction, and we will continue to add resources as you share them with us. We will really appreciate your feedback and contributions of resources for our Refugee, Immigrant, and New American community in West Michigan. Click here to submit resources

Please share communications with Marcial Benavidez (marcial.benavidez@kentcountymi.gov) any communications that you would like to include on Tuesdays by 9am to be shared on the Weekly Wednesday Communication.



Welcome Sesame Webinar

Thursday December 7th 1:00pm


Sesame Workshop invites you to a webinar highlighting our domestic Welcome Sesame initiative, which expands our efforts to support families affected by conflict and crisis. We will discuss our current content offerings, including 2 new professional development courses, as well as dive into ways these resources can be implemented in your work with children and families.  


Click on Image for Informational Flyer!

Newcomer Rental Subsidy Program

*make sure to check out the recent NRS infosession slides Here

Affordable housing is a critical need for newly arriving refugees and for local community partners and sponsors who provide resettlement support. The subsidy program provides refugees and other newcomer population-eligible households with monthly rental assistance for up to 12 months to help families successfully integrate into communities, become self-sufficient and thrive.

Applications will soon be available in Arabic, Ukrainian, Dari, Pashto, Spanish and Kinyarwanda. We will give an update on these translations as soon they become available.

Contact LEO-RefugeeServices@michigan.gov for questions and support.

Click Here for more Information!

Apply Online Here

We are seeking to partner with Financial Institutions or Community Organizations that provide financial empowerment classes to connect recipients of the Newcomer Rental Subsidy Program with additional support. If you provide or are aware of this service, please fill out this form

Engagement Opportunities


Hispanic Chamber of Commerce – End of Year Breakfast

Tuesday December 5th, 2023 – 710 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Admission: $30.00 for Members & $45.00 For Non-Members

As the year winds down, we want to take a moment to express our gratitude for your incredible support and collaboration throughout this journey. Join us for a festive and heartwarming End-of-Year Breakfast hosted by the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce!

Register Here

civics bee

GR Chamber + National Civics Bee

Tuesday April 16th Frederick Meijer Gardens

The application opens Wednesday November 13, 2023, and closes on Monday January 8, 2024.

The Grand Rapids Chamber is partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to host a civics competition that encourages young Americans to engage in civics and contribute to their communities. Participating 6th, 7th and 8th graders will flex their civics knowledge for a chance to win recognition and cash prizes. Finalists will be invited to Washington, DC to compete in the inaugural National Civics Bee national championship in Fall 2024. More Information Here!



Saturday December 16th 6:00pm

1795 Knollcrest Circle Southeast, Grand Rapids MI 49546

Join us for a festive and soulful celebration at the Calvin University Gezon Auditorium! Immerse yourself in the captivating rhythms and melodies of Africa, as talented musicians and dancers take the stage to deliver an unforgettable Christmas experience.

Get your Tickets Here!

lesclay mix

Nia na Njia Project

Are you interested in event production, fundraising, and networking?
Les Clay invites you to join the 2023 Nia Na Njia cohort. This fall’s focus is on putting on an amazing fundraising concert in December. We need YOU! 

After signing up, you will receive an email about dates and times when the group meets. You will also receive information about the program, your involvement, and the program expectations.


Funding Opportunities


Give Back Applications Available Now!

Treetops Collective is giving all income received from monthly donors in the month of December 2023 to one New American-led business or organization in January 2024 in the form of a grant. The value of this grant will be at least $5,785. All eligible organizations may apply using the form below. Applications from ineligible businesses or organizations will not be reviewed.

Eligible Organizations: – Must be an existing business or nonprofit organization – Must be led by an individual or family that has immigrated to or been resettled in the U.S. – Must do business in Kent County – Have fewer than 15 full-time employees

We need your help to spread the word to local New American-owned businesses in your network about this funding opportunity. Please forward this email or the application link with the description above to anyone who you think might benefit from this grant.



Capacity Building and Outreach

Due Thursday December 21st 2023

The Office of Global Michigan is pleased to share a funding opportunity for the Capacity Building and Outreach Program, a project made possible through the advocacy efforts of the Funding for New Americans Coalition.

A virtual grant proposal info session will be held on Monday, November 27th 11:00am – 12:30pm; below you’ll find information on how to join this call. Please submit any questions regarding the content of this Request for Proposal (RFP) prior to this session by email to Leo-refugeeservices@michigan.gov.

This information and a downloadable copy of this Request for Proposal is also posted on our website: https://www.michigan.gov/ogm.

Want to Join the Collaborative?


Completion of this interest form will connect you with our coordinator to learn more about the Welcome Plan Collaborative and get connected to a workgoup.

Take this Survey