On Feb. 5, 2009, two weeks after taking office, President Barack Obama signed an executive order establishing the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The new office retains the basic administrative structure of President George W. Bush's White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. The central White House office and satellite offices in 12 government agencies work together to encourage partnerships between the government and religious and community groups for the delivery of social services.
The White House office, led by executive director Joshua DuBois, has identified four primary goals:
- Connecting faith-based and community groups to economic recovery;
- Promoting interfaith dialogue and cooperation;
- Encouraging responsible fatherhood and healthy families;
- Reducing unintended pregnancies and the need for abortions, strengthening maternal and child health, and encouraging adoptions
To address these policy goals, Obama also has established a 25-member President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships to make recommendations to the president on how to improve government partnerships with faith-based and community organizations. Members of the council represent a variety of religious traditions and policy positions and serve one-year terms. The current council members will issue their final report to the president in February 2010.
Council members serve on at least one of six task forces. Each task force will explore and outline ways to expand the impact of faith-based and community organizations in specific policy areas.
The Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life offers short descriptions of the goals of each task force and brief biographies of the advisory council members who serve on each task force.
Read the full report President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships on the Pew Forum's Web site.