Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Blog

  • Healthy, Affordable Meals for Our Children This Summer

    Ed. Note: This is a cross-post from the U.S. Department of Agriculture blog.

    As final school bells ring and students across our nation start summer break, the last thing on a parent’s mind should be how they’re going to provide nutritious meals for a child.

    During the school year, USDA plays an integral role in being sure our children have enough to eat. Through the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs, USDA helps families by providing nutritious school meals to 32 million kids each day.

    But when school’s out for the summer, low-income families can have trouble providing food for their children.

    This is a serious concern. Proper nutrition is critical for a child’s ability to learn, grow, and be ready to achieve their dreams – and hunger is one of the most severe roadblocks to the learning process. Lack of nutrition during the summer months may set up a cycle for poor performance once school begins again and can make children more prone to illness and other health issues year-round.

  • Connecting Faith, Fatherhood, Youth Violence & Reentry

    The U.S. DOJ Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships was pleased to participate in the 2nd Annual Summit on Preventing Youth Violence in Washington, D.C. as a part of the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention.  The Forum is an effort to elevate youth and gang violence as issues of national significance, and to enhance the capacity of localities to more effectively prevent youth and gang violence.  I was particularly excited this year that so many powerful national and local faith-based and non-profit leaders were able to participate including:

    • Lecrae Moore, Grammy Nominated Hip Hop artist
    • Pastor Keith Norman, First Baptist Church, Memphis, TN
    • Pastor Michael McBride, PICO National Network
    • James Rodriguez, President, Fathers & Families Coalition of America, Inc. 
    • Deborah Aguilar, Founder, “A Time for Grieving”, Salinas, CA
    • Sue Badeau, Casey Family Programs
    Lecrae Moore

    Lecrae Moore, Grammy Nominated Hip Hop artist shares at the 2012 Summit on Preventing Youth Violence May 16, 2012.

    DOJ Youth violence panel

    national and local faith-based and non-profit leaders participate at the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention May 16, 2012.

    Read about the 2012 Summit on Preventing Youth Violence

     The next day the CFBNP worked with the White House Office of Public Engagement to recognize twelve leaders as Champions of Change for their work to prevent Youth Violence within their communities.

    DOJ Youth Violence Champions #1

    2012 Youth Violence Prevention Champions May 16, 2012.

    DOJ Youth Violence Champions #2

    Youth Violence prevention champions of change May 16, 2012.

      

    Read about the White House Youth Violence Prevention Champions of Change

    Lastly, the CFBNP recently held two very successful webinars on Faith and Community Based approaches to Reentry and Responsible Fatherhood Initiatives. 

    DOJ Youth violence Fatherhood1

    May 16, 2012.

    DOJ Youth violence fatherhood2

    May 16, 2012.

    DOJ Youth Violence3

    May 16, 2012.

    Eugene Schneeberg is the Director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Justice.

  • Remembering My 5th Birthday

    On my 5th birthday, I was surrounded by the love of my family, and of course, enjoyed a delicious home-made birthday cake made by my mother.  Everyone came to celebrate my day, showering me with gifts (I’m told a Barbie play set was involved), to show me how important I was in their lives.  While it was a big milestone for me, luckily I was a healthy child, and it was expected that I would reach the age of five.  In my first five years of life, I was up to date on my vaccinations, always had access to clean water, and although mosquitoes loved to bite me, my parents did not have to fear that those mosquitoes would infect me with malaria.

     For much of the world though, and particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, mosquitoes pose an ever-present threat to children’s lives, especially in those first five years.  In the last year alone, we lost about 7 million children under the age of five, many from malaria.

     When I traveled to Ghana in the summer of 2010, I had the misfortune of experiencing malaria firsthand.  I met children who were full of joy one day, but lying in bed sick the next- their energy and health devastated by the disease.  When I contracted the disease, I understood the extent of their sickness, falling into an extreme fatigue.  Thankfully, I had easy access to treatment and recovered quickly, but I know this is not the case for many children and families.  I can’t imagine the pain and difficulty so many mothers must experience on a daily basis, unable to provide their children with the life-saving resources needed to prevent and treat malaria.

  • Understanding the Mortgage Servicing Settlement and the New FHA Streamline Refinance MIP: A HUD National Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships Conference Call

    HUD emblem

    May 1, 2012.

    There is a great deal of information available about the recent Mortgage Servicing Settlement and FHA Streamline Refinance MIP programs. The HUD Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships hosted a national conference call that explained both plans for faith leaders to share with the congregants and communities. The “Understanding the Mortgage Servicing Settlement and New FHA Streamline Refinance MIP” conference call was held April 18th at 2:00 PM EST. 

    Callers learned about the Mortgage Servicing Settlement Agreement, the new FHA Streamline Refinance MIP options available to eligible homeowners, scam awareness and prevention efforts, and the importance of using HUD-approved Housing Counselors from senior HUD officials including HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. Faith and community leaders received information and resources useful to congregation and community members facing foreclosure and/or families who might qualify for compensation due to an improper foreclosure practices, mortgage principal reductions and refinancing of underwater homes available for eligible homeowners. The call was well received, with 780 faith-based and community leaders calling-in, and helped educate the community about ways to save their homes, while bringing hope to those facing foreclosure.

  • Vote for Your Favorite Video Today!

    Let's move! Video Challenge

    10 days left to vote for your favorite Communities on the Move video! May 1, 2012.

    The public voting period for theCommunities on the MoveVideo Challenge is in full swing!  Browse our video gallery and vote for your favorites daily until Friday, May 11th. These videos showcase some of the innovative approaches community and faith-based groups are taking to encouraging healthier lifestyles for kids.

    The Video Challenge encourages faith-based and neighborhood organizations to create one-to-three minute videos highlighting their work to make their communities places of wellness. Participants were invited to show how they are promoting healthy eating, physical activity, and access to healthy, affordable food for children.  Your vote counts: winners will be invited to visit Washington, DC to share their videos with the First Lady at the White House!

    The Challenge is part of Let's Move Faith and Communities, which engages congregations and neighborhood organizations in the effort to end childhood obesity within a generation.

    Want to learn more about Let’s Move!and take action? Sign up here and join our movement!

     Julie Curti, is the Assistant to the Director for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the United States Department of Agriculture

  • Moving Forward on Faith-based and Neighborhood Advisory Council Recommendations

    Today the White House is issuing guidance for implementation of President Obama’s Executive Order 13559 setting forth fundamental principles and policymaking criteria for the social service partnerships the government forms with religious and other neighborhood organizations.  With this executive order, President Obama adopted many of the recommendations made by his first Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

     An extremely diverse group of leaders crafted these recommendations, including those representing the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, the Incarnate Word Foundation, the Interfaith Alliance, the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.  While there are serious differences among these leaders on some church-state issues, the group was able to unite around a call for certain reforms of the partnerships the government forms with religious and secular nonprofits.  

    The White House report issued today provides agencies with additional guidance on how to implement these common-ground reforms.  For example, pursuant to the Advisory Council's recommendations, the guidance directs agencies to ensure that:

    • Standards regarding the relationship between religion and government are monitored and enforced in ways that avoid excessive entanglement between religious bodies and governmental entities;
    • Decisions about federal grants are free from political interference or even the appearance of such interference and made on the basis of merit, not on the basis of the religious affiliation of a recipient organization or lack thereof;
    • Beneficiaries of federally funded social services may receive services from a nonreligious provider if they object to receiving services from a religious provider;
    • Providers are given detailed and practical guidance regarding the principle that any explicitly religious activities they offer must be clearly separated, in time or location, from programs that receive direct federal support; subsidized with purely private funds, and completely voluntary for social service beneficiaries;
    • Social service intermediaries that disburse federal funds are instructed about their special obligations, and recipients of subawards are made aware of the church-state standards that apply to their use of federal aid;
    • Plans are developed to train government employees and grant recipients on the church-state rules that apply to these partnerships; and
    • Regulations, guidance documents, and policies that have implications for faith-based and neighborhood organizations are posted online, along with lists of organizations receiving federal financial assistance.

    As chair of the President's first Advisory Council, and a member of the Reform of the Office Taskforce, I would like to thank President Obama for embracing many of our recommendations and for this important step to implement them.  The President’s charge to create this detailed report demonstrates his understanding of the fact that these issues require careful consideration as well as his appreciation for freedoms that are cherished by Americans of all faiths and none.  As it forms partnerships to serve people in need, the government must respect church-state separation and religious liberty principles.  I look forward to continuing to work with the administration and other stakeholders to meet those goals.

    Melissa Rogers served as chair of President Obama’s first Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  She currently serves as director of the Center for Religion and Public Affairs at Wake Forest University Divinity School.