Despite some recent confusion, Dayton and Toledo are not actually the same city in Ohio. Located about 150 miles apart, Toledo and Dayton are in different regions of the Buckeye state, but they have one important link: They are both officially designated as “welcoming” places for immigrants.
Welcoming America — a nonprofit organization that stringently assesses a community’s efforts to provide inclusive places for everyone to live — named Dayton as its first official “Certified Welcoming” city in September 2017 and gave Toledo-Lucas County their title in April 2019, making them the fourth community in the country to get the distinction and the second in Ohio.
The “Certified Welcoming” title is not an easy one to get, and the evaluation process consists of meeting policy and program benchmarks in seven different categories, which include government leadership, equitable access, civic engagement, connected communities, education, economic development and safe communities. The process of becoming “Certified Welcoming” can take anywhere from six months to one year, according to Welcoming America’s website, but communities are eager to achieve that certification.