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FUS Ukraine Refugee Sponsorship Project

Our community wants to devote time and resources needed to help sponsor one or more Ukrainian refugee families here in the Twin Cites. This desire was demonstrated by the overwhelming response from FUS members and friends following Rev. Kelli’s talk and the presentation by Alight on February 19. Catherine Jordan, Bernadine Joselyn and Bob Aderhold are leading this effort working closely with Alight, formerly the American Refugee Committee, an international organization headquartered in Minneapolis.


Approximately 50 FUS members and friends have expressed interest in participating in this project. We are currently gathering further information from participants as to how they want to participate in a sponsor team. Next step will be to determine how many teams we can create and then create a profile of our sponsor team(s) on a website that helps match refugee families coming to the U.S. with a sponsor team. Families come in different sizes with unique needs a sponsor teams are also diverse. An Alight “Sponsor Guide” will work with teams, once established, in getting comfortable with their roles and familiarize them with the supportive services available to refugee families.

Learn More

The Project Basics section below provides key facts about the project. If you did not catch Rev Kelli’s talk during the February 19th assembly or Alight representative Stephanie Koehne’s presentation following the assembly, here are links to video from those events:

Rev Kelli Talk

Stephanie Koehne Presentation

Project Basics

  • Alight is working under the auspices of federal and state agencies, to find sponsors for refugee families arriving here in Minnesota. FUS members worked with Alight last year to support resettlement of Afghan refugees.
  • Seven million Ukrainians – mostly women, children, and elderly – have fled Ukraine since February 2022 in the wake of Russia’s invasion. Almost all of them have found safety and support in Europe, 2 million or more in Poland.
  • Through the Uniting for Ukraine program, the US government has created a pathway for Ukrainians to come the US for an initial two-year period. But they must first have a sponsor in the US who agrees to support them and help them get on their feet during their stay.
  • Alight has been on the ground in Poland since the end of February 2022, meeting Ukrainians on their journey, helping them process their new reality and navigate to needed support.
  • Sponsorship requires time and resources, and it is also one of the most tangible ways to help a family who has had to leave their lives behind and move to a place where they may not understand the language, culture, and local requirements.
  • A sponsorship team usually consists of 4 to 8 individuals with additional volunteers to help with specific tasks.Typically, the sponsorship team will find donated housing or rent an Airbnb for the family for approximately two months until the family can get connected with needed services and established enough to find their own housing and work.
  • Other members of the sponsorship team help with other aspects, fundraising, taking family members to appointments, shopping, getting children enrolled in school, helping them get tapped into federal and state resources for healthcare, etc. Alight provides a case manager to each Ukrainian family and their sponsorship team to provide training, guidance and support.
  • Uniting for Ukraine requires sponsors to provide financial support, approximately $10,000. This tends to be the easiest part of sponsoring a family. Alight has tools for creating a profile for sponsorship teams and families, facilitating the matching process, as well as for fundraising.
  • Once the family is settled in permanent housing, their dependence on the sponsorship group lessens greatly and the sponsor group operates on a “friend and neighbor” basis.

Get Involved

Sign up here for more information


Sponsor Team Roles Description