November 2017 Newsletter

In this issue:
  • Gift Card Program
  • Education Assistance Program
  • Certified Welcoming City
  • Outreach Team
  • Donation Team Co-Leader and Schedule Coordinator
  • Pumpkin Patch Outing
  • Thank you!
"3rd Wednesday" General Meeting
Wednesday November 15
7:00-8:00 PM
Wil-Mar Community Center
953 Jenifer St, Madison, 53703

Want to get involved?
Come and learn how you can!

FYI, we won't have a "3rd Wednesday" meeting in December
Gift Cards make great gifts:

In this season of gratitude and gifting, you can offer direct support for refugees through our gift card program.  Last year, our generous donors gave almost $5,000 in cards, which allowed us to give $50 in vouchers to each refugee (adults and children) we served at the time.
You can help us build on this effort by purchasing one or more gift cards from your favorite department, grocery or thrift store in $25 increments ($25, $50, $75, etc., to make equitable distribution easier).  You may also want to consider organizing a card drive in your neighborhood or place of work or worship. 

Please put any cards you have in a padded envelope and mail them to:

Open Doors for Refugees
1213 N Sherman Ave #104
Madison WI 53704

We’ll distribute cards directly to refugees.    Thank you for your generosity.
Educational Assistance Program launched:

Thanks to your generous financial donations, Open Doors is able to start an Education Assistance Program to help refugees become more self-sufficient. 
Under the program, refugees who've been here less than five years may receive up to $500 per person per year (up to a total of $1,000 over multiple years) to cover up to half the costs of eligible classes, books and supplies. These may include behind-the-wheel and other skill-development courses, as well as trade and academic classes.  We are anticipating a strong response, and intend to seek additional grant funding for this program. Thanks again for your help!

Make Madison a Certified Welcoming City:
Open Doors is a member of Welcoming America. This fabulous national organization sponsored national Welcoming Week in September, and Open Doors participated by co/hosting six public events locally! 

Welcoming America has created a Certified Welcoming program that recognizes cities and counties that offer comprehensive programs, policies, offices, etc., that are welcoming to refugees and immigrants and help newcomers settle in their community.
To become a Certified Welcoming City, a municipality must do a self-assessment and show that it meets the rigorous criteria identified by Welcoming America. This certification offers a concrete way for cities to declare that they welcome and support newcomers.

We believe that such a certification would reflect who we are and what we believe in Madison. So, we are forming a Certified Welcoming Team to bring together local organizations, faith communities, civic leaders, and others to lay the groundwork for the City of Madison to seek certification. 

The application itself must come from the City of Madison, but we are willing to assist with the application and self-assessment, and in working with Welcoming America. 

We are seeking volunteers to help with this significant undertaking. Please send an email to if you'd like to be involved.

Outreach Team aims to broaden contacts:

We are creating an Outreach Team to help broaden our network within the community and help us connect with others who have similar and complementary interests.
The team's mission is two-fold:

1) To reach out to other civic, secular, non-profit, for-profit and faith-based organizations to learn about each other, to share what we are each doing to support refugees, and to identify ways that we might work together.

2) To reach out to refugees themselves. We have a strong connection to Arabic-speaking refugees who’ve arrived in the last year or two (since Open Doors began), but we want to connect with those who arrived before then, or who might not be part of the Arabic-speaking community.

If you’d like to join the Outreach Team, please send an email to

Donations Team seeks Co-Leader, Schedule Coordinator

 The Donations Team is seeking volunteers for two leadership positions to help improve the team's effectiveness, share the work more evenly, and develop new leaders.

The team is seeking a co-leader to assist the current donation managers, Jim and Jan Hornik, and a scheduling coordinator for volunteers who pick up donations and furnish apartments.

The Donations Team collects and stores furniture, and household items for use in furnishing apartments for newcomers.

To learn more about these opportunities, please contact Jim Hornik at or call 242-9602.

Pumpkin Patch and Apple Pickin' Outing:

A large group of the new Madison residents enjoyed a warm and beautiful Saturday recently at the Eplegaarden Orchards, joined by ODFR Volunteers who organized the event.  For many people, this was a new opportunity to see the beautiful Dane County countryside and pick apples and pumpkins.  And for most, it was a first experience with the children’s Hallowed Haunts Playground and haloween traditions.  Families took rides on the hay wagon, picked pumpkins and apples to take home, had snacks and soaked in the sunshine.  Many thanks to the Eplegaarden for their shared support of this outing that showed new Madisonians a true Wisconsin Fall experience.   

We want to give a big shout-out to Tanya Carney, our new Volunteer Coordinator, and Kerry Hill, our new Editor. THANK YOU!  It's dedicated people like Tanya and Kerry and you who make Open Doors possible.
Contact Us:









Mailing Address

Open Doors for Refugees

1213 N Sherman Ave # 104
Madison, WI 53704


Copyright © 2017 Open Doors for Refugees, All rights reserved.

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