Ottawa County awarded the Gateways for Growth Challenge

Ottawa Update

November 18, 2020

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Ottawa County awarded the Gateways for Growth Challenge

Ottawa County and 18 others, join a network of 71 localities deploying economic research and multi-sector welcoming plans to forward inclusion and economic opportunity for all.

Today, New American Economy (NAE) and Welcoming America selected Ottawa County to receive a Gateways for Growth (G4G) Research Award. Launched in 2016, G4G is a competitive opportunity for localities to receive research support and technical assistance from NAE and Welcoming America to improve immigrant inclusion in their communities.

In light of the scale and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gateways for Growth Challenge this year prioritized localities that demonstrated a public-private commitment to better integrating immigrants into recovery efforts and emergency management systems. As the country looks to rebuild and set a more inclusive path forward nationally, Ottawa County, as part of the G4G 2020 cohort, will lay the groundwork and build the infrastructure for economic, civic, and social inclusion at the local level.

“As Ottawa County continues to grow in diversity, we look forward to using this economic research to better understand how our immigration population impacts our economy and where our community has been shaped, strengthened and enriched.  Having access to this important data, especially during times like these, will inform us on our immigration inclusion planning efforts, which is a benefit to us all,” said Robyn Afrik, Ottawa County Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Director.

“We are thrilled to see the Gateways for Growth Challenge expand to another set of localities that reflect the diversity of our nation,” said Christina Pope, Senior Network Director at Welcoming America. “With each cohort, there is an opportunity to support and connect local leaders making their communities more welcoming and resilient places where everyone, including immigrants, can prosper and belong.”

“The Gateways for Growth program helps communities quantify what many people already know -- that immigrants play a key role in driving growth,” said Mo Kantner, Director of State and Local Initiatives at New American Economy. “We’re excited to see how these communities can use data and technical assistance to support their work to ensure that all residents are welcome and have pathways to success.”

As in previous years, G4G awardees will receive a combination of:

  • Customized quantitative research reports from NAE on the demographic and economic contributions immigrants make in their communities; and/or
  • Tailored technical assistance from NAE and Welcoming America to help communities draft, execute, and communicate a multi-sector immigrant inclusion strategy.

Year-round, NAE and Welcoming America maintain an interactive map at that serves as a clearinghouse for the successes of all current and prior G4G awardees.

This year’s awardees, alongside Ottawa County include:

  • Dayton, Ohio
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Contra Costa County, California
  • Erie, Pennsylvania
  • Gainesville, Florida
  • Lancaster County, Nebraska
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Mercer County, New Jersey
  • Miami-Dade County, Florida
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Passaic County, New Jersey
  • Reno/Washoe County, Nevada
  • Saint Paul, Minnesota
  • San Mateo County, California
  • Southwest Kansas
  • Spokane, Washington
  • Washtenaw County, Michigan

About New American Economy

New American Economy (NAE) is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization founded to educate, empower and support policymakers, influencers, and citizens across the country that see the economic and social benefits of a smart approach to immigration reform. NAE has created a coalition of civic, business, and cultural leaders who span the political spectrum and represent all 50 states. NAE makes the case for smart immigration reform in four ways. We generate and use powerful research to demonstrate how immigration impacts our economy. We organize champions at the grassroots and influencer levels to build support for immigration. We partner with state and local leaders to advocate for policies that recognize the value immigrants add locally. We show immigrant contributions to American culture through film, food, art, sports, comedy, and more. Visit to learn more.

About Welcoming America

Welcoming America leads a movement of inclusive communities from across the world in becoming more prosperous by making everyone feel like they belong. Through a membership network of 200+ local governments and nonprofits, Welcoming America connects and supports place-based initiatives that work to reduce divisions and support greater civic, social, and economic participation among new and longtime residents alike. Through the Welcoming Network, participating members access peer learning opportunities, technical assistance, tools, and training to help transform their communities into more welcoming places. Visit to learn more.