Story County Immigrant and Refugee Collaboration


Vision Statement

We envision a Story County in which immigrants and refugees are valued and fully included as a vibrant force in our communities.


Purpose Statement

The Story County Immigrant & Refugee Collaboration brings together diverse organizations and individuals. Collectively, we work to ensure immigrant and refugee households have access to the services and opportunities necessary to full participation in our communities. This involves:

  • engaging immigrants and refugees and building on our/their experiences to identify issues and develop solutions
  • enhancing communication between organizations serving immigrants and refugees to build on each other’s efforts
  • collaborating with others to provide direct service
  • raising awareness
  • advocating for policies and practices that promote full participation


Participating Organizations:

ACCESS, Ames Chinese Language Academy, Ames Interfaith Refugee Alliance (AIRA), Ames Jewish Congregation (Social Action), Ames Sanctuary Interfaith Partners (ASIP), Ames UCC, Asian American and Pacific Islanders Community of Ames, Bethesda Lutheran, Bridges International, Collegiate United Methodist, County Coordinating Committee, Good Neighbor Emergency Assistance, India  Culture Association, St. Cecilia, St. Thomas Aquinas, Also includes unaffiliated community members. Convened by United Way of Story County.


Meeting Schedule

Third Tuesday of the month, 1 – 2 pm, currently via Zoom. Email or for more information or to get added to our email distribution list.


History of Story County Immigrant and Refugee Collaboration

Today’s Story County Immigrant and Refugee Collaboration began in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Iowa. At that time, United Way of Story County pulled together multiple organizations and individuals to discuss how best to address a new, pressing need: financial assistance for immigrants and refugees, many of whom were not eligible or struggled to access government pandemic benefits. Within a few busy weeks, the Covid-19 Emergency Fund for Story County Immigrants was born. 

Housed at St. Cecilia Catholic Church in Ames, the “Immigrant Fund” (as it was colloquially known) operated from March 2020 thru December 2021. In that time, $374,235 was raised and disbursed to local immigrant households in 1,028 rent and utility payments. Key to this success were volunteer multilingual caseworkers working directly with immigrant households, community volunteers who functioned as “landlord liaisons,” and support from individuals and philanthropic and faith-based organizations. For this work, the Immigrant Fund was honored with both the Ames Human Relations’ Commission’s “Ames Humanitarian Award 2022” and United Way of Story County’s “Collaboration and Innovation Award 2020.” In addition, it was featured on TV, radio, and in multiple news stories (for example: “Story County pandemic fund helps immigrants shut out from US aid: ‘These people have been miracles’ “; “Fund raises over a quarter-million” ).

On December 14, 2021, the Immigrant Fund changed its name to the “Story County Immigrant and Refugee Collaboration” and adopted a shared vision and mission. Having developed strong working relationships through the Fund, we have a great foundation on which to build. 


Translated Resources

Story County Food Resources - Spanish  Korean  Chinese  Arabic  English

*Note: The Korean, Chinese, and Arabic guides were translated by community volunteers in 2021. Some information may not be current.*

Story County Financial Assistance Resources - Spanish  English


Upcoming Events, Opportunities, and Information

View our monthly newsletter in English or in Spanish! (click the links below to view)


Story County ELL Spring 2024

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