Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Blog

  • Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook Sworn-In as New Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom

    Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presided over the swearing-in ceremony for our new Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook.  Ambassador Johnson Cook has had a distinguished career working for religious freedom that she will bring to bear in her new role as our Nation’s advocate for religious liberty around the globe.

    The issue of religious freedom is an important one for this Administration. Last month, the President spoke to this integral issue: “Such tolerance is particularly important when it comes to religion.  In Tahrir Square, we heard Egyptians from all walks of life chant, ‘Muslims, Christians, we are one.’  America will work to see that this spirit prevails -– that all faiths are respected, and that bridges are built among them.  In a region that was the birthplace of three world religions, intolerance can lead only to suffering and stagnation.  And for this season of change to succeed, Coptic Christians must have the right to worship freely in Cairo, just as Shia must never have their mosques destroyed in Bahrain.”

    As the chief spokesperson for Religious Freedom at the State Department, Ambassador Johnson Cook will have an integral role in implementing the President’s policies throughout the world. She will also be a key advisor to President Obama and Secretary Clinton regarding matters of religious freedom. I am excited to work with Ambassador Johnson Cook as we promote opportunities to increase interfaith dialogue and cooperation, and Americans can be proud that we have such a bold, stalwart advocate for religious freedom advancing our ideals abroad.

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

  • Job Clubs & Employment Ministries: On the Front Lines of Getting Americans Back to Work

    Preparing 20th century workers for the 21st century workforce; these words describe the mission of Tuesdays with Transitioners, a job club run by Jennifer Oliver O’Connell at the Congregational Church of Northridge in Northridge, CA.

    This week, I had the opportunity to hear first-hand how job clubs like Jennifer’s are helping Americans get back to work during a roundtable event organized by my department’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (CFBNP). For example, Jennifer utilizes social media and the latest technology, including tools such as LinkedIn to train all of her job club members how to network.

    The event also marked the launch of a new project by the CFBNP to reach out to the many job clubs – also known as career ministries, network groups, and work search roundtables, among other names – across the country and link them with the public workforce system, including DOL’s network of 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers.  

  • 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.