We Stand with All Our Neighbors

Three Spinners is dedicated to welcoming refugees and immigrants to Champaign-Urbana with immediate support for basic needs.

Champaign-Urbana is a generous community with a long history of welcoming new faces and different cultures. We are helping struggling families move, get shelter, and meet their basic needs.

Right now, we have the opportunity to reaffirm these values by being more, not less, welcoming to people no matter where they come from or how they choose to worship. As part of the YMCA’s New American Welcome Centers effort to build a more inclusive and welcoming communities, we welcome all people without regard to nationality, religion, or legal status.

We commit to come together to solve problems, not make each other the problem. By recognizing the contributions that we all make, we make our neighbors feel more included and our community more welcoming to everyone who calls our community home. You can join these efforts by volunteering, co-sponsoring refugee families and donating school supplies and household items.


Thanks to YOUR donations on Facebook and on our website, we have MADE our Matching Campaign goal of $12,500! This has been matched by a donor in the community, which means that $25,000 will now go to fund scholarships for immigrant and refugee students in Champaign-Urbana. Any additional donations, of course, are still VERY welcomed, and will go toward funding our other goals, including providing safe housing for immigrants and refugees in our community, funding welcoming efforts, and providing for emergency needs.Thank you so much for an astounding year. Your generosity gives us hope for a kinder future.

We are thrilled to announce our newest Education for All Scholarship recipient for the Spring 2019 semester, Maria Cuahuey! Maria will be starting the nursing program at Parkland College in January and we wish her the best of luck in her academic endeavors as she works towards a career in service of others. Congratulations, Maria!

Three Spinners is proud to announce the winner of the 2018-2019 Education for All Scholarship! Lidia Vazquez is a first-year student at Parkland College and the first recipient of the Three Spinners’ Education for All Scholarship. We wish her the best of luck in her academic pursuits! Read more…

Our Mission

We act because our humanity urges us to reach out to people living in fear. No one deserves to know the ugliness of war or the pangs of hunger.

Formed in 2015, the name of our organization comes from a Syrian folktale entitled “The Three Spinners,” recorded by Muna Imady. The story speaks of generosity, compassion, and humility.

In the world, there are 68.5 million forcibly displaced people. Of that 68.5 million, 40 million of them are internally displaced, 25. 4 million are refugees and 3.1 million are asylum-seekers. Of the 25.4 million refugees, registered by the UNHCR, half of them are under the age of 18. These men, women, and children come from many locations of the globe, especially places like South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Syria all accounting for 57% of refugees.

What constitutes our community and the United States? According to the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, 1,248 refugees have arrived on American soil, just in this past year alone (October 1, 2017 – September 30, 2018). The role of immigrants and newly arriving refugees are a huge part of the United States. In the past few decades, there has been an increase of globally displaced people due to worsening situations and ongoing conflicts. However, the refugee arrivals and admittance in the United States has increasingly been lowering.

In Champaign county alone, immigrants contributed $57.2 million in state and local taxes and $119.1 million in federal taxes (Report prepared by the University YMCA, Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, and the University of Illinois Research Park) As of 2016, there were 23,992 immigrants living in Champaign Country and 7,094 of them were refugees making them 3.5% of the population here.

Understanding the dynamics and the diverse identities of those who make up a world that is more and more globalized is crucial to creating conversations about displacement and hate while working towards something positive. We encourage you to become part of our cause and speak out in the face of violence and hatred.

Our Initiatives

  • Provide scholarships for international students from our local high schools to Parkland College. Our Education for All initiative will allow us to invest in students who may not otherwise be eligible for financial support with the opportunity to pursue a degree at Parkland College.
  • Offer short-term assistance for refugee and immigrant families until they settle into their new lives in the community. The Housing for All initiative supports current housing costs.
  • To continue providing emergency services for refugees and immigrants who are new to Champaign-Urbana. Our discretionary funds allow us to respond to last-minute needs for our friends and neighbors.

We believe that ALL newcomers deserve to feel welcome in the IL community, no matter the circumstance. As a friend of Three Spinners, we know you do, too. 

Community Partners

University of Illinois School of Social Work
University YMCA
St. Andrew's Lutheran Campus Center