The U.S. Department of Commerce announced today the re-launch of its Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, one of 13 federal agency offices under the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Housed within the Office of the Secretary, the Center serves to connect community- and faith-based organizations to Commerce resources and programs, engage a diverse array of stakeholders in the work of the agency, and promote economic development and job creation through local partnerships.
"I am excited to announce the new strategic direction of Commerce's Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The Center plays an important role in connecting Commerce to local communities and ensuring the Department's "Open for Business Agenda' expands opportunity for all Americans," said U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. "By linking community leaders and organizations with critical economic development programs, technical assistance and other resources, the Department of Commerce is working to achieve its mission of promoting job creation, economic growth, sustainable development and improved standards of living for all Americans by working in partnership with businesses, universities, communities and our nation's workers."
In direct alignment with the Department's "Open for Business Agenda," the Center has created Commerce's first-ever "Community Development Resource Toolkit," which highlights how community-based organizations can utilize Commerce Department programs to promote local-level economic development. The Center has also revamped its website and will begin a "Commerce in the Community" blog series highlighting the many ways in which local business, nonprofit and religious leaders are partnering with Commerce to make a positive impact at the local level. Additionally, the Center will begin a series of place-based convenings this summer, focused on connecting communities with Commerce Department programs and resources, while also promoting local partnerships around skills and workforce development.
"Commerce's Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships plays an important role in our community development efforts by helping businesses and nonprofits work together to grow the economy and create jobs," said Melissa Rogers, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. "We are looking forward to collaborating with our colleagues at Commerce to build ladders of opportunity for all Americans."
On March 30, 2014, the Center co-hosted Business Sunday - its first event under Secretary Pritkzer - at 19th Street Baptist Church in Washington, DC. A collaboration between the Minority Business Development Agency and the Small Business Administration, Business Sunday is focused on providing current and aspiring business leaders from congregations and communities around the country with the federal resources they need to start and grow their companies. As a reflection of the President's commitment to job creation and economic opportunity for all Americans, Business Sunday connects people to valuable technical assistance, grant information and other resources from the Minority Business Development Agency, BusinessUSA and the Small Business Administration.
The Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships is led by Director Josh Dickson. Originally from Upstate New York, Josh is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School and a long-time community organizer who's been involved in numerous initiatives focused on engaging faith-based and neighborhood organizations in community development. In his role as Director, Josh will oversee faith-based and community partnership projects across all Commerce bureaus as well as within the Office of the Secretary.