Our Mission

Many of us are the descendants of refugees and immigrants. Some of us are refugees or immigrants ourselves. We are committed to extending the same welcome and promise that was offered to our families to those who need a place to call home. In so doing we are convinced that welcoming refugees will help to build a stronger economy and community.

Providing a Refuge

The world is in turmoil. There are millions of families who have been displaced by war, political upheaval, and natural disasters. Some of these families are seeking refugee status with the United States but need sponsors who will help them get established in their new community. We seek to sponsor refugees through these official Federal programs and to help them settle in Otsego County.

Revitalizing Our Economy

Otsego County, like much of upstate New York, has been losing population. Businesses cannot find enough people to hire making it difficult for them to operate at full capacity; schools have fewer students and thus receive less state assistance; communities—finding themselves with fewer residents—struggle to balance budgets and raise the tax revenue necessary to support public infrastructure. Welcoming refugees will help to increase our population and create economic momentum in our community.

Growing Our Community

We seek to bring in new people, with diverse experiences and fresh ideas. Refugees and immigrants are heavily vetted before they arrive. They are less likely to commit crimes and are very likely to work hard, start new businesses and value the opportunities of their new country. 

Faced with similar challenges of population decline, Utica began welcoming refugees and immigrants in 1981. The presence of a strong and vibrant immigrant population there has helped to stop the population decline and today Utica continues to thrive and grow.

Extended Trailer for Utica: The Last Refuge (Loch Phillips, 2021).