Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Blog
- Posted byon May 19, 2011 at 2:05 PM EST
We are fresh off an inspiring call yesterday with First Lady Michelle Obama and over 1,800 faith and community leaders from across the country who gathered to discuss Joining Forces, an initiative started by the First Lady and Dr. Biden to support our nation's military families. The call focused on how congregations and community groups can participate, and several faith leaders shared their ongoing work to support military families and veterans.
The purpose of Joining Forces, the First Lady noted, is to lift up and share that good work, and to invite others to join, expand or initiate efforts to support military families. Leading up to Memorial Day weekend, the First Lady and Joshua DuBois, director of the White House Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnership Office, mentioned several specific ways that faith and community groups can get involved in Joining Forces. Mrs. Obama pointed out you don't necessarily have to be an expert in military family issues to make a difference, highlighting some of the ways community leaders can get involved: You can build on what you already do best, whether it’s family counseling programs that you already have. Maybe you have a youth ministry or a career mentoring program that’s already in existence. And you can work and ensure that you’re helping families in your congregations and in your communities. Here are some of the ideas that were discussed:
- Ensure that existing ministries and services are accessible to military families and veterans.
- Start a new ministry or service for military families or veterans, or partner with an existing program in your community.
- Coordinate a once-a-year fair, an event or some kind of service activity that’s focused on military families.
- Help raise awareness about the issues and challenges that military families and veterans face, as well as their service and strengths that some of their neighbors may not fully be aware of.
Speakers on the call shared eloquently about the practical ways that congregations and community groups can partner with existing efforts, replicate successful programs, or ensure that their own programs reach military families and veterans in their community. Candy Hill with Catholic Charities USA, discussed the work of her local parish to help military families who had an injured family member. Chaplain Colonel William Sean Lee with the Maryland National Guard talked about the Partners in Care initiative which coordinates support for Maryland National Guard members during times of crisis or need. We look forward to sharing more stories about the work faith and community leaders are doing around the country to support military families.
Alexia Kelley is the Deputy Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to stay connected with the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
- Posted byon May 18, 2011 at 8:29 AM EST
Serving others is a common theme among many faith traditions and is intricately woven into the fabric of our great nation. The brave men and women of our nation’s military and their families serve us daily and make great sacrifices to do so. They deserve to be cared for at home, after they have fought to protect our freedoms.
In keeping with our commitment to care for our service men and women, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden have started the Joining Forces Initiative. Joining Forces is a comprehensive national initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned. So many faith-based and community organizations are already supporting military families and veterans in countless sways. Through Joining Forces, we want to support your ongoing good work and invite more faith and community groups to get involved in military family and veterans issues.
- Posted byon May 11, 2011 at 3:39 PM EST
Before taking the stage to officially open our first Connecting Communities for the Common Good conference at the Philadelphia Convention Center, I climbed a towering escalator passing diverse faith and community leaders as I made my way to the main ballroom. It was an amazing sight to see 500 leaders from across the Delaware Valley join the White House, the 13 federal agency Centers for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, local officials, and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter to discuss opportunities for collaboration with the federal government.
Philadelphia was the kick off location for our interactive series of Connecting Communities for the Common Good meetings around the country. The gathering brought together a diverse audience who share the common goal of effectively tackling the challenges facing their communities. By partnering with faith and community leaders in their own hometowns, we are able to deliver tools and information directly to those local organizations doing critical work on the ground to support those in need.
Participants at the conference engaged in a full day of networking sessions and presentations by expert panelists and partnership center staff. The rooms were filled with energy, excitement and the free exchange of ideas as attendees shared their perspective with others.
- Posted byon May 9, 2011 at 10:13 AM EST
Matzah, the traditional flatbread eaten by Jewish people to commemorate Passover, decorated six circular tables, along with bitter herbs (maror), “mortar” for bricks (haroset), and green leafy vegetables (carpas). Around the tables, USDA employees, Administration officials, and a host of guests from the non-profit and Jewish community gathered to celebrate the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Justice Passover Seder.
A traditional seder is a ceremonial Jewish meal commemorating the Passover holiday and Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt after being freed from slavery. Held in partnership with Jewish Funds for Justice and the Progressive Jewish Alliance, USDA’s modernized symbolic seder was held after Passover and focused on issues where food and justice intersect.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack opened the evening by reflecting on what Passover has meant to him and said, “This evening is an opportunity for reflection on the blessings in our lives and the importance of what we do.”
- Posted byon May 5, 2011 at 1:14 PM EST
Recently, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis led her first meeting as chair of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH). The meeting was hosted by Education Secretary Arne Duncan who was also joined by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Social Security Administration Commissioner Michael Astrue and representatives from 14 other federal agencies. The major theme of the meeting was the important role of partnerships in combating and preventing homelessness.
Two bipartisan panels of state and city elected officials joined the meeting via teleconference and engaged in a conversation with Council members around work on the homelessness front in their states and cities. In both panels, faith-based organizations were prominently mentioned as central partners in the fight against homelessness.
- Posted byon May 4, 2011 at 2:27 PM EST
These days as families struggle with their finances, many will look to the faith-based community for answers because they don’t know where else to turn. For this reason, it‘s imperative that those of us at HUD equip faith based leaders with the information and resources they need to assist families facing foreclosure.
On March 23rd, HUD’s Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships hosted a foreclosure prevention conference, “Families Facing Foreclosure with Facts, Not Fear.” Participants learned about ways to prevent foreclosure, avoid scams, and how to become a HUD-approved housing counseling agency. Mortgage lenders were also on hand to provide participants with a clear understanding of their role and how they can help during the foreclosure process. Faith-based leaders were also provided with a Toolkit on Foreclosure Prevention and Scam Awareness to use as a guide to further help raise awareness in their communities.
If you have questions or comments about this post, send an email to partnerships (at) hud.gov.
Paula Lincoln serves as Acting Director at HUD’s Partnership Center.
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