Yuri Milner’s Tech For Refugees Helps Expand Innovative Sponsorship Platform Welcome Connect


Launched by tech entrepreneur Yuri Milner, Tech For Refugees seeks to drastically improve the lives of displaced people through technology. The non-profit works with various philanthropic organizations — such as Airbnb.org, Flexport.org, and Welcome.US. — and funds their tech-driven refugee relief programs.

Welcome.US’ mission is to unite, inspire, and empower U.S. citizens to support people seeking refuge in the States. Tech For Refugees helped Welcome.US develop its innovative platform Welcome Connect and will support the platform as it scales. Welcome Connect lets users connect directly with newcomers so they can mutually choose to pursue sponsorship.

About Welcome.US

Founded in 2021, Welcome.US initially focused on aiding Afghan refugees who relocated to the U.S. following the fall of Kabul. Now, U.S. citizens file over 300,000 sponsor applications daily to bring refugees from around the world to safety.

Four former presidents and first ladies have served as co-chairs of Welcome.US, including Barack and Michelle Obama. The non-profit works with various partners, including local and national resettlement agencies and community sponsorship groups.

Since 2021, Welcome.US sponsors in all 50 states have welcomed more than 200,000 newcomers. Additionally, $180 million in private sector contributions — including services, goods, and funds — have supported nationwide resettlement efforts via Welcome.US.

Welcome Connect: A Bridge to Safety for Displaced Ukrainians

Ukrainians escaping the war can seek asylum in the U.S. through the Uniting for Ukraine program. Under this federal program, displaced Ukrainians can secure sponsorship from:

● A U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or other legally present individual.

● Non-profits.

● Educational institutions.

● Employers.

The Welcome Connect platform streamlines this sponsorship process, connecting concerned U.S. citizens with Ukrainian refugees. The user-friendly, accessible site gives agency to vulnerable Ukrainians and ensures that first-time sponsors have a good experience.

Connecting as a sponsor involves five easy steps:

1. Register to explore sponsorship and connect with potential candidates.

2. Take a brief sponsorship training session.

3. Fill out a user profile.

4. Chat with individuals seeking sponsors (either party can choose to end the conversation at any time).

5. Mutually decide to pursue the sponsorship application together.

Harnessing Technology for Refugees

Global investment banking firm Goldman Sachs provided engineering leadership on the Welcome Connect project. Software and information technology companies ServiceNow and Infosys also offered extensive support at no cost during the initial build.

Welcome Connect initially sought to address the immediate sponsorship needs of displaced Ukrainians. However, the platform’s adaptability allows for repurposing in future efforts to privately sponsor other refugee groups.

ServiceNow currently hosts Welcome Connect on its Now Platform for free. Further integrations with platforms like EdApp are currently underway. Tech For Refugees will continue to financially support Welcome Connect as the platform expands to help more displaced people seeking refuge in the U.S.

Discover Tech For Refugees’ other tech-powered humanitarian programs.

About Yuri Milner

Billionaire Yuri Milner and his wife Julia co-founded Tech For Refugees in 2022 in response to the escalation of war in Ukraine. Yuri Milner’s paternal family is Ukrainian, and the war there has affected the couple deeply.

Tech For Refugees receives funding via the Breakthrough Prize Foundation. Yuri Milner launched the Foundation in 2012 to help realize his Giving Pledge. The Foundation also supports the Breakthrough Prize, the world’s largest scientific award. The Milners co-founded the Breakthrough Prize with Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, Anne Wojcicki, and Sergey Brin.

On top of this, the Foundation sponsors the Breakthrough Junior Challenge and the Breakthrough Initiatives. The Breakthrough Junior Challenge is an annual competition that encourages high school students to engage with scientific ideas. Meanwhile, the Breakthrough Initiatives invest in state-of-the-art space programs to help humanity uncover the mysteries of life in the Universe.

Yuri Milner’s passion for science led him to write the short book Eureka Manifesto: The Mission for Our Civilization (2021). The book offers his perspective on humanity’s place in the Universe and the mission we should all embrace to advance our civilization.

Share post:


More like this

Why Veteran Care Coordination’s Founder Promotes Pickleball as an Important Component of Senior Wellness

Recently, Kyle Laramie participated in a pickleball fundraiser benefiting...



Banish Back Pain: Five Life-Changing Tips for Desk-Bound Professionals

For many office workers, back pain is an unwelcome...