The U.S. government responded to this past year’s crises by welcoming 76,000 people forced to flee Afghanistan—the largest evacuation of its kind since the Vietnam War—and committing to accepting 100,000 refugees from Ukraine, as well as raising the refugee resettlement ceiling to 125,000 for fiscal year 2023.

As a way of tackling the ongoing displacement crisis and issues faced by these clients, the IRC is focusing on community engagement to help with the integration of resettled refugees into our local communities through a new Community Sponsorship program.

Group of people sitting around the dinner table.
The Community Sponsorship program invites the community to a deeper relationship with people resettling to Utah!
Photo: IRC

What is Community Sponsorship?

Community Sponsorship is a shared endeavor. Small groups—Welcome Teams—within the community work together to prepare for and welcome a refugee family to their local area. This model relies on harnessing the power of a private/public partnership between community volunteers and our agency to ensure the independence and self-sufficiency of our new neighbors.

Welcome Teams will play a key role in helping refugees resettle into their new community. Community sponsors advance the role of communities in the protection, resettlement, and integration of refugees and other vulnerable populations. As a Welcome Team, local community members commit to providing, in a non-legally binding agreement, clearly defined in-kind and financial contributions and the majority of basic services to support a refugee’s welcome and integration in partnership with the IRC. 

Benefits of Community Sponsorship 

Not only does forming a Welcome Team offer you a chance to bring positive change to your community, but you are also becoming a part of a larger global community that is helping to bring awareness to the plight of people seeking refuge. 

True integration is not something that can be taught or learned from books; it requires personal interaction and building relationships with people in the community. The Community Sponsorship program helps to create these personal connections.

With Community Sponsors, refugees receive far more personal support than one caseworker can deliver alone, and as a result, the quality of life for refugee families is immeasurably enhanced.


Help Refugees:


How Do I Start or Join a Welcome Team in Salt Lake City?



Core Services 

Core Services: When a refugee family lands at Salt Lake City International Airport, the welcome team will be there to pick them up. The Team will

take them to their new apartment and provide a warm, culturally-appropriate meal for their first night in their new home as well as culturally-appropriate groceries for the weeks to come. The welcome team’s support will continue from Day 1 as the family’s basic needs are addressed.

This includes services like:

Next Steps:




For more information about Welcome Team opportunities with the IRC in Salt Lake City, please contact Community Sponsorship Manager, Kristi Haycock, at [email protected].

Take a look at our FAQ with Kristi Hackock here: Kristi Haycock FAQ.

Community Sponsorship team in Utah shares their welcome story: Read more »

Read more about Community Sponsorship in this Washington Post article!