Walmart Awards Global Refuge Grant for New American Cities Program | Global Refuge

New name, same mission! LIRS is now Global Refuge. Learn more.

New name.
Same mission.

LIRS is now Global Refuge.

Welcoming newcomers since 1939.

See Our Evolution

The browser you are using is not supported. Please consider using a modern browser.

Skip Navigation
Start of main content.

Press Release // Empowering Refugees

Walmart Awards Global Refuge Grant for New American Cities Program

Global Refuge logo

Global Refuge Staff

April 19, 2022

New American Cities: Global Refuge receives Walmart grant to foster economic mobility among refugees and migrants

$1,000,000 award will support innovative program helping New Americans access opportunities to upskill and build pathways to economic and social inclusion

Contact: Tim Young | | 443-257-6310

Washington D.C.Global Refuge, a leading national refugee resettlement nonprofit, announced that Walmart has awarded the organization a $1,000,000 grant to implement New American Cities – a program to enhance collaboration between local governments, workforce centers, employers and resettlement agencies in the pursuit of a better approach to economic self-sufficiency for refugee and migrant families.

“The challenges refugees face in rebuilding their lives in the United States are daunting. They are often required to accept low-wage, entry-level positions offering little opportunity for growth,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Global Refuge. “Thanks to Walmart’s support, we can reimagine support systems to unlock the potential of new Americans and revitalize the cities they call home.”

The New American Cities program builds on the success of a previous Global Refuge pilot program funded by Walmart., through which 167 refugees found a significant impact on career advancement and wages and 81% of those placed in a job were placed in their chosen career pathway.

One participant in the pilot program was Julienne, a former refugee from Rwanda. When Julienne began the program, she had a job as a caregiver in a nursing home making about $8 per hour. After working with a career navigation specialist, she was able to secure a career as a Community Support Worker for pregnant women and new mothers, many of whom are former refugees themselves. Julienne now makes nearly $20 per hour and feels a sense of fulfillment in her work.

“I started working with Carla, the program manager, and she helped me with the application. I was hesitating because of the language and because my bachelor’s degree was from Africa, but she helped me prepare, and that’s how I got this job,” Julienne said. “I’m so thankful to Global Refuge. Now, I love my job because I’m helping moms with babies.”

Career Navigators in the New American Cities program help refugee and migrant clients create individualized career plans, connect to skills training, conduct job readiness workshops, and achieve job placement. Pathway Builders, a second position within the program, work with employers to identify opportunities for career advancement and ensure that trainings offered to New Americans in the program directly target local employers’ highest priority skill gaps.

“We’re excited to support Global Refuge as it builds on its pilot program to provide career opportunities for hundreds more New Americans,” said Larry Jackson, Senior Director, Opportunity at Walmart. “Providing skills training and pathways to high-demand careers creates better opportunities for these individuals, and also strengthens the communities and businesses where they live and work.”

Walmart funds currently support program operations in four intentionally selected locations, representing a diverse set of New American Cities, to demonstrate the effectiveness and applicability of the model within a range of community profiles. These locations include Albuquerque, NM; Denver, CO; Fayetteville, AR; and Utica, NY.

“When resettlement agencies and cities help refugees reach their full potential, it benefits all of us,” said Lionel Jordan, Mayor of Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The New American Cities project is designed to be adaptable and scalable to each participating community based on its New American population and labor market. Global Refuge estimates that this two-year program will directly benefit about 600 New Americans and indirectly aid countless others in their families and communities. So far, Global Refuge has enrolled 91 total clients across the four Walmart-supported New American Cities locations.

“With Walmart’s support, we look forward to leveraging our more than 80 years of expertise to innovate a model of programming that meets the present need and sets a shining example for the future of welcome,” continued Vignarajah. “Through this partnership, we can change lives, strengthen local economies, shift the narratives around refugees, and create an inclusive framework that will assist thousands more to come.”

To learn more about the New American Cities program, contact Global Refuge Press Secretary Timothy Young at

To learn more about how you or your foundation can support New American Cities, contact Global Refuge Corporate and Foundation Relations Specialist Leah Johnson at:

The Latest

  • Press Release

    June 4, 2024

    Biden administration announces additional asylum restrictions

    The Biden administration announced today a proclamation to further restrict asylum eligibility at the southern border for people who cross between official U.S. ports of entry.

    Read More
  • Press Release

    May 23, 2024

    U.S. Senate renews push for immigration reform

    The United States Senate is poised to vote on immigration legislation this Thursday in an effort to revive reforms previously negotiated by Democratic and Republican senators.

    Read More
  • News

    May 15, 2024

    Empowering our new neighbors on the journey to healing

    Global Refuge supports refugee and immigrant mental health through holistic programming.

    Read More
  • News · Empowering Refugees

    May 14, 2024

    Breaking Barriers to Mental Healthcare

    In celebration of Mental Health Awareness Month this May, we are spotlighting Margie Hartman LMSW, one of our dedicated clinicians who play a vital role in Global Refuge’s Mental Health Services program.

    Read More
  • Press Release

    April 9, 2024

    U.S. Refugee Admissions Program finds new life in FY 2024

    The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program is on track to resettle the most refugees in three decades, and potentially meet the Biden administration’s goal of resettling 125,000 refugees this year.

    Read More