Get Involved

Form a team and commit to accompanying a refugee family on their resettlement journey.

We cannot meet the holistic needs of newcomers alone. An African proverb says, “Many hands make light work.” Co-sponsorship teams help newcomers over a more extended period and offer more diverse community experiences than resettlement agency staff alone can offer. We believe involving more people and supporting newcomers will improve integration outcomes and increase public understanding of refugee issues.

We assembled an amazing team of a few loving friends and a dozen open-hearted strangers. Each team member has provided a different skill and a different personal friendship with Saeed and his family. We have shared many wonderful dinners, outings, and family engagements.

Susan, Co-sponsor team leader in Greensboro, North Carolina

Who qualifies to be co-sponsors?

Co-sponsorship is important and intensive work; therefore, teams must meet certain criteria to qualify. These include:
  • Have 7+ people with one person identified as the team coordinator;
  • Raise and donate at least $3,000, which the local office will use to supplement rent and other essential items for the family;
  • Collect furniture and other household items the family needs;
  • Devote several hours every week to assisting the family for nine months post-arrival;
  • Sign a written agreement outlining the duties the team will perform;
  • Complete orientation and training prior to being matched; and
  • Stay in regular communication and follow guidance from the local office staff.

What tasks are co-sponsors asked to take on?

Co-sponsorship teams partner with one of our local offices and take on responsibility for most of the services we are required to provide to every refugee family and go beyond. We ask teams to organize themselves into committees to divide up the work.

Committees should be organized around different key integration pathways, which include:

  • Housing and Welcome
  • Transportation
  • Health
  • Education
  • Cultural Adjustment
  • Jobs and Finance

What are the next steps to pursue co-sponsorship?

Co-sponsorship is a significant commitment, but it is also an extremely rewarding one. If this sounds exciting and feasible to you, that’s great! To get started, follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Organize your team. Review the criteria above and find like-minded people willing to join you.
  2. Check out the resources below to better understand what co-sponsorship is all about. Use the planning worksheet to begin organizing your team.
  3. Reach out to the resettlement office nearest you to indicate your interest. (Note that not all of our local sites have co-sponsorship programs, but all have some way to get involved.)
  4. Follow the instructions provided by the local office to prepare and submit your team’s application.
  5. After approval, your team will complete training. This training takes ~6 hours and is often organized over multiple days. It covers refugee resettlement basics, co-sponsors’ responsibilities, frameworks for working effectively with refugees, and teamwork strategies for solving challenges that may arise.
  6. Fundraise, collect in-kind donations and prepare other logistics as you wait for the local office to find the right refugee family to match with your team.
  7. Accept the proposed match by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which outlines your commitment. Turn over funds raised and prepare to set up the apartment before the family arrives.
  8. Welcome the family upon arrival and begin the 9-month journey to support them on the path to self-sufficiency, communicating and collaborating closely with local office staff!

It has been a very precious experience to be working on something so meaningful for people we care about so much.

Lise, co-sponsorship team leader in Brattleboro, Vermont

Read the full story of Lise’s team and the family with whom they were matched.

Co-sponsorship Resources

Program Overview

This flyer explains the requirements, goals, structure, and benefits of ECDC’s co-sponsorship program.

Planning Worksheet

This is an exercise for potential co-sponsorship teams to work through together to prepare for co-sponsorship and understand what’s involved.

Self-study Resources

This provides links to websites where co-sponsors can learn about refugee resettlement and gain relevant skills prior to and after being formally trained by the local office.

Housing Supply List

This list details the items that co-sponsor teams will need to collect in order to furnish the family’s home prior to arrival.

Pledge Record

This tool can be used to record funds promised by supporters and track progress toward the minimum fundraising goal.

Application Form

This is what teams will need to complete and submit, along with background checks for core members, when ready to move forward.

Co-sponsorship Manual

This handbook includes key information that will guide co-sponsorship teams before, during, and after training on what they should do and how to be effective.

Memorandum of Understanding

This agreement outlines the responsibilities that co-sponsors will be asked to take on and the conduct they will be asked to uphold.

Volunteer Agreement

This release is required of each individual volunteer in a co-sponsorship team to ensure commitment to confidentiality and release of liability.

Case Note Template

This is the format that co-sponsors will be asked to fill to record and share their activities and progress with local office staff for proper documentation and coordination.

Progress Tracking Tool

This is a list of all the suggested and required tasks that co-sponsorship teams are asked to carry out and provides space to indicate what was done when in order to keep track of goals that are accomplished during the co-sponsorship journey.

Transition Guide

This handout helps to prepare co-sponsorship team members for the transition that will take place at the end of their 9-month commitment when they officially conclude their role as co-sponsors and continue being good neighbors to the family they welcomed.

Be prepared to have your life changed.

The work of co-sponsorship impacts the co-sponsors almost as much as the newcomer family. You will learn more about the world, your local community, and yourself through the process.

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