Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Blog

  • White House, Department of Education, Corporation for National and Community Service Continue the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge

    Last year, over 400 campuses responded to President Obama's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. Launched in March 2011, this challenge calls for campuses to advance interfaith service and interfaith engagement over the course of one year. Over 250 of those campuses organized successful interfaith service and interfaith engagement events with over 50,000 people reporting involvement – and that was only at the half-way point!

    Because of the overwhelming response to this initiative, the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Corporation for National and Community Service are proud to continue the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. All institutions of higher education across the country are invited to join this initiative to make interfaith service a national priority.  Additionally, on July 9-10, 2012 in Washington, DC, all institutions of higher education are invited to come to celebrate the accomplishments of the Challenge, to gain useful information about organizing interfaith/community service at your institution, and to network and learn from others along with key leaders from President Obama’s administration.

    Campus communities have been taking the lead through the creation of new interfaith partnerships, large-scale days of interfaith service, and student-led campaigns for interfaith action. For example, Grambling State University in Louisiana trained the entire first year class of 800 in issues of disaster preparedness. Despite their historic rivalry, students from Georgetown University and Syracuse University teamed up to raise over $2000 and gather over 1300 pounds of food to support the local food pantry (announcing their accomplishments at halftime of the two school’s NCAA basketball game!).

  • Formerly Incarcerated Individuals Transition Back to Life in Harlem

    As the keynote speaker, I had the honor and privilege of representing the White House Office of Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships at the Harlem Parole Reentry Graduation last week. The graduation event celebrated the accomplishment of formerly incarcerated individuals as they successfully transitioned back to their neighborhoods after receiving community-based services and intensive monitoring from the program.

    Thirty-eight formerly incarcerated individuals shared the proud moment together as they took the first steps to rise above becoming a statistic. As the Parole Reentry Court’s website explains, graduates of the program are less likely to be re-convicted than formerly incarcerated individuals on standard parole—a rate of 19 percent lower, to be exact.

  • Confronting High Blood Pressure Through Public-Private Partnerships

    Acacia Bamberg Salatti at AMEC Health Commission Launch

    Acacia Bamberg Salatti addresses a group of faith, community, health, and business leaders at AMEC Manage BP launch.

    Heart disease and stroke are the first and fourth leading causes of death in the United States, respecitvely. Responsible for 1 of every 3 deaths in the country, heart disease is an even greater risk in the African American community. Although African American adults are 40% more likely to have high blood pressure, they are 10% less likely than their non-Hispanic white counterparts to have their blood pressure under control.

    To help reduce this health disparity, Manage BP with is the African American Episcopal Church (AMEC) Health Commission’s groundbreaking hypertension prevention initiative. Designed to leverage technology to reduce hypertension rates and to improve health outcomes, the program utilizes the church’s web-based platform——to deliver health education messages, disseminate health information, collect patient-generated data, and provide peer support.

    The Manage BP with campaign will initially involve 10 AME churches in the New York City metropolitan area and will reach more than 20,000 congregants. The launch is just the beginning of a larger program, which will expand to include 4,000 AME churches across the nation.

  • Together for Tomorrow

    We've been overwhelmed with the positive response to our Together for Tomorrow (TFT) initiative, which is advancing community partnerships to propel school improvement. TFT is being led by the U.S. Department of Education, working with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

    Since we launched TFT at the end of February, we've had hundreds of people join us for local TFT Town Halls, where we spotlight examples of effective school-community partnerships and help catalyze new efforts. Community and faith organizations, schools, and others are embracing the vision of TFT: to celebrate and inspire community and family engagement in education; strengthen the capacity of low-performing schools to manage partnerships; and focus partnerships on the ABCs - Attendance, Behavior, Course performance, and College access.

  • An Open Letter to Fathers

    It's a great time to be a dad.

    I don't say that because this Sunday was Father's Day, though I'd be lying if I said I hadn't been looking forward to it. Being a dad is so important today because it's an opportunity to empower the next generation of men and women to conquer whatever challenges may face them. It's an opportunity to help shape their future.

    When fathers aren’t a part of their lives, kids are more likely to get involved in harmful and destructive activities like drug use and crime. On the other hand, giving children the paternal support they need helps them grow into confident, capable and healthy men and women.

    All children deserve solid father figures in their lives, but far too many don't have them. President Obama, whose own father was absent for much of his childhood, understands that. That's why he created the Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative to celebrate fatherhood and create meaningful opportunities for fathers and children – and adult mentors and young mentees – to connect.

  • Community Health Centers: Expanding Access to Care in Underserved Areas

    The C.W. Williams Community Health Center in Charlotte, North Carolina was created in 1981 when local leaders Peggy Beckwith, founder of the local Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation; Dr. John Murphy, a local dentist; and Rowe "Jack" Motley, the first African-American county Commissioner, filled out an application to create a community health center.   Mr. Motley drove to Washington, D.C. to submit their application. Their application was accepted and the C.W. Williams Community Health Center was created.

    C.W. Williams Community Health Center

    C.W. Williams Executive Director Beverly Irby, Dr Everlyn Hall-Baker, Alexia Kelley, Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and Dr. Joann Parris. (Photo by Dwayne Gross)

    On May 3, 2012, Alexia Kelley, Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships visited the C.W. Williams Community Health Center. She shared the news that a total of $730 million was being awarded across the country to community health centers, and that C.W. Williams Center had been awarded $500,000 to create a dental clinic. Dentists are in short supply in North Carolina and ranks 47th in dentist-to-population ratio. The new funding will greatly expand access to care.