Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Blog

  • Health Care Conference Calls Changing Lives, Engaging Thousands

    For people like Sam, the HHS Partnership Center’s conference calls on the health care reform law, have helped connect them to affordable, quality health care coverage despite unemployment and a major pre-existing condition. In May, Sam was unemployed, could not afford health insurance and then experienced a massive heart attack. He survived his heart attack but now has a significant pre-existing condition that insurance companies either refuse to cover or cover at a very high cost.

    Sam was on one of the interactive conference calls sponsored by the U.S. Health and Human Services Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships where he learned about the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, PCIP. He learned that he was eligible for affordable health care coverage that will cover all of his medical needs, including his pre-existing cardiac care. He went to for more information and now has the health care coverage he needs.

    in 2012, the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships will continue its series of interactive conference calls for faith and community leaders explaining the benefits and provisions of the new health care law. Over 800 people registered for a call on the Affordable Care Act and Behavioral Health. The call was so popular, it is being held again in early February.  To date, more than 5,000 faith and community leaders have participated in the HHS Partnership Center’s conference call series.

    You can join the calls too!  To register for these calls, click on the links below. Please join us so that you can share the new health care information with members of your congregation and community!

    Lines are opened for questions at the end of every call, giving listeners calling in from across the United States a unique opportunity to interact directly with HHS staff and ask questions they may have about the Affordable Care Act.

    On January 19, the Center will also host a live, interactive tour of The tour will highlight the site’s many resources to help people take control of their health, access affordable health care coverage in their communities, and understand how the law is being implemented in different states.

    To learn more about future interactive conference calls on the Affordable Care Act, sign up for the HHS Partnership Center newsletter at

    In January and February, conference calls will take place on: 

    January 19, 3:00 pm ESTTour of

    January 24, 2:00 pm EST–  ACA 101 (in Spanish)

    January 31, 12:30 pm EST–  ACA 101

    February 2, 12:30 pm EST–  ACA and Behavioral Health

    February 28, 2:00 pm EST–  ACA 101 (in Spanish)

  • In Case You Missed It: 2.5 Million More Young Adults Now Have Health Insurance

    We are thrilled to report that the CDC released data last month showing that 2.5 million more young adults now have health insurance coverage thanks to health reform.   In September 2010, an Affordable Care Act policy went into effect allowing young adults to stay on their parents' insurance plans through age 26.

    “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 2.5 million more young adults don’t have to live with the fear and uncertainty of going without health insurance,” said Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  “Moms and dads around the country can breathe a little easier knowing their children are covered.”  Check out this HHS press release for more details.

    “The data announced today show that, because of the health care law, there is a continued and consistent pattern of improved health coverage among young adults,” said Sherry Glied, Ph.D., HHS Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.  “The Affordable Care Act has helped literally millions of young adults get the health insurance they need so they can begin their careers with the peace of mind that they’re covered.”   You can find out more here on this CDC fact sheet.

  • The DREAM Sabbath: Faith and Neighborhood-Based Partnerships and Immigration Reform

    Last December, after a disappointing vote on the DREAM Act, President Obama stated, “I am persistent.  If I believe in something strongly, I stay on it.  And I believe strongly in this.” A year later, his commitment to the DREAM Act still stands.  For this reason, our Administration continues to work with faith and community leaders, students, and advocacy groups to spread awareness on the importance of the DREAM Act and continue the conversation on fixing our broken immigration system.

    One of the many groups working to advance immigration reform has been the Interfaith Immigration Coalition.  Through an initiative titled the DREAM Sabbath, interfaith groups held events all over the country, highlighting stories of DREAM students and facilitating conversations between communities on the importance of the DREAM Act.

    In their DREAM Sabbath Scrapbook, a report highlighting all the DREAM Sabbath events, media clips, and pictures, the initiative is described as, “a time when faith and action came together…”

    The DREAM Act would allow young people who were brought to the U.S. through no fault of their own and grew up as Americans an opportunity to earn a legal status if they meet numerous requirements, including attending college or serving in the military. As the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reported, the DREAM Act would cut the deficit by $1.4 billion over the next 10 years, and in these economic times, this is more meaningful than ever before.

  • Let’s Move Faith and Communities Looks to 2012

    Let's Move Faith and Communities Meeting

    Let's Move Faith and Communities meeting participants including Barbara Baylor and Rev. Dr. Michael Murphy (United Church of Christ), Rev. Dr. Deborah Patterson and Stephen Patterson (Northwest Parish Nurse Ministries), Paul Chapman (4-H Youth Development Organization), Gary Oppenheimer (, Elder Ted Wilson and Mrs. Wilson (Seventh-Day Adventists), and Dr. Carroll Baltimore (Progressive National Baptists) share their experiences leading wellness initiatives in their congregations and communities. December 9, 2011.

    Over the past year, faith-based and community organizations have been on the move ramping up their efforts to make their communities healthier through First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Faith and Communities challenges issued in November 2010.  Over the year they hosted an additional 1,100 summer food service sites, where they served meals to low-income kids who otherwise wouldn’t have received those meals once school let out.  Their communities collectively walked 2.85 million miles. They brought produce close to home, contributing to more than 8,500 gardens, farmers markets, and food pantries, where folks could access fresh fruits and vegetables. And they joined communities across the country in earning 1.7 million Presidential Active Lifestyle Awards (PALA) through the PALA Challenge.

    To celebrate the year’s accomplishments and look ahead to 2012, the Office of the First Lady and the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships hosted a group of faith and community leaders for a Let’s Move Faith and Communities consultation in December. We wanted to learn from each other’s experiences and brainstorm how we can work together in the coming year to build wellness into communities for the long term.

    And learn we did! Elder Ted Wilson of the Seventh Day Adventists told us how his denomination is integrating nutrition and physical activity into everyday life through Adventists InStep for Life. He said, “We need to make physical activity a basic part of a healthy lifestyle. Physical and spiritual health are tied together in a very dynamic way.” Steve Becker from the Jewish Community Centers Association shared his organization’s plan to use the CATCH curriculum in their early childhood education to ensure children build a holistic foundation for a healthy life. Denise Hunter, First Lady of First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles and President of FAME’s corporate ministries, shared the success of Let’s Move LA in inspiring her community: “One of the hallmarks of a good leader is that you build good leaders from the people around you. Collectively we can do so much together. We don’t need to be superman; we need to empower people.” 

  • 2011 Connecting Communities for the Common Good Tour Concludes in Chicago with 700 Faith and Community Leaders

    Chicago City Year at Connecting Communities for the Common Good

    Chicago City Year members participate in conference, helping to make it a success for everyone. December 6, 2011.

    Last week, faith and community leaders from Chicago and across the region participated in the final 2011 stop on the White House Connecting Communities for the Common Good regional tour.  The interactive conference was co-hosted by the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnershipsand the Office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and numerous Agency Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnership Centers.

    Faith and community gathered at the University of Illinois at Chicago-UIC Forum and were welcomed by Joshua DuBois, Director of the White House Office, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Congressman Danny Davis, Congressman Bobby Rush, and Deputy Governor Cristal Thomas.  

    “This notion of change through faith and community partnerships is rooted in President Obama’s DNA, and rooted in the DNA of this city,” noted Joshua DuBois as he opened the conference. “As many of you know and in fact saw firsthand, this President began his career in public life working with churches on the South Side to help families who were struggling.  So he knows full well that in order to serve the least, the last, and the lost in our country and our world, we have to partner with faith and community organizations…and that is what President Obama’s Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships is all about.”

    Mayor Emanuel noted that “so much of this city’s and country’s strength comes from the strength of its faiths. More than that, it comes from our ability to work together for the common good.” He continued, “by working together, by deepening our understanding of our common values and common destination, we can make this country a better place.”

  • Celebrate the Drum Majors for Service in Your Community

    Drum Majors vols loading church bus

    Community volunteers who deserve a nomination for the Drum Major for Service award.


    On the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service this January, President Obama will recognize unsung heroes around the country who have answered the call to service.  Inspired by Dr. King’s historic speech on the Drum Major Instinct, the MLK Drum Majors for Service program—facilitated by the White House and the Corporation for National and Community Service—welcomes the nomination of people in organizations and businesses who are serving their communities, often without recognition. 

    This program is very simple and an exciting way for you to honor individuals within your organization – whether a business, congregation, nonprofit or community group – who are doing great work serving others, often without recognition.  Here’s how it works: identify “Drum Majors for Service” who are making a difference in your organization. Then, visit our website and order them a Drum Major award, pin, and letter from the President (paying a nominal fee for printing and shipping).  Finally, honor them with the Drum Major for Service award on Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday (January 16th), or other days throughout the year.  Remember to tell us about your award recipients by emailing stories and pictures to  We look forward to hearing about all the amazing work going on across the country that live out each and every day Dr. King’s vision of service.

    Recently, President Obama helped to dedicate the new memorial on the National Mall honoring the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Dr. King urged all of us to live our lives in a just, moral, loving and generous fashion.  He asked us to harness human nature for good.  In this season of giving, it is Dr. King’s admonition of being “first in generosity” that I want to highlight. 

    In Los Angeles, CA, Wallace Ussery, who has a lifelong history of service to his church and the community at-large, has been first in generosity. Now in his 70s, Mr. Ussery continues to give generously of his time and talent. One of his most notable activities has been the mentoring and care of a young homeless man. Providing shelter and clothes and assisting him with finding and receiving medical care and social services, Mr. Ussery has made a tremendous impact on this young man’s life. Many other young men in the community tell stories of how Mr. Ussery has assisted them in times of need. Consistently providing support for those who are less fortunate than himself, Mr. Ussery is a constant inspiration to those around him, and he’s certainly a “Drum Major for Service.”