The Welcoming Center Announces Virtual 18th Anniversary Celebration at the 2021 Solas Awards

The Philadelphia non-profit to honor Dr. José Ramón Fernández-Peña with its Dennis Clark Solas Award

February 23, 2021 – Philadelphia, PA – The Welcoming Center (TWC) will be holding its annual fundraising gala, the 2021 Solas Awards, on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. For the first time in TWC’s 18-year history, the Solas Awards will be held virtually. Funds raised through the gala benefit TWC’s core programs that provide critical support to immigrants and refugees in the region. 

The organization’s mission is to promote inclusive economic growth through immigrant integration. “The Solas Awards has always been about coming together and shining a light on the contributions immigrants have been making in our city and region,” said Peter Gonzales, president and CEO of The Welcoming Center. “This year, it is especially important we continue this tradition to highlight how we are continuing to come together virtually as a community to spark positive changes in Philadelphia and beyond.” 

At Solas 2021, TWC will be honoring Dr. José Ramón Fernández-Peñapresident of the American Public Health Association, founder of the Welcome Back Initiative, and a founding member of IMPRINT, with its highest honor, the Dennis Clark Solas Award for making a significant impact on the lives of immigrants in our region and across the U.S. Dr. Fernández-Peña is also a longtime friend and advisor to TWC, helping the organization design and launch its International Professionals Program in 2014. 

The Dennis Clark Solas Award was created in 2001 to pay tribute to Dennis Clark who was an ardent and tireless advocate for peace, justice, and equality. It is given to those whose vision, voice, and achievements inspire us all. 

Solas 2021 will be emceed by the Founder and CEO of Inclusiva, Uva Coles. The program will also feature additional speakersincluding: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and the Second Lady of Pennsylvania and Founder of the Free Store, Gisele Barreto Fetterman. 

Major Solas 2021 sponsors include: Citizens Bank, Independence Blue Cross, Shirin and Rudy Karsan, Hao-Li and Evan Loh, Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Center City Orthodontics/Dr. Tejjy Thomas, John Chou and Teresa Wallace, Patrick Mahanger and Dr. Kevin Baumlin, Bob and Pat Aglira, Nina Chen and Eric Langenmayr, The Philadelphia Foundation, Bill and Mary Stock, WES Global Talent Bridge, Boston Consulting Group, Alex Costabile and Susan Dando, Klasko Immigration Law Partners, John Touey and Jin Cho, and Wells Fargo. 

To support the immigrant community through The Welcoming Center or for more information about the event, go to welcomingcenter.org/solas 


About The Welcoming Center: The Welcoming Center (TWC) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Philadelphia that promotes inclusive economic growth through immigrant integration. Founded in 2003, TWC works to open doors of economic opportunity for immigrants of all education and skill levels and build immigrants’ individual and collective agency to address barriers to integration and wellbeing. TWC collaborates with its participants, a broad spectrum of organizations, and public and private sector institutions to advance learning, shape policy, and grow the economy. The organization will be celebrating its 18th anniversary on March 3, 2021 at its annual fundraising gala, the 2021 Solas Awards. 

Contact: Lina Duffy lina@welcomingcenter.org 215-825-7770