CanopyNWA is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization started by Northwest Arkansas residents who are working to create a place of refuge for people fleeing persecution due to race, membership in a particular social group, political opinion, religion, or national origin.


Our Story

Increasingly, refugees from all over the world must relocate as a result of political, religious, ethnic, or socio-cultural conflict. Many of us are have seen the haunting images of refugees drowning in the Mediterranean, walking across Eastern Europe on foot, and sleeping next to barbed-wire fences. The UNHCR Global Trends Report states that in 2015, 65.3 million people, i.e., one person in 113, were displaced from their homes as a result of persecution and conflict.

Accordingly, the U.S. government has increased the number of refugees permitted to relocate here, and therefore many of the long-standing national resettlement agencies are over-saturated and in need of new location sites for refugees. Northwest Arkansas (NWA) is a highly attractive region for refugee resettlement due to its variety of employment options, robust social services, and low cost of living.

In response to this gap in refugee services, Canopy NWA formed as an official non-profit after reaching out to the greater NWA community and finding an abundance of talented individuals who desire to support refugee resettlement efforts. As an organization, Canopy has experienced overwhelming support from various people and organizations in the resettlement process from the local level to the national level.

There are many components to resettling refugees such as a place to live, schools for children, healthcare access, a welcoming community, and a whole host of other needs. Canopy’s goal is to create a comprehensive network that connects refugee families to everything they need to build a new life here. Canopy believes that Northwest Arkansas is one of the best places in the country to accept refugees into its community; in turn, refugees will benefit our community by stimulating the area’s economy through creating new business, paying taxes, purchasing goods and services from local businesses, and volunteering for the benefit of our community.


Canopy Northwest Arkansas

Board of Directors

Clint Schnekloth   Chair of Canopy Board & Head Pastor of  Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Clint Schnekloth

Chair of Canopy Board & Head Pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Katie Gottlieb   Vice Chair of Canopy Board, First Presbyterian Church Mission Committee, Bentonville Library Board

Katie Gottlieb

Vice Chair of Canopy Board, First Presbyterian Church Mission Committee, Bentonville Library Board

Dr. Donna Davis   Secretary of Canopy Board & Research and Evaluation Specialist

Dr. Donna Davis

Secretary of Canopy Board & Research and Evaluation Specialist

Kellen Utecht   Treasurer of Canopy Board &  Director of Sustainability at Phigenics , Fayetteville Downtown Rotary Member, Clinton School of Public Service Alumni Board - Member

Kellen Utecht

Treasurer of Canopy Board & Director of Sustainability at Phigenics, Fayetteville Downtown Rotary Member, Clinton School of Public Service Alumni Board - Member

Emily Crane Linn   Director of Resettlement

Emily Crane Linn

Director of Resettlement

Jacob Perry   Board Member &  CEO, Patagonia Bee Products

Jacob Perry

Board Member & CEO, Patagonia Bee Products

Matthew Showman   ESL Instructor and Volunteer Relations Coordinator for Canopy

Matthew Showman

ESL Instructor and Volunteer Relations Coordinator for Canopy

Majidi Shabani   Board Member and Owner of Swahili Shoes

Majidi Shabani

Board Member and Owner of Swahili Shoes

Ken Patterson    Executive Director of Feed Communities  and Capacity Development Specialist for Canopy

Ken Patterson

Executive Director of Feed Communities and Capacity Development Specialist for Canopy

Mike Rusch    CEO of Pure Charity ,  Board Member of Serve NWA , Veteran US Marine Corps

Mike Rusch

CEO of Pure Charity, Board Member of Serve NWA, Veteran US Marine Corps

Frank Head    Director of Catholic Charities  and Catholic Charities Liaison for Canopy

Frank Head

Director of Catholic Charities and Catholic Charities Liaison for Canopy

Kao Lee  Board member and Attorney

Kao Lee

Board member and Attorney


Resettlement Team

Emily Crane Linn   Director of Resettlement

Emily Crane Linn

Director of Resettlement

Khalid Ahmadzai   Employment Specialist

Khalid Ahmadzai

Employment Specialist

Francisco Ayala   Case Manager

Francisco Ayala

Case Manager

Lauren Snodgrass   Community Outreach Coordinator

Lauren Snodgrass

Community Outreach Coordinator


Job and Internship Opportunities

The Community Outreach intern collaborates with the Community Outreach Coordinator in the execution of events, advocacy, trainings, volunteer and refugee family assistance. The time commitment will be between 5 and 10 hours per week. This internship is unpaid, for credit.

For more information and details on how to apply, see this job description.

Community Outreach Internship

Spring 2019