EPA Launches Faith-based, Neighborhood Partnerships Initiative
The formation of the EPA’s Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (FBNP) initiative reflects the commitment to the goals of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, a priority of President Obama’s. Strong relationships with faith and neighborhood organizations will help promote environmental stewardship that will lead to cleaner communities, encourage healthier families and build a stronger America. These relationships will also help EPA assist communities during times of environmental crisis.
“In the history of this nation, faith communities and neighborhood groups have been instrumental in efforts to open new opportunities and improve the world we live in. We are initiating today an effort to connect the talent, energy and enthusiasm we see in faith groups and communities across the nation with the work we are doing at EPA,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “This is part of a broader effort, involving the White House and 12 other federal agencies, to form working relationships among government at all levels and faith-based and secular non-profit organizations to serve Americans in need and keep children and families healthy.”
On February 9, 2010, President Barack Obama signed executive order 13498 establishing the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and created an advisory council, which is composed of 25 religious, secular leaders and scholars, and 12 federal faith-based and neighborhood partnerships centers to assess and strengthen partnerships between the U.S. government and community-serving organizations. EPA joined the partnership in October 2010.
Through this initiative, EPA will focus on four areas: establishing a center to work with faith-based and neighborhood groups to increase awareness of environmental issues in communities throughout the country, developing a national plan of action to foster strong relationships between faith and neighborhood organizations, building partnerships between those organizations and government, and developing a website that will house environmental education tool kits and resources.
EPA has pledged to work to expand the environmental conversation and continue the fight for environmental justice to relieve the burdens of pollution in poor and minority communities. In addition, EPA will work with participating institutions to bring green jobs to these communities, increase energy efficiency through EPA’s Energy Star for Congregations program, and improve environmental education and communications.