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City of Lancaster Redesignated as Certified Welcoming

October 17, 2022 | Department of Neighborhood Engagement Mayor's Office
By: Amber Strazzo

The City of Lancaster is redesignated as a Certified Welcoming city by the national nonprofit organization Welcoming America, effective today.

Since becoming the first community in Pennsylvania to receive the Certified Welcoming designation in 2019, the City of Lancaster has led the way on how communities can be welcoming and inclusive to immigrants. The City of Lancaster has embedded immigrant inclusion into the government’s work by establishing the Department of Neighborhood Engagement. The department has a deep commitment to ensuring all residents, including immigrants, have opportunities for dialogue, learning, partnership, civic leadership building, and action between the city government and neighborhood residents.

Certified Welcoming is a formal designation for cities and counties that have created policies and programs reflecting their values and commitment to immigrant inclusion. As designations only last three years, it must go through an audit in order to remain a Certified Welcoming place for another three years.

“Lancaster has been a city of welcome for nearly 300 years. We know that refugees and immigrants make our community and economy stronger, and that we are better together. Being redesignated as a Certified Welcoming city is a testament to Lancaster’s continued commitment to creating an inclusive community where everyone can belong. Whether you’re a newcomer, or your family has been here for generations, I hope Lancaster feels like home,” said Mayor Danene Sorace.

 “It’s my honor to congratulate Lancaster, Pennsylvania on being redesignated as Certified Welcoming. As one of the country’s early innovators in becoming Certified Welcoming, Lancaster has continued to not only deepen its efforts toward inclusion for all, but has inspired other communities to follow its path, ensuring that its values are matched with policies and practices that enable residents to fully participate in the civic, social and economic fabric of the city. We applaud the many leaders and residents who have worked to bridge Lancaster’s uniquely diverse community – from newly-arriving refugees to the longstanding Amish community – creating an environment that ensures every resident can belong and thrive,” said Welcoming America executive director, Rachel Perić.

The City of Lancaster has a well-documented record of being welcoming. In 2016, it participated in the Gateways for Growth Challenge and produced an immigrant inclusion strategic plan. From 2009 to 2014, foreign-born residents accounted for 8% of the city’s overall population growth and $1.3 billion to the county’s GDP, according to a New American Economy report.



Spanning 7 square miles in south Central Pennsylvania, the City of Lancaster is home to 60,000 diverse residents. Committed to building a stronger, more equitable Lancaster block by block, the City of Lancaster oversees a range of public services including public safety, health, housing, parks, streets, and water and sewer operations. For more information, visit cityoflancasterpa.com. Join the conversation at engage.cityoflancasterpa.com


Certified Welcoming is a formal designation for cities and counties that have created policies and programs reflecting their values and commitment to immigrant inclusion and met the high bar set by the Welcoming Standard. This innovative program assesses city and county governments on their efforts to include and welcome immigrants in all areas of civic, social, and economic life in their communities.


Welcoming America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that supports communities building a welcoming society where every person, including immigrants, can fully contribute and shape our shared prosperity. Through the Welcoming Network of 300+ local governments and nonprofits, we work to help communities develop the roadmap they need to create welcoming policies and share new approaches to inclusion that create an environment where everyone can truly thrive.