Press Statement | June 30, 2023

ECDC joins Welcome Corps as a Private Sponsorship Organization

Arlington, Va.- ECDC is pleased to announce that it has joined Welcome Corps, a U.S. government community service program, as a Private Sponsor Organization (PSO) to help assist Americans to privately sponsor refugees from around the world.

“As ECDC celebrates its 40th anniversary of serving and empowering the refugee and immigrant community, we are excited to join Welcome Corps as a Private Sponsor Organization. Over the last few years, we have witnessed how the American people have stepped up to assist the government and resettlement agencies across the U.S. in meeting the challenges of the increased influx of refugees from around the world,” said ECDC President and CEO, Tsehaye Teferra, Ph.D.

“This opportunity will help ECDC expand its community engagement and sponsorship program and reach a larger number of deserving families displaced from their homes by mobilizing everyday Americans to form Private Sponsor Groups,” said Teferra.

“Serving as a Private Sponsor Organization also enables ECDC to respond to the needs of African refugees seeking to resettle in the U.S. and contribute to the diversification of the resettlement program.”

ECDC’s role will be to recruit, support, and work closely with Americans who are sponsoring newcomers through the Welcome Corps, which was launched in January 2023.

In anticipation of joining the program, ECDC has been engaging with interested community members by organizing information sessions through webinars and sending announcements about the program to its network. Registration of those interested has also been underway.

ECDC is one of 12 organizations announced as having joined Welcome Corps as a Private Sponsor Organization in what is deemed the boldest innovation in the U.S.’s approach to refugee resettlement in more than 40 years (see the announcement) — Twelve Organizations Join the Welcome Corps to Help Everyday Americans Sponsor Refugees – Welcome Corps).

“ECDC is working with Welcome Corps to become an active Private Sponsor Organization by mobilizing Private Sponsor Groups.” ECDC encourages Private Sponsor Groups interested in Phase 1 of the program to complete the official application process on the Welcome Corps website. Information regarding ECDC’s second town hall webinar on Welcome Corps will be forthcoming.

ECDC was established in 1983, as a 501(c)(3) non-profit community-based organization based in Arlington, Virginia, that works locally, regionally, and nationally to respond to the needs of the refugee and immigrant communities. ECDC is one of 10 national agencies authorized by the Department of State to resettle refugees in the United States and since 1991 has resettled 72,400 refugees in the United States from countries around the world.

Welcome Corps was launched by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) and is being implemented by a consortium of six organizations that have extensive expertise in refugee resettlement, protection of vulnerable populations, and relocation of newcomers into welcoming communities. Led by the Community Sponsorship Hub, the consortium includes Church World Service/Refugee Welcome Collective, IRIS—Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and Welcome.US. The Welcome Corps aims to mobilize at least 10,000 Americans in 2023 to welcome refugees through private sponsorship.

Refugee newcomers who arrive through the Welcome Corps will follow an established government process, known as the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), which includes extensive security vetting and health checks. They will have refugee status, employment authorization, access to key public benefits like health insurance, and can eventually apply for U.S. citizenship. The Welcome Corps provides sponsor groups with access to tools and resources, including a budget template, fund-raising support, an arrival checklist, and ongoing guidance throughout the initial sponsorship period.

To learn more about ECDC’s participation in Welcome Corps, please contact: Elisabeth Benfield:,

To learn more about the program, visit: Private Sponsorship Explained – ECDC – Ethiopian Community Development Council (

To access resources about Welcome Corps, see: Frequently Asked Questions – Welcome Corps