Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Blog
- Posted byon July 27, 2011 at 2:52 PM EDT
As part of Let’s Move!, First Lady Michelle Obama has challenged community and faith leaders to combat hunger. One of her goals for Let’s Move Faith and Communities is to encourage these trusted leaders to start 1,000 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sites where kids can gather for a healthy meal when school is out. As faith and community leaders know, however, getting meals to hungry children is much easier said than done. That’s why the Texas Hunger Initiative (THI) joined Let’s Move Faith and Communities: to help folks serve meals to the one in four children in Texas who don’t get enough to eat every summer.
THI, a Baylor University project that organizes communities to end hunger, rose to the First Lady’s challenge to start SFSP sites. And the communities in Texas need THI’s help; Texas has the second highest food insecurity rate in the country. Through their partnership with the Texas Department of Agriculture, USDA’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and local leaders, THI has increased meals served statewide by 2 million since last summer, the single largest increase in the US. Because of this partnership, Texas now serves more summer meals than any other state in the country.
- Posted byon July 11, 2011 at 3:46 PM EDT
Since the inception of the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, President Obama has asked us to find ways to encourage inter-religious engagement and cooperation both at home and abroad, and examine the federal government’s engagement of religious institutions and actors in our foreign policy. Recognizing the positive impact partnerships and cooperation with religious leaders can have on our diplomatic and development goals, our Office has been very active at the intersection of religion and global affairs.
We asked the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships to make specific recommendations on religion and global affairs, as well as partnerships for development. You can read their reports here; we’re excited that many of the recommendations have already been implemented.
Partly in response to the Council’s recommendations, our office launched the first-ever Interagency Working Group on Religion and Global Affairs (RGA), co-chaired by the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the White House National Security Staff. This groundbreaking working developed a comprehensive map of how our government currently engages religious actors in foreign affairs through USAID Missions, Embassies, and Departments across government from the Department of Defense to the Department of Health and Human Services. As a result of this work, we’ve seen new courses in religious engagement at the Foreign Service Institute, new efforts on religion and global affairs at the State Department, and a renewed focus on the intersection of religion and foreign policy across the United States Government.
We also work closely with the National Security Staff to make sure that the administration is supporting the protection of religious minorities. We formed a first-ever interagency working group towards this end, and meet regularly to ensure that federal agencies are working with one another towards a comprehensive approach to religious minority protection.
You will hear more about this topic from us in the coming weeks. The engagement of religious leaders and organizations in our work abroad is something of deep importance to the President and central to the mission of our Office. So stay tuned!
Joshua DuBois serves as Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
National Council for Adoption Awards White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships with "Friend of Adoption" AwardPosted byon July 11, 2011 at 1:20 PM EDT
Last week, I had the honor of attending the National Conference for Adoption’s (NCFA) annual conference in National Harbor, Maryland to accept the “Friend of Adoption” award on behalf of The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. I was especially honored to accept the award from NCFA’s CEO, Chuck Johnson, a tireless advocate on behalf of children and families and a good friend.
Thanks to the passion and leadership of President Obama on behalf of children, our office, led by Joshua DuBois, has been able to help advance significantAdministration investments that benefit children and families. We’ve discussed some of those accomplishments in previous blog posts.
Grounded by the value that every child deserves a family, we look forward to continuing to work with NCFA and other organizations across the country to care for the orphan and better serve children and families.
Michael Wear serves as Executive Assistant to the Executive Director of The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships
- Posted byon July 8, 2011 at 10:50 AM EDT
Recently, HUD employees in Washington, DC were able to seek rapid testing (via mouth swab) in the privacy of the HUD Health Unit to help them gain personal knowledge of their HIV status. In addition to the test, employees were given information linking them to programs that raise awareness to prevent HIV, change behavior as well as information to medical care and social services. Employees in HUD’s 80 field offices across the United States were encouraged to participate by using the National HIV and STD Testing Resources.
- Posted byon July 7, 2011 at 6:05 PM EDT
This Father’s Day, President Obama kicked off the Year of Strong Fathers, Strong Families as part of his Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative. In the week leading up to Father’s Day, the White House was father-filled while we honored Champions of Change, watched Cars 2 with military dads and their kids, and as President Obama and other members of the Administration took time to reflect on the importance of fatherhood in their own lives.
In honor of Father’s Day, President Obama sat down with Robin Roberts from Good Morning America and discussed the important role that fathers play in the lives of children, shared stories from his own experience of being a father to two young daughters, and answered questions about fatherhood from everyday Americans. You can watch this great interview on ABC.com. President Obama also wrote an op-ed in People Magazine that stresses the importance of being a good dad. President Obama shared his insights on the challenges that come with fatherhood, but emphasized that the pure joys of fatherhood make being a dad one of his favorite jobs. You can check it out on People.com.
At the White House, we honored 15 dads and recognized them as Champions of Change. These fathers exemplify the important role that fathers play in young children’s lives and have dedicated themselves to mentoring and supporting fathers across the country. We encourage you to take a moment to learn more about these amazing fathers and how they are setting the standard for responsible fatherhood in our country.
- Posted byon July 7, 2011 at 2:25 PM EDT
This past weekend was the annual Islamic Society of North America conference, the largest Islamic convention in North America which gathers 40,000 Muslims all over the U.S. and Canada. During a government roundtable session with senior leadership from the community, one community member remarked, “It is great to see the diverse representation from various federal agencies here; it shows a maturing of the relationship between our community and the government.” I was joined at this session with colleagues from the Centers for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education, both of whom who had a chance to speak to the community about their respective programs.
Over the weekend, we held a special session on how to partner with USAID where I had the opportunity to speak about the role of the Center for Faith-based and Community Initiatives at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as well as some of the ways that smaller NGOs and faith-based organizations can work together with USAID to achieve positive development outcomes around the world. Check out a useful guide with detailed information on how to partner can be found.
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