Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Blog

  • Joshua DuBois Highlights Administration Support for Foster Care Adoption at Summit

    Joshua DuBois at Wendys Wonderful Kids

    Joshua DuBois, Executive Director of The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, speaks at the Wendy's Wonderful Kids program in Columbus, Ohio. May 17, 2011.

    Today, there are more than 114,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted.  These are children who entered foster care through no fault of their own, and deserve a family as much as any other child.

    Fortunately, organizations around the country are working tirelessly with the Obama Administration to  make sure every child has a loving home. One of those organizations is the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and their Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program. Earlier this week, Joshua DuBois spoke at the 2011 Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Annual Summit in Columbus, Ohio, and shared with them President Obama’s commitment to improving the lives of youth in foster care.

  • Supporting Our Sisters and Brothers in Alabama

    Briefing from Emergency Management Officials

    Joshua DuBois, Special Assitant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships is briefed on the damage in Alabama from Emergency Management Officials May 10, 2011.

    Last week, I had the honor to travel to Alabama and spend time with folks who have been impacted by the recent Southern Storms.  I can tell you that the devastation after tornados swept through that great state is nothing short of breathtaking.
     
    Our office and our Center at the Department of Homeland Security, led by Director David Myers, are focused on making sure that faith-based organizations have the tools they need to help communities respond and recover.  We are working to ensure that houses of worship and nonprofit organizations are plugged into disaster response, and that everyday folks know how they can get help in the weeks ahead.
     
    We started off in Birmingham and met with key leaders who are active in the rebuilding and recovery efforts. Then we went to Tuscaloosa and toured the heart of the damage, first on the ground and then by helicopter.  We also met with the mayor of Tuscaloosa and identified some concrete ways we can help that city get back on its feet.  David and I concluded a long day by hosting a pastors forum back in Birmingham, seeking to equip local leaders with information they could pass on to their congregants this Sunday.
     
    I’ve included a few pictures from the trip below that give some sense of the damage and resolve of folks to recover.  And below are other helpful links for you to share with your networks regarding the most recent developments and how you can help. These links and more information can be found on blog.fema.gov:
     
     

    I hope you’ll join me in remembering and supporting our friends in Alabama and working for a full recovery.

    Tuscaloosa After the Flood

    A picture of the damage in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. May 10, 2011.

    Briefing from Emergency Management Officials

    Joshua DuBois, Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of The White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships speaks with an Emergency Management Official in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. May 10, 2011.

    Meeting with Mayor Dean of Tuscaloosa

    Joshua DuBois meets with Mayor Dean of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. May 10, 2011.

    Joshua DuBois serves as Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

     

  • First Lady Michelle Obama Talks with Faith and Community Leaders About Joining Forces

    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 whpartnerships@who.eop.gov to stay connected with the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

  • Joining Forces with Faith and Community Leaders

    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. 

  • Connecting Communities for the Common Good

    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.

  • Repair the World: USDA Hosts its First Food and Justice Passover Seder

    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.”

    USDA Hosts Seder

    Secretary Vilsack receives an “Omer Counter” piece of artwork on behalf of the Department of Agriculture. April 28, 2011. (by Cory Fischer, USDA)