If you’ve spent even a few minutes on our website and blog, you are familiar with our mission: to build and support partnerships between faith-based and community organizations in order to most effectively serve Americans in need. One way we do that is through our regional Connecting Communities for the Common Good events– most recently with a major convening in Denver. Through a half-dayconference at the Colorado Convention Center, faith and community leaders from across the Rocky Mountain West were able to establish and maintain the important partnerships between government and community organizations. We also had a rousing address from Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, making for a tremendous event.
President Obama is working to address the challenges communities are facing, from jobs, foreclosures, affordable health care and caring for our nation’s veterans. He also understands that our government can’t tackle these problems alone. That is why he formed the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships to build and support partnerships between government and community and faith-based organizations, in order to most effectively serve communities.
Denver was the third stop on our tour and provided the first opportunity to visit the West. We had a packed house, with hundreds of attendees engaging our 13 Centers for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships across government. Leaders moved from workshop to workshop discussing a variety of issues including education, jobs and economic recovery, the role of organizations in disaster preparedness and recovery and healthcare access.
During the morning plenary, Governor John Hickenlooper delivered a keynote address focused on how faith and community leaders are trusted messengers and voices of knowledge within their communities.
"The faith-based community can be a powerful ally in helping to address a wide variety of issues facing our country," said Hickenlooper. "We have seen many success stories in Colorado of effective partnerships causing positive change with hunger, homelessness and literacy. It is important that we continue these collective efforts to help our local communities."
Through the strong support of our Centers at the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services and the Small Business Administration, over 500 faith and community leaders were able to learn new ways to partner with government and share their stories as well. We’re excited to continue working with our friends across the great state of Colorado in the days ahead, and can’t wait to return to the Mountain West!
Alexia Kelley is the Deputy Director and Senior Policy Advisor in the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.