White House and U.S. Department of Education Officials Join Philadelphia Mayor to Kick-Off Connecting Communities for the Common Good Conference Series

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Over 500 faith and community leaders from across the Delaware Valley are joining together today with leaders from the White House, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, the U.S. Department of Education Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, 12 other Federal Centers for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and local officials, to discuss opportunities for collaboration with the federal government. The event, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, kicks-off a series of Connecting Communities for the Common Good interactive conferences to be held by the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships around the country this year.

By partnering with faith and community leaders in their own hometowns, The White House, U.S. Department of Education Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and the 12 other Federal Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership Centers represented in this effort are ensuring that they deliver tools and information directly to those local organizations doing critical work on the ground to support those in need.

In two sessions, staff from the U.S. Department of Education Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships will discuss how faith-based and secular community organizations can strengthen partnerships to become education insiders, because building a culture of educational excellence is everyone’s responsibility. Center director Brenda Girton-Mitchell will also participate in a lunchtime plenary, sponsored by the office of Mayor Michael Nutter, where panelists will discuss 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.

“Faith and community leaders are trusted messengers within their communities. Our office fosters and supports important relationships between government and community and faith-based organizations to effectively tackle some of our nations’ biggest challenges,” said Joshua DuBois, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. “President Obama recognizes the challenges communities face as the economy continues to recover and as families work to regain their footing. As thousands of community organizations across the country strive to help hardworking Americans secure good jobs, avoid foreclosure, access affordable health care, and strengthen their families, this administration and our Centers for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships will continue to support them and promote their good work.”

The White House, together with the 13 Agency Partnership Centers, will also release their comprehensive partnership guide, “Partnerships for the Common Good.” 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 and disaster response and includes guidance on applying for federal grants and access to capacity building resources.