Updated 11:57 PM EST, Wed, Jan 17, 2018
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UNC Latino Migration Project's 'Building Integrated Communities' Program Will Add Two New Cities With $100k Grant

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Since 2006 the University of North Carolina has carried out the Latino Migration Project (LMP), a program geared toward helping immigrants to integrate into the North Carolina community at large. The program is run in collaboration with the Institute for the Study of the Americas and the Center for Global Initiatives at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The program recently received a $100,000 grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to expand its "Building Integrated Communities" (BIC) program, which has been operating since 2010. Having contributed to the initial funding of the program, the foundation notes on its website that from 2010-2012 more than 350 foreign-born residents from 26 different countries were involved in the program's planning process.

"As a result of this process, High Point and Greenville communities each created and approved city-wide immigrant integration plans, the first such plans in the South," the organization writes on its news page. "The city councils of both communities also voted to establish local immigrant advisory committees that provide leadership avenues for immigrant voices to advise city government leaders."

With the new grant, the organizers plan to expand the BIC program to two more cities. In the fall semester of 2014, the Latino Migration Project will hold a two-day forum to allow interested parties to learn about the program and apply to bring the BIC program to their city.

In the BIC program, the LMP works directly with city leaders to identify areas where the needs of immigrants can be better facilitated in their city. After which, the city administration will conduct a community needs assessment and engage in relationship-building and dialogue with local immigrant leaders. The LMP in turn will assist in meeting facilitation as well as further community needs assessments, research on demography, and best practices.

"We partner with municipalities and bring members of diverse communities to the decision-making table as plans are created," said program director Hannah Gill to the Daily Tarheel. "We're facilitators, but it's up to these local communities to get people together to come up with a plan and to implement what they said they would do."

The BIC program has been the recipient of the White House "Champions for Change" award, the UNC "Impact Award" (by Anisha Steephen) and the North Carolina AARP "Multi-Cultural Award."

In addition to the BIC program, the LMP also maintains the New Roots Oral History collection and operates Guanajuato Connections, a study program that includes travel to the origin city of many UNC area immigrants.

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