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.
During the Moving Young People Forward lunchtime plenary, sponsored by the office of Mayor Michael Nutter, there was a very spirited discussion among the panelists about school turnaround, mentoring, youth violence prevention, and workforce development. The Office of Mayor Michael Nutter and many community and faith-based organizations identified these as the top issues facing the city.
We also launched a comprehensive partnership guide, Partnerships for the Common Good (pdf), at the conference. The guide provides faith-based and community organizations with information about opportunities to form partnerships across government, on issues from housing to job creation, summer feeding programs, responsible fatherhood and disaster response.
The Partnerships for the Common Good guide is the first document produced by our Office that truly showcases the work of our Centers across government, so I hope you will check it out (pdf).
From providing information to community groups on health care access, or helping congregations interested in “greening” their facilities, or key information for nonprofit groups on providing job training for our veterans, our White House Office and Centers for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships are executing the vision set forth by President Obama to lead our nation forward, for the common good.
Joshua DuBois serves as Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and Special Assistant to the President.