The Colorado Convention Center, Korbel Ballroom was filled with faith-based and neighborhood organization representatives today for the Connecting Communities for the Common Good Conference (one of many in a series across the US). This conference came from the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Networking and sharing best practices of connecting communities was the purpose, with a look at education, economics, hunger, veteran affairs, youth violence prevention, foster care, housing solutions for the homeless, fatherhood and health care.
Joshua DuBois, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, spoke for the welcome plenary. To explain the importance of this conference series, DuBois said of the Philadelphia conference, it was a gathering which ”brought together a diverse audience who share the common goal of effectively tackling the challenges facing their communities. By partnering with faith and community leaders in their own hometowns, we are able to deliver tools and information directly to those local organizations doing critical work on the ground to support those in need.”
I had the opportunity to attend both a workshop on food programs provided by the USDA and a round table discussion on Michelle Obama’s program, Let’s Move. It was interesting to hear the struggles and accomplishments of small and large organizations working to end hunger in Colorado. Success stories brought tears to my eyes and gave conference attendees more ideas to help and provide services. But even more moving was watching connections being made, knowing that as a result of those connections, so many more people in need will receive aid. It was also nice to see local, regional and national staff come together and discuss solutions, not just problems. All participants had something to offer and something to gain.
One product each participant was given is the Partnerships for the Common Good Guide. This toolkit provides information, ideas and actions to build partnerships that will improve our communities. If you are interesting in building partnerships, click the link and download your own copy. Page 37 includes activities and partnerships that can include everyone to help put a stop to hunger in America.