As part of the 108th Holy Convocation of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships partnered with COGIC Urban Initiatives to present a panel discussion on opportunities for partnerships between faith-based and community organization and Federal agencies. Entitled “Faith-Based Partnerships that Work,” the discussion highlighted the unique role of the Federal Centers for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (CFBNP). Located inside many Federal agencies, these Centers serve as a resource for secular and faith-based non-profit organizations seeking to partner with Federal agencies to address the needs of their local communities.
Led by the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Education (ED CFBNP), the COGIC workshop included staff representing several Partnership Centers along with pastors and staff from COGIC-affiliated organizations and other community-based organizations that had partnered with Centers in the past. These representatives described their experiences partnering across issue areas, including education, housing, health and human services, and veterans issues, among others. For example, Dr. Gwendolyn Diggs, Assistant Superintendent Educational Operations for the Ferguson-Florissant School District, commented on how a partnership with the ED CFBNP has resulted in the 1) increased collaboration between the School District and community partners and 2) the strengthening of various programs that benefit the School District’s students. Paula Hearn, Executive Vice President of COGIC Urban Initiatives, discussed how COGIC’s Partnerships with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships strengthened their ability to reach hundreds of students throughout the nation with the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program.
After this broader discussion, participants received practical training from staff of the HUD Center on building the capacity of local non-profit organizations to more effectively carry out their mission. This workshop was excerpted from the HUD Center’s Signature “Capacity Building and Grant-Writing Training.” In the training, participants received personal instruction from HUD CFBNP staff on how to secure 501(c) (3) status, strategic planning, creating the organizational structure necessary to secure government funds, and how to become more competitive for Federal grants. Participants also received valuable lessons on best practices in partnering with Federal agencies Attendees felt that the lessons on past partnerships from Federal staff and community partners, combined with the practically-oriented capacity-building workshop, provided new tools and strategies for organizations to pursue their mission.
Organizations interested in partnering with relevant Federal agencies can find complete contact information for all Centers for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the White House website here. Faith and community organization seeking to learn more about the “Capacity-Building Training for Emerging Organizations,” or other partnership or training opportunities, can contact the Department of Education’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at (202) 401-1876 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Centers stand ready to partner with faith-based and community organizations as they pursue their vital mission serving communities nationwide.
By Paula Lincoln, Director of the HUD Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and Joshua Bancroft, Program Specialist for the HUD Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships