Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Blog

  • The Health and Wellness of the Community

    Creating and Sustaining the Beloved Community Symposium in Los Angeles

    From left to right: Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., Dr. Lula Ballton, Tunua Thrash, Acacia Salatti, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Dr. Preston Williams and Rev. Mark Whitlock stand together as part of the Creating and Sustaining the Beloved Community Symposium in Los Angeles. June 14, 2011. (by Foxx Media Group)

    Our diverse traditions call us to help those in need among us, and to practice the golden rule.

    That underlying spirit underscores the economic development work of Bishop Charles E. Blake, Presiding Bishop of Church of God in Christ, Inc (COGIC) and Dr. Lula Ballton, the Director of Community and Economic Development of COGIC in the South Los Angeles community.

    As a commitment to those principles, they conducted the first annual Christian Community Development Symposium at the University of Southern California Galen Center in Los Angeles, California where I served as one of the panelists.

  • Connecting Communities in the Gulf Coast

    U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina M. Benjamin at New Orleans Conference

    U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina M. Benjamin delivers a keynote address recognizing faith and community leaders as trusted messengers and voices of healing within their communities. June 6, 2011. (by Corporation for National and Community Service)

    It is hard to set foot in the city of New Orleans and not remember that day in August of 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit, the levees broke, and the hearts of thousands of Gulf Coast residents and so many others broke along with them.

    New Orleans could have remained a symbol of destruction and decay; of a storm that came and the response that followed.  But that’s not what happened.  Instead, the city and region has become a symbol of resilience, community, and of the fundamental responsibility that we have to one another.

    Opening our office’s second Connecting Communities for the Common Good conference of over 500 faith and community leaders from the Gulf Coast, I recognized that it was in part because of the work of the faith and nonprofit community that I was able to stand in New Orleans that day.  During and after the storm, they comforted and consoled, fed the hungry, housed the homeless and responded to so many needs.  They are now leading the way toward a better future for the city and region with innovative approaches to fighting poverty, improving health care, reducing crime, and creating opportunities for young people.  Because of them, New Orleans and the entire Gulf Coast are coming back.

  • Faith Filled & Healthy Communities: The Memphis Congregational Health Network

    Memphis Congregational Network

    Department of Health & Human Services senior staff meets with representatives from Methodist LeBonheur Hospital of Memphis, Tennessee to learn more about their innovative community, faith-based health model.

    Recently, the HHS Partnership Center invited senior staff at the Department of Health & Human Services to meet with staff from Methodist LeBonheur Hospital of Memphis, Tennessee to learn more about their innovative community, faith-based health model.  Informally called the “Memphis Model,” this health network serves as a partnership between local hospitals, congregations, community health centers, as well as faith-based and community organizations. The objective is to show that through engaging faith communities in collaborative partnerships, health providers can not only build capacity in local communities, but also to map viable health assets.

    Sitting inside the Secretary‘s conference room, we listened as Gary Gunderson, Senior Vice President at Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare described Memphis’ healthcare challenges through lyrical statistics that told a story of heartache and despair like many of the blues records the city is famous for.  “Music and Faith are our assets…,” said Gunderson.  With faith as the foundation, the Memphis Model builds upon the strong infrastructure of churches to reach deep into hard-to-reach and underserved communities. 

  • The Need to Join Forces

    Joining Forces OFBNP Blog

    First Lady Michelle Obama speaks about the White House's "Joining Forces" military family support campaign to a crowd of National Guard and local families as Dr. Jill Biden stands by during a "Joining Forces" community event in Columbus, Ohio, April 14, 2011. The event was the final stop on Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden's two-day tour around the nation to spotlight communities doing outstanding work to support military families. June 9, 2011. (by Elaine Sanchez)

    For the past 10 years, our nation has been at war. As the members of our Armed Services deploy, it is critical that they know that their family has the support it needs. Those that have volunteered to serve in the military must have the peace of mind of knowing that when their deployment and service is over, they will have a sustained support system.

    To help mobilize this support for military families and veterans, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden have started the Joining Forces Initiative.

    As a new member of the Administration’s Office for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships team and a Company Commander in the South Carolina Army National Guard, I was honored to participate in the conference call earlier this month with First Lady Michelle Obama and Joshua DuBois, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships on the role of faith and community based groups in Joining Forces.

  • Higher Education Institutions Participate in Webinar

    On June 1 the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Centers at the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the Department of Education sponsored the second in a series of three webinars. The webinars are designed to provide resources for colleges, universities, and community colleges as they prepare plans to participate in the President's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge.

    Over 400 higher education institutions responded to the President's challenge. They are in the process of preparing plans that make the vision for interfaith cooperation and community service a reality on campuses across the country. Students at participating institutions will participate in a year of interfaith and community service programming. In the spring of 2012, there will be a gathering at the White House to celebrate their accomplishments and encourage institutions of higher education to make interfaith service a reality on all campuses.

  • Watch out for the D.O.G.S.

    Secretary Arne Duncan visits with a Watch D.O.G.S. dad

    Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visits with a Watch D.O.G.S. dad. June 13, 2011.

    Yesterday morning, we hosted Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at Two Rivers Public Charter School here in Washington.  Secretary Duncan was at Two Rivers to check out the WatchD.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) program.  Have you heard about WatchD.O.G.S.? It’s a national program in over 2,000 schools that encourages fathers to volunteer at least one day every year in their local school.  These dads are having an extraordinary impact.  Check out the pictures below, and find out how to start or get involved in WatchD.O.G.S. at your neighborhood school.

    As you know, fatherhood in America is one of the passions of President Obama’s life.  He grew up without his dad, every day he goes home to two beautiful little girls, and he calls his role as a father “the most important job I have.”  Far too many young people in our country grow up without their father, and when dads are not around, young people are more likely to drop out of school, use drugs, be involved in the criminal justice system, and become young parents themselves.  For the past two years, we’ve been working with partners from around the country to impact fatherlessness in America, and we’ll have some exciting news about new initiatives this week. 

     So stay tuned – and check out the WatchD.O.G.S. below!

    Secretary Arne Duncan Talks with Watch D.O.G.S. Dads and Kids

    Secretary Arne Duncan talks to Watch D.O.G.S. dads and kids. June 13, 2011.

    Watch D.O.G.S. Dad Works with Kids

    A Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) volunteer dad works with kids at Two Rivers Public Charter School. June 13, 2011.

    Watch D.OG.S. Dad Working with a child

    A Watch D.O.G.S. dad working with a child at Two Rivers Public Charter School. June 13, 2011.

    Watch D.OG.S. Dad Volunteers with Reading

    A Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of great students) volunteer dad reading to a child at Two Rivers Public Charter School. June 13, 2011.

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