Refugees Welcome! was founded by Charla M. Burnett, a PhD student in the Global Governance and Human Security Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston, in 2016. Refugees Welcome! is now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit housed at the University’s Center for Peace, Development, and Democracy. [RW!]’s mission is to strengthen and streamline immigrant and refugee services across the greater Boston area.

Refugees Welcome! focuses on five thematic areas (or teams): Research, Communications, Capacity Building, Technology, and Grant Writing and Fundraising. Our Leadership Team, Research Fellows, and Interns all work on a volunteer basis and focus on specific teams to develop programmatic activities that are geared towards our clients’ needs.

Our structure at Refugees Welcome! is based around teamwork, collaboration, and cooperative mentorship. At any time, there may be five to eight Leadership Team Members. Each member of the Leadership Team will volunteer to serve in a specific role (on a specific team) within the organization for a minimum of two years. Entry into the organization is by majority vote and can be done at any time.

Leadership Team Members commit to attending monthly meetings, quarterly team meetings, and other organizational events. Besides shaping the programmatic structure of the organization, the Leadership Team serves as mentors to Interns and Research Fellows. Each Leadership Team Member is assigned at least one mentee each academic year and summer semester.