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Roanoke General City News

Posted on: January 9, 2019

City of Roanoke Wins Gateways for Growth Award in National Competition

Roanoke, VA – The City of Roanoke has been selected by New American Economy (NAE) and Welcoming America to receive a Gateways for Growth award. Launched in 2015, the nationwide challenge is a competitive opportunity for local communities to develop concrete strategies to integrate immigrants, foster economic growth, and promote inclusion for all residents. 

“We are honored to join other progressive and inclusive cities across the nation in this competitive program,” said Bob Cowell, Roanoke's City Manager. “As we develop the City’s next 20-year Comprehensive Plan, this project will help us continue to look forward and support our region’s growing international community for decades to come.”

The City of Roanoke will receive a customized qualitative research report from NAE that outlines demographic and economic contributions of Roanoke’s international community. Roanoke will also receive on-the-ground technical assistance from NAE and Welcoming America to develop, execute, and communicate a multi-sector immigrant integration strategy. 

“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.”

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 while highlighting the contributions immigrants are already making locally.

“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 award marks another successful community-based project stemming from public-private partnerships in Roanoke. After working closely with local nonprofits to launch an effective Welcoming Roanoke campaign this past September, the City collaborated with Local Colors, Commonwealth Catholic Charities, and Blue Ridge Literacy to apply for Gateways for Growth.

“Partnering with the City of Roanoke on this challenge is a perfect match for our 30-year mission of celebrating diversity, promoting a welcoming environment, and establishing a support system for Roanoke’s international community,” said Beth Lutjen, Executive Director of Local Colors. 

Since 2015, 41 communities across the nation have participated in Gateways for Growth. Roanoke joins 12 other awardees in this year’s cohort:

Bowling Green, Kentucky
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Charlotte, North Carolina
Flint, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Lexington, Kentucky    
Lowell, Massachusetts
Memphis, Tennessee
Northern Kentucky
San Antonio, Texas    
Toledo-Lucas County, Ohio    
Wayne County, Michigan

For more information about the City’s commitment to the Gateways for Growth Challenge, please contact Whitney Slightham, the City of Roanoke’s Citizen Engagement Officer at whitney.slightham@roanokeva.gov or 540-853-6428.

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