The Immigrant Welcome Center is a nonprofit organization that connects immigrants to the people, places, and resources of Indianapolis. When Bart Peterson became mayor of the City of Indianapolis in 2000, Indianapolis’s demographics were changing rapidly. By 2020 the foreign-born population of the city had reached nearly 10 percent, with more than 130 languages spoken. First Lady Amy Minick Peterson and her husband recognized the new Americans coming to Indianapolis to work for multinational companies, to study at world-class universities, and to seek new opportunities for themselves and their children in America and envisioned a city that welcomed each of them.

CEO, Gurinder Hohl, at the Immigrant Welcome Center, 2022 Credit: Immigrant Welcome Center View Source

After studying how immigrants were integrating into the city, the Immigrant Welcome Center was born in 2005 through the support of The Clowes Fund, the Reuben Family Foundation, and the Efroymson Family Fund of Cicf. Its mission is to empower immigrants by connecting them to the people, places, and resources that enable them to build successful lives and enrich the community. Its core program, the Natural Helpers program, began in 2006 with the support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation as a professional and personal development program to train first-or second-generation immigrant leaders to help newcomers through the integration process.

Through its program, “Welcoming Indianapolis,” the Immigrant Welcome Center launched the Immigrant Integration Plan in 2017. This plan brought community leaders together to develop ways to make Indianapolis a more immigrant-friendly city. The organization offers assistance at neighborhood branches, educational outreach on acculturation issues through the Reuben Educational Series, and naturalization and legal services.

Revised July 2021

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