Refugees Welcome! [RW!] 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, Communication, Capacity Building, Technology, and Grant Writing and Fundraising. Our team of Board Members, 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 Executive Board Members. Each Board Member 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.
Board Members commit to attending monthly meetings, quarterly team meetings, and other organizational events. Board Members may bring projects to the monthly meeting
and can be voted on given the budget, time necessary, and capacity of the group at the time. Besides shaping the programmatic structure of the organization, the Executive Board serves as mentors to interns and research fellows.
Each Board Member is assigned at least one mentee each
academic year and summer semester, unless the Board Member does
not have the capacity to do so. The Board Member is responsible for meeting with
their mentee(s) in person or by phone each week and for teaching them new skills to support their professional development.