Press Release (ePRNews.com) - PITTSBURGH, PA - Jul 19, 2017 - Hello Neighbor, a mentorship program for post-resettlement refugees in the U.S., is proud to announce it has secured funding from USA for UNHCR and The Heinz Endowments. The combined $130,000 in funding will be used to run Hello Neighbor’s pilot mentorship program that officially launched in June 2017.
“After spending 15 years working in nonprofits and international development, I’m thankful for the opportunity to help the refugee community in my hometown with this new organization,” said Hello Neighbor founder Sloane Davidson. “The financial support of both USA for UNHCR and The Heinz Endowments, just months into the launch of Hello Neighbor, is an exciting moment as we work to better the refugee experience in Pittsburgh.”
Hello Neighbor supports refugees in their new lives by building community through mentoring with American families to highlight cultural similarities. The four-month pilot program currently hosts 25 refugee families from six countries (Myanmar, Bhutan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria) with 25 American mentor families of varying backgrounds in the Pittsburgh area.
“Hello Neighbor offers Americans the opportunity to connect with refugees as friends and neighbors to share meals, assist with driving lessons, and joyfully celebrate life moments like birthday and graduations. USA for UNHCR is proud to support Hello Neighbor in our shared mission to give refugees the hope they deserve, restore their dignity, and help them rebuild their lives,” said Anne-Marie Grey, Executive Director and CEO of USA for UNHCR.
USA for UNHCR partners domestically with organizations like Hello Neighbor to help address needs of refugees and asylum-seekers in the United States. The educational resources and programming, mentor training, and community engagement facilitated by Hello Neighbor complement USA for UNHCR’s mandate to help and protect refugees and people displaced by violence, conflict and persecution.
The Heinz Endowments, one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the United States, uses the Pittsburgh region as a laboratory for the development of solutions to challenges national in scope. The funding awarded to Hello Neighbor is part of The Heinz Endowments’ commitment to youth and education in the region.
“Hello Neighbor is exactly the type of program we are pleased to support in the Pittsburgh region,” said Carmen Anderson, Director of Equity and Social Justice of The Heinz Endowments. “With over 86 refugee and American children under the age of 18 involved in the pilot program, we know that Hello Neighbor is creating community through mentorship in a unique and creative way that can have long-term implications on these families.”
Funding from USA for UNHCR and The Heinz Endowments will also support a signature Refugee Advocacy Certificate which provides training for mentors on the global refugee crisis. Mentees can receive additional financial support through Hello Neighbor’s Refugee Assistance Fund to access educational and economic empowerment opportunities. Hello Neighbor also maintains a National Database of Refugee and Immigration Assistance Agencies, which was highlighted by The New York Times.
About Hello Neighbor
Founded in 2017, Hello Neighbor is a mentorship program that matches American and refugee families to support refugees in becoming self-sufficient and successful in their new lives. The four-month program encourages mentor and mentee families to spend time together individually, but also a cohort with a series of events and activities throughout Pittsburgh. Mentors have access to a Refugee Advocacy Certificate as part of their completion in the program and mentees can receive funds for educational and skill training programs through the Refugee Assistance Fund. To learn more about Hello Neighbor, visit the website at www.helloneighbor.io and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Sloane Davidson
Sloane Davidson is the Founder and CEO of Hello Neighbor, a mentoring program based in Pittsburgh that supports refugees by matching them with dedicated neighbors to guide and support them. An active philanthropist and advocate, Sloane has raised more than $3 million for nonprofits. She currently sits on the Council for the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Lilly School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and Resolve Network, a microfinance NGO in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She was named a top influencer at the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative, “Top Women to Follow” on Twitter by Forbes and named to the Dell #Inspire 100 – a list of leading influencers who use technology to empower and inspire others. Follow Sloane on Twitter.
About USA for UNHCR
USA for UNHCR helps and protects refugees and people displaced by violence, conflict and persecution. It supports UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency – and its partners in providing lifesaving essentials including shelter, water, food, safety and protection worldwide. Through education, advocacy and fundraising in the United States, USA for UNHCR helps refugees survive, recover and build a better future. Established by concerned American citizens, USA for UNHCR is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C. Learn more at UNrefugees.org.
About The Heinz Endowments
The Heinz Endowments is based in Pittsburgh, where we use our region as a laboratory for the development of solutions to challenges that are national in scope. The Heinz Endowments is devoted to the mission of helping our region prosper as a vibrant center of creativity, learning, and social, economic and environmental sustainability. Core to our work is the vision of a just community where all are included and where everyone who calls southwestern Pennsylvania home has a real and meaningful opportunity to thrive. Learn more at Heinz.org.
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