*Note: Dr. William J. Shaw, Immediate Past President of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. was a member of the President's Advisory Council
It is difficult to overstate the generosity of the American spirit. From the rubble of Haitian neighborhoods to under served communities across our own country, Americans are working to address the needs of the most vulnerable among us. The Government is often partner in this critical work, collaborating with local groups to serve those in need.Although partnerships between the Government and community-serving organization have existed for centuries, until recently the United States Government had never formed a body comprised of grassroots leaders and other experts to assess and strengthen those partnerships. On February 5, 2009, President Barack Obama created the Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships to do this work. In an executive order, the President noted:
The Council shall bring together leaders and experts in fields related to the work of faith-based and neighborhood organizations in order to: identify best practices and successful modes of delivering social services; evaluate the need for improvements in the implementation and coordination of public policies relating to faith-based and other neighborhood organizations; and make recommendations to the President, through the Executive Director [of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships], for changes in policies, programs, and practices that affect the delivery of services by such organizations and the needs of low-income and other under served persons in communities at home and around the world.
Within this report, the Advisory Council proposes a number of such recommendations, and it urges President Obama and his Administration to adopt them. As members of this Council, we are encouraged by the fact that the President and his Administration have made sustained dialogue with a diverse set of leaders a key part of this process, and we thank them for inviting the recommendations we present here.
President Obama asked the Council to focus its attention on making recommendations in the following priority areas:
Economic Recovery and Domestic Poverty
Environment and Climate Change
Fatherhood and Healthy Families
Global Poverty and Development
Reform of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
Each chapter of this report includes a number of recommendations in a specific issue area. No introduction could do justice to all of the recommendations, and this one certainly does not. We urge individuals to read the full report.