The Center for Inclusion and Belonging Announces its Belonging Innovation Laboratory Fellowship Winners

August 31, 2022

WASHINGTON—The Center for Inclusion and Belonging at the American Immigration Council is pleased to announce the twelve organizations chosen to join its inaugural Belonging Innovation Lab Fellowship.

With the support of a distinguished group of faculty and mentors, these fellows will strengthen their ability to bridge differences through their community-based programs and activities. They will dive deeply into the evidence-base around group division and polarization, and learn how to deploy prejudice-reducing intergroup contact strategies that foster social connections between diverse groups of people.

The fellowship provides a $75,000 grant to each of the 12 selected organizations made possible by the generous support of the Walmart Foundation.

“Given their placement and social capital in community, these fellows and their respective organizations have the potential to connect people via their favorite hobbies, pastimes and community-based activities and deepen cross-group connections,” said Wendy Feliz, Director of the Center for Inclusion and Belonging at the American Immigration Council.

The Belonging Innovation Fellowships go to:

Futbol Factory  (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) – bridging racial and ethnic differences through soccer leagues, clinics and regional tournaments.

Global Detroit’s Social Cohesion Project (Detroit, Michigan) – advancing quality of life improvements via community councils in urban neighborhoods and fostering cross-cultural and mutually beneficial relationships between long-term and immigrant residents.

Minnesota Council of Churches Refugee Services’ Tapestry Project  (North Mankato, Minnesota)  providing life skills workshops on parenting, housing, health, safety, and entrepreneurship, as well as deepening connections between U.S. and foreign-born community members.

Mutual Aid Brockton, (Brockton, Massachusetts) – employing a mutual aid approach to solve community problems and work towards optimizing programmatic delivery in ways that can bridge racial and ethnic differences.

Ozark Literacy Council, (Fayetteville, Arkansas) – using literacy centers to host social and creative activities that bridge across lines of difference.

Needham Resilience Network, (Needham, Massachusetts) – development of a transformative model for community participation that creates a table of multipliers, or a “network of networks.” Which includes community leaders and liaisons who can speak to and from the perspectives of all community stakeholder groups and solve local problems together.

Willamette University, (Salem, Oregon) – development of a transformative curriculum to improve undergraduate students’ abilities to engage in liberal arts discussion across a range of differences (first generation college vs. legacy, rural/urban and others) and to pass those tools on as trainers across academia.

A cohort of community farming/garden projects who are using their program to build a range of connections across diverse communities via agricultural projects were also awarded fellowships. This includes Denver Urban Gardens (Denver, Colorado), Global Cleveland’s Bee Bridge Project (Cleveland, Ohio), Schenectady Inner City Ministries (Schenectady, NY), Sustainable Berea (Berea, Kentucky) and Tapestry Farms,  Davenport, Iowa.



 For more information, contact:

Brianna Dimas at the American Immigration Council, [email protected] or 202-507-7557.

Media Contact

Elyssa Pachico
[email protected]

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