Vision Together 2025 has received a $100,000 grant from a private donor at the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies to build capacity to welcome Ukrainian immigrants to the Johnstown area. Vision will use the funding to create and execute a resettlement plan that will welcome newcomers to greater Johnstown.

Moved to action by the Ukrainian crisis, the donor believes the donation will help create a structure where Johnstown will become well-known as a welcoming community to those who are in need of safety. Creating a formalized structure will also serve as a resource for other immigrants coming into the area who are adamant about becoming contributing citizens of our community.

Vision Together 2025 is still in the process of creating a formalized plan and will continue to update the public as new information becomes available. A start date has not been set.

“I believe the donor chose Vision because they see our organization as a collaborative group who will successfully utilize this funding,” Vision Together 2025 Board Chairman Bill Polacek said. “The current situation in Ukraine continues to be a cruel attack on families, and people are looking for an escape. The donor believes Vision’s forward thinking will help tie the new residents to jobs, which will create a community ecosystem of filling job openings that have been vacant for a number of years. Welcoming newcomers will add housing, help our small businesses grow, and allow them to be contributing members of our economy. This is just one of the many ways that we can turn the table on our 100 years of population decline.”

“Recent conversations about growing Johnstown’s population, as well as the events in Ukraine, prompted this donor to make this generous gift,” CFA President Mike Kane said. “We were pleased to help make our donor’s intention a reality.”

Through the structure that will be developed with the funding, the region will be able to work with immigration agencies and will be poised to help immigrants connect with local service agencies, employers, and others.

“Our intent is to match newcomers with jobs and housing,” Vision Together 2025 President Mike Tedesco said. “There are well over 1,000 open jobs in our market, and we all know the situation with housing, so both objectives will come easily.”

Tedesco added, “It’s our responsibility to build a framework whereby newcomers can seamlessly resettle into a new job, housing, and start immediately contributing to our regional economy.”