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Nonprofit Appointees to New Presidential Partnership Program Announced

Nonprofit leaders from a diversity of organizations continue to be tapped as President Barack Obama begins selecting members for his new President’s Advisory Council at the freshly created White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The office “will work on behalf of Americans committed to improving their communities, no matter their religious or political beliefs.”

The group, composed of religious and secular leaders and scholars from different backgrounds, also will be “a resource for nonprofits and community organizations, both secular and faith-based, looking for ways to make a bigger impact in their communities, learn their obligations under the law, cut through red tape, and make the most of what the federal government has to offer.”

Obama signed the executive order establishing the 25-member office Thursday, February 5; only 15 had been publicly announced by today.

“There is a force for good greater than government,” Obama said in a White House press release. ”It is an expression of faith, this yearning to give back, this hungering for a purpose larger than our own, that reveals itself not simply in places of worship, but in senior centers and shelters, schools and hospitals, and any place an American decides."

Appointed to lead the office is Joshua DuBois, a former associate pastor and Obama advisor during the president’s Senate days; DuBois also served as Obama’s campaign director of religious affairs. All appointees will serve a one-year term.

Working in tandem with the president’s Cabinet secretaries and 11 government agencies, the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships will focus on four priorities: “making community groups an integral part of America’s economic recovery;” serving as “one voice among several in the administration that will look at how we support women and children, address teenage pregnancy, and reduce the need for abortion;” supporting “fathers who stand by their families….,” and working “with the National Security Council to foster interfaith dialogue with leaders and scholars around the world.”

In addition to forming the new office, the Executive Order also sought to add “a new mechanism for the Executive Director of the Office to work through the White House Counsel to seek the advice of the Attorney General on difficult legal and constitutional issues.”

Among the council members are Judith Vredenburgh, president and CEO, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America; Richard Stearns, President, World Vision; Fred Davie, President, Public/Private Ventures; Rabbi David Saperstein, director & counsel, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Father Larry Snyder, President, Catholic Charities USA; and Eboo Patel, founder/executive director, Interfaith Youth Corps.

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