Philadelphia Honored at White House for Local Innovations to Drive Cultural Vitality, Prosperity, and Competitive Edge

Philadelphia – Today, the City of Philadelphia and more than 50 other U.S. cities and counties were honored at the White House for their innovative and proactive efforts to bring all residents into their community fabric. These communities understand that creating a welcoming environment where all can thrive is an imperative now for their survival, prosperity, and global competitive edge, and they are leading the way for the nation in immigrant integration.

These communities are part of the Building Welcoming Communities Campaign, a partnership of The White House Task Force on New Americans, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Welcoming America, a national nonprofit organization with expertise in welcoming efforts, to encourage communities to engage in local immigrant integration efforts.

“Philadelphia is a city that benefits from the richness of our cultural diversity,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.  “We’re proud that the White House recognizes our work in providing meaningful services and resources to all of our residents.”

“The local governments being honored today represent the leading edge of a growing movement that recognizes that being more welcoming to all residents, including immigrants, is not only the right thing to do, but smart policy for economic growth and building more cohesive communities,” said Welcoming America Executive Director, David Lubell.

A special event was held at the White House on June 30 that recognized Philadelphia and its launch of key programs designed to create a welcoming city for cultural diversity.  This fall, the city will be launching the first annual Philadelphia International Unity Cup, a 32-team World Cup-style soccer tournament made up of the many diverse immigrant groups across Philadelphia. The tournament is a cooperative effort between the City of Philadelphia Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation, with the purpose of celebrating the rich cultural diversity of Philadelphia through the worldwide appeal of soccer.

Philadelphia also recently launched Language Access Philly, a city-wide program designed to bridge language access gaps by making it easier for LEP residents to obtain public information and services, which was established by a Mayoral Executive Order. This program establishes a system to implement Philadelphia Home Rule Charter (new Charter Section 8-600 passed in 2015), which requires all city agencies, departments, offices, and commissions, whether within the city administration under the authority of the Mayor or not, to prepare and implement plans that promote access and participation with city services for LEP populations.

Additionally, Philadelphia’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs is currently implementing the Immigration Assistance Services legislation, which regulates the practice of immigration service providers, in order to provide immigrants and refugees with information and knowledge to protect them from scams.

U.S. President Barack Obama has called on these communities to act on a set of principles to build inclusive, welcoming communities that allow all residents to thrive and advance integration efforts in three core areas: civic, economic, and linguistic integration.

ACCESS TODAY’S RECORDED PRESS CALL: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, and Welcoming America Deputy Director Rachel Peric today offered media a first chance to hear about White House plans to honor them for innovative efforts to welcome immigrants. Email to access the press call recording or request an interview. Learn more at