Katie Hedrick

Charlotte joins national cohort in a commitment to integrate immigrants and create opportunities for all


CHARLOTTE, NC – The City of Charlotte has been selected by New American Economy (NAE) and Welcoming America to receive a Gateways for Growth award. Launched in December 2015, the Gateways for Growth Challenge is a competitive opportunity for local communities to receive tailored research, direct technical assistance and matching grants from NAE and Welcoming America to develop concrete strategies to integrate immigrants, foster economic growth, and promote inclusion for all residents.

Charlotte is one of 13 cities nationwide to receive a Gateways for Growth award. The new Gateways for Growth cohort demonstrates a commitment to develop concrete strategies that ensure all residents have access to the tools and support they need to succeed and contribute to their communities, and to highlight the contributions immigrants are already making locally.

Awardees receive a combination of research, technical assistance, and matching grants from NAE and Welcoming America to support the development of welcoming strategies. Gateways for Growth (G4G) also serves as a network in which local communities can learn from each other and share best practices.


As of 2017, approximately 130,000 immigrants lived in Charlotte, according to US Census Bureau data.

"The facts prove it—cities that embrace immigration as a growth strategy reap the benefits," said John Feinblatt, President of New American Economy. "The Gateways for Growth Challenge spurs more local leaders to step up and make immigration a centerpiece of their economic agenda."


This year, the Gateways for Growth Challenge will again offer resources to communities that demonstrate a public-private commitment to the development of a community-wide strategic plan for immigrant integration. Those resources include:

  • Customized quantitative research reports from NAE on the demographic and economic contributions immigrants make in their communities;
  • On-the-ground technical assistance from NAE and Welcoming America to help communities draft, execute, and communicate a multi-sector immigrant integration strategy; and
  • Planning grants from NAE and Welcoming America that local partners have committed to match.


"Over the past two decades, Charlotte has experienced a significant demographic transformation," said Federico Rios, City of Charlotte's International & Integration Manager. "In 1990, foreign born residents made up less than two percent of Charlotte. The American Community Survey states that now over 16 percent of Charlotte's population are foreign born. This grant is a wonderful opportunity to enhance our integration efforts with our receiving community. By working on a neighborhood level, we can introduce our native born and newcomer neighbors, and unite them in a shared desire to improve our community's economic mobility."

The City of Charlotte plans to utilize the grant to conduct tailored research on the economic impact of immigrants in Charlotte and work with local partner organizations to help catalyze more research and outreach efforts that focus on their economic mobility.

"Welcoming America is delighted to be working with a growing number of local leaders like these that are fueling a movement of inclusion, recognizing that communities are more cohesive and more prosperous when everyone who lives there feels like they belong. G4G is an important opportunity for local governments, business, and civil society to come together to develop the plans, programs, and policies to promote a welcoming home for all," said Rachel Peric, Executive Director of Welcoming America.


This year's awardees also include Bowling Green, Ky., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Flint, Mich., Grand Rapids, Mich., Lexington, Ky., Lowell, Mass., Memphis, Tenn., Northern Kentucky, Roanoke, Va., San Antonio, Texas, Toledo-Lucas County, Ohio, and Wayne County, Mich.


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