Welcoming Community Roadmap

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 Welcoming Community Grand Forks Logo




Welcoming Community Roadmap Launch

January 17, 2019 - 4:30 - 6:00; Grand Forks City Hall Front Lobby

Food, Music and a special program beginning at 5:00 to celebrate the Welcoming Community partners and kick off the next stage of strategy implementation. Read more about these exciting strategy actions below!


Welcoming Community Roadmap Report Cover


Welcoming Community Report - Read it here!


Please take some time to read through these recommendations that were compiled by more than 60 individuals, representing more than 30 organizations and individuals who made up the four workgroups:  

1. Access to Basic Services 2. Advancement Opportunities 3. Economic Opportunities 4. Connected Communities


Background on the extensive Welcoming Community Roadmap process: 

The City of Grand Forks received a technical assistance grant from Welcoming America and New American Economy to help develop a strategic plan to leverage existing strengths and build an even more robust and integrated welcoming community.

The Welcoming Community Roadmap project is part of a continued effort by the city of Grand Forks to find ways to welcome all new residents and better integrate immigrants and refugees as part of the community. The integration initiatives being investigated in this project are adopted from the key focus areas of the Welcoming America and New American Economy program, Gateways for Growth.

The project was carried out by gathering a demographic report and conducting surveys and focus group discussions with residents in the community. The data gathered was carefully analyzed to develop four key goals for the city. Working groups convened around these four goals, and consisted of representatives from broad backgrounds, experiences, and agencies. Their recommendations, in concert with city elected and administrative leadership and community leaders, resulted in a five-year, 78-point strategic plan to make the Grand Forks area the most welcoming community possible.

Roadmap Development Documents

Survey Results

Focus Group Findings

Workgroup Kickoff Presentation

Workgroup Packet - Background

Data Report


Grand Forks City Council Resolution of Inclusion

2017 Inclusion Resolution



Strategic Plan Timeline

Dec, 2017 – Feb, 2018        Data analysis      (New American Economy)

Jan 2018                              Steering Committee Established

Feb 2018                              Data Report Completed and Shared

Feb – Mar, 2018                   Steering Committee Strategy Development

Apr – May, 2018                   Focus groups, surveys, listening sessions

May - Jun, 2018                    Analyze Data and formulate Working Group Categories

Jul – Aug 15, 2018               Working Groups develop draft recommendations

Aug, 2018                             Draft Welcoming Community Plan Recommendations Reviewed

Aug – Oct, 2018                   Community feedback on Draft Plan

November, 2018                   Final Plan Adoption and Launch at Community Picnic

January, 2019                      LAUNCH


What is the goal of Welcoming Community Roadmap Initiative and what steps were involved in its development?

We developed a roadmap to make the Grand Forks area an even more welcoming community in which all residents are engaged. Through demographic research, surveys, focus groups, and community discussion, our community crafted a plan to help Grand Forks feel like home to newcomers and long-term residents alike.

What is the outcome of the roadmap?

When newcomers are drawn to Grand Forks and have the means to connect and grow here, the community can benefit from the contributions they bring civically, culturally, and economically.

Is the Welcoming Community Roadmap focused specifically on immigrants?

The roadmap addresses every newcomer to Grand Forks, regardless of where they came from or what drew them to the community. Whether they are new students at UND, airmen and their families at the Grand Forks Air Force Base, resettled refugees, or new employees moving to Grand Forks, the roadmap will help them become engaged.

Why did you conduct these surveys and focus groups?

We asked the community to share their feedback so our community plan reflects the experiences of all our residents. The surveys and focus groups informed recommendations for policies, programs, and practices that will allow all residents to access services and participate civically.

Who participated in the survey?

All members of the Grand Forks community were encouraged to participate in the survey.

Who participated in the focus groups?

We invited select groups of newcomers as well as long-term residents of the Grand Forks community, primarily based on the preliminary information that came from the survey. The focus groups allowed us to dig deeper on specific questions.  

Who led and funding its development?

The City’s Grand Forks Immigrant Integration Initiative and staff from the Mayor’s Office led its creation. While there was no funding allocated, the City received technical assistance and support from Gateways for Growth.

Where did the demographic results come from?

The demographic report, New Americans in the Grand Forks Region, Grand Forks being one of 44 communities selected for the Gateways for Growth Challenge, a competitive opportunity for local communities to receive technical assistance from New American Economy and Welcoming America to develop multi-sector plans for welcoming and integrating immigrants. The research focused on demographics and the economic impacts of immigrants in our community and is available on www.grandforksgov.com/community/wcr .

What is the Grand Forks Immigrant Integration Initiative?

The GFIII was established by the City of Grand Forks Mayor’s Office and City Council with a steering committee of members from throughout the broad greater Grand Forks area. The Initiative was a Member of the National League of Cities Municipal Action for Immigrant Integration.

The goal of Grand Forks Immigrant Integration Initiative is to promote naturalization and civic engagement among immigrant populations in our communities, to assess and align community resources to best serve both the New American population and general community, and to assist New Americans with becoming engaged citizens.
What else has the Grand Forks Immigrant Integration Initiative done?

  • Partnered efforts and leveraged resources with community organizations including Global Friends Coalition, New American Services of Lutheran Social Services of ND.

  • Citizen's Academy to help promote informed and involved citizenship.

  • Speaker’s Bureau to enhance community awareness on general and specific immigrant and refugee related.

  • A Community Resource Officer from the Grand Forks Police Department designated as a direct liaison with immigrant populations.

  • Citizenship and naturalization campaign.

  • Agency communication and coordination.

  • Immigrant training opportunities.

  • Ongoing communication and evaluation of community capacities to achieve the GFIII goals.


gfcoalition logo with dblue LSS of ND200x200logo


Data Driven Approach

A good place to start is a firm foundation of data on immigration and resettlement in the area. Welcoming America and New American Economy collaborated to research the impact of immigration in the Grand Forks area (report, below).

This was a starting point as the community began listening sessions, surveys and focus groups to identify key tactics in enhancing the capabilities and reputation of Grand Forks as a Welcoming Community.

STUDY: New Americans in the Grand Forks Region


Immigrant Integration Demographic 2



Immigrant Integration Demographic 3



Immigrant Integration Demographic 1





 Mayor Brown


"The City of Grand Forks is the proud home to many new immigrants and refugees who come to our great city to begin new lives, families and opportunities. Together, our existing and new residents create the tapestry that help define our community, and together we create a 'Welcoming Grand Forks'." - Mayor Michael R. Brown