PREM Welcoming Greensboro Initiative

 Welcoming Greensboro
Today, a growing movement of cities and municipalities in the United States are recognizing the economic and social benefits of becoming welcoming communities and fostering a welcoming culture. Nationally, more than 30 cities have declared themselves to be welcoming communities. Many, including High Point, were honored at the White House last September during National Welcoming Week.
 Who are we?
The Welcoming Greensboro Committee is made up of leaders of diverse immigrant communities in our city representing 13 different countries and resource people in areas of education, non-profit, refugee resettlement and advocacy. The Committee is dedicated to listening to and involving immigrants and refugees to help identify solutions to make our city as welcoming and inclusive as it can be.  

  Our accomplishments
For the last seven months, staff of the American Friends Service Committee led 16 participatory discussions across the city with immigrant communities of many diverse backgrounds seeking their input. We spoke with more than 200 people from 28 countries and conducted online surveys. These discussions culminated in the formation of the Welcoming Greensboro Committee. We are preparing a report documenting our findings and an extensive list of recommendations suggested by community members themselves.

   Findings overview
In our 16 community conversations, immigrants from many nationalities shared what they like about living in Greensboro, what the major challenges immigrants face on a daily basis and what suggestions they have for improvements in our city. As a result, we compiled a long list of recommendations that are included in our report. 

These recommendations include  

• Increased access to city services, agencies and information, 
• Increased access to public transportation that reaches immigrant dense areas
• Increased language access and improved interpreter capabilities
• Increased cultural competency of city staff
• City support of cultural expression and promote sharing between immigrants and non-
• City support for state and federal pro-immigrant policies
• Increased representation of immigrants on local boards and commissions

 Visible businesses
Our city is privileged to have a vibrant immigrant population of around 35,494 or almost 13%. Greensboro has long been the largest hub of refugee resettlement in the state. Immigrants and refugees in our city are business owners, home owners, tax payers, artists, teachers, religious leaders, and contribute to the economic, social and cultural richness of our community.

Conclusion: Where do we go from here
Becoming a “welcoming city” honors immigrant contributions to Greensboro and establishes avenues to more fully integrate newcomers into the fabric of our community. The Welcoming Greensboro Initiative plans to work with other immigrant serving organizations, the International Advisory Committee, as well as city officials and agencies to look at ways to implement the many recommendations we compiled to further our efforts and strengthen our partnership with the city and other organizations. City officials will also be able to join a national cohort of other Welcoming Cities to share best practices.


  The Montagnard population is the second largest immigrant group and the largest refugee group in the region.

District 1, Hightower. Every City district has growing immigrant communities.

District 2, Fox. Every City district has growing immigrant communities.

District 3, Metheny. Every City district has growing immigrant communities.

District 4, Hoffman. Every City district has growing immigrant communities.

District 5, Wilkins. Every City district has growing immigrant communities.

District 5, Wilkins, Newcomers School.

National, County and City data.

Immigrant and refugee data for Greensboro.

Greensboro and Guilford as the State’s leading resettlement area.

Immigrants will change the Piedmont.

Many immigrants face the same stresses of poor people.

Immigrants bring new stories.

Story 1: Immigrant students will be tomorrow’s leaders.

Story 2: Immigrants must dialog among themselves to build community.

Story 3: Immigrants are part of the region’s economic development but the region’s leaders talk a noninclusive language.

Story 4: In years to come we will look back and say whether we planned for the future.

What do numbers mean?

RING Resource Map

City of Greensboro Council District Map

Reaching Out to Local Communities in a Discussion of Sustainable Development

Greensboro City School Info

Languages Spoken in GSO Schools (with errors)

Fiscal Year 2012 Refugee Arrivals

*immigrants are almost 30 percent more likely to launch a business than non-immigrants. According to the study, roughly 16.7 percent of all new business owners in this country are immigrants, yet immigrants make up only 12.2 percent of the workforce in the U.S.
Bloomberg Businessweek


US Census Fact Finder

City of Greensboro Population and Statistics


AFSC Google Map

Food Deserts: USDA

Office of the Governor, Director of Hispanic/Latino Affairs


UNC Law on Food Insecurity

Food Research and Action Center, Food Hardship in America (2012) available at 

Guilford County long range plans

Center for New North Carolinians
Immigrant Demographics of Guilford County 

Grantmakers concerned with Refugees and Immigrants
County level data on the foreign-born 

Notorious Greensboro News-Record story from Dec 2009
Iraqi Refugee Says ‘We Want to Go Back’