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The Partnership Center Newsletter

August 5, 2011

Dear Partners:

As leaders in your community, the business of saving lives comes in many forms. For some it is creating an after school program to prevent young adults from pursuing a life of crime and running the streets.  For others it is establishing a soup kitchen to provide meals for the hungry.  And for some, it is encouraging members of your congregation or organization to sign up to be an organ donor. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services joined with health advocates across the country this week to observe the 15th annual National Minority Donor Awareness Day. Minorities account for more than half of the 111,000-plus people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant.

Currently, there are more than 32,500 African Americans, 20,000 Hispanic Americans, 7,500 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and 1,057 Native Americans on the waiting list for organs in the United States. In 2010, more than 4,450 individuals from these communities donated their organs.

Minorities are donating in proportion to their percentage in the population; however, their need is much greater due to high rates of diseases and conditions - such as diabetes and hypertension - that can result in organ failure. Many more donors from all backgrounds are critically needed to help all whose lives depend on a transplant.

A number of faith traditions support organ donation and view it as an act of kindness.

By increasing awareness of the need for organ donation, minority communities across the nation will have the opportunity to take action. People on the waiting list are more likely to receive transplants if more people from all backgrounds donate.

For more information, including how to register in your state to become an organ, eye, and tissue donor, please visit


Mara Vanderslice Kelly, Acting Director
Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Featured Update

New Health Plans Will Give Consumers and Small Businesses More Health Insurance Choices

By Lisa Carr, MSW, Associate Director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced that nonprofit organizations, including faith-based, nonprofit providers and small businesses, can create a new type of health plan called a Consumer Oriented and Operated Plan, or a CO-OP. A CO-OP is a private, nonprofit organization that sells health insurance coverage, like a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), and will be subject to the same rules as other insurers. Unlike some other health insurance companies, a CO-OP will give its enrollees a say in their health insurance plan, use profits to benefit enrollees, and educate enrollees about the direction of the plan.

Starting in 2014, CO-OPs will give consumers and small businesses more choices, greater plan accountability and help ensure a more competitive insurance market. CO-OPs will sell coverage through the State’s Affordable Insurance Exchange as well as have the opportunity to sell coverage to small businesses through the State’s Small Business Health Options Programs (SHOP Exchanges). Several successful health insurance cooperatives currently exist around the country covering nearly two million people.

The proposed rules can be found at Further information on the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan program can be found by clicking here and at

Let’s Move Faith and Communities Update

Walking in Faith and Health with Parish Nurses

Walking in faith is a part of many religions, yet walking in health is not necessarily a part of our daily lives.  Across the country, parish nurses are helping congregations walk in faith and walk in health towards a more active lifestyle.  Parish nurses, or Faith Community Nurses, are health experts who work within specific congregations to provide the tools, resources, and support necessary to make healthy decisions and stay active.  In their capacity as health counselors, advocates, educators, and providers of spiritual care, they are on the frontlines of congregational health, working with church members to address healing of the body, mind and spirit.

Poised to guide parishioners toward more physical activity, parish nurses have responded to the First Lady’s Let’s Move! challenge to walk 3 million miles as part of her initiative to reverse the trend of obesity within a generation. Parish nurses are leading energized, creative community walking programs across the country!  The Rev. Dr. Deborah Patterson, Executive Director of the International Parish Nurse Resource Center says, “When a parish nurse is leading a walking program, the average number of miles walked per congregation increases dramatically!” 

“All it takes is a little bit of organization to get people excited about physical activity!” says Rebekah Seymour, parish nurse of First Baptist Church in Nederland, Texas.  Rebekah, with the help of a team of volunteers, planned and carried out a church-wide walking program called “Walk Across Texas” with Texas-sized success!  After constructing a giant map of Texas on which individuals, groups, and families could track their weekly progress and offering prizes for those who crossed the state first, the community of First Baptist walked over 225,000 miles!  Not only did the walking adventure encourage physical activity, it nurtured fellowship and inspired congregants to get up, get moving and adopt healthy habits that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

At Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Brentwood, Missouri, parish nurse Nancy Merila with her congregation conducted a virtual “Walk to Bethlehem.” Miles were counted, with the use of inexpensive pedometers, by using 15 to 30 minute increments. Participants marked their miles on a big world map pinned to the community wall and Merila enhanced the experience by stamping passports for the countries the congregation virtually “walked” through each week and provided a travelogue of educational facts and images about each country.  She added inspirational prayer cards and bible verses to encourage reflection and inspiration during daily walks as, she notes, “It’s impossible to address health issues without taking a holistic approach.  If people aren’t physically, emotionally and spiritually engaged, they will never make lasting changes in their lives.”

These are only a few of the many examples of parish nurses guiding congregations in the healthy practices that will support the community they serve in becoming a place of health and well-being.  “People like taking part in physical activity, but often times they don’t know where to start.  By making walking programs fun and educationally and spiritually fulfilling, we can really provide a sustainable solution to the problem of obesity,” says Nancy Merila.

To read more about the great activities faith-based and neighborhood organizations are leading across the country to get people moving, click here. To learn more about the Let’s Move Faith and Communities initiative or share your success story, email us at or call (202) 358-3595.

Heidi Christensen is the Associate Director for Community Engagement at the Partnership Center at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Latest News

White House and HHS Host Sickle Cell Disease Roundtable

Braving the heat wave gripping much of the country, nearly 100 faith and community leaders visited the White House recently for a roundtable discussion to raise awareness and educate communities about sickle cell disease.

Gathered inside the Truman Room at the White House Conference Center, these leaders had the opportunity to hear briefings on HHS’ Sickle Cell Disease Initiative and ongoing work on this important health issue from senior HHS officials. They included Dr. Dora Hughes,Counselor for Science and Public Health for Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; Dr. Garth Graham, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health; Dr. Susan Shurin, Acting Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at National Institutes for Health (NIH); Dr. Sara Copeland, Medical Officer with the Genetic Services Branch at Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA); and  Dr. Althea M. Grant,  Chief of the Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Speaking from the viewpoint of individuals who are living with sickle cell disease, Dominique Friend, a sickle cell disease advocate, spoke about the day-to-day challenges confronting patients and the need for greater education within the community.

Joshua DuBois, Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships also attended the discussion, stressing the importance of faith and community leaders partnering to solve important health issues like sickle cell disease.  “Faith and community leaders are integral to promoting the public health of their communities,” said DuBois.  “We look forward to working with faith and community leaders to deliver this important message of health and wellness to their communities.”

To emphasize the importance of these connections, the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA) announced a national partnership with the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education to mobilize congregations and other faith-based organizations around the issue sickle cell disease education and awareness. This project and partnership will provide the faith community with the tools and information needed to dispel the stigma associated with Sickle Cell Disease and to counter the misperceptions about individuals with this disease. 

Dr. George Waddles, President of the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education noted that the role of the church is “not just worship” but also a place for health and wellness in the community. He added that this partnership will inform other public health outreach initiatives within their denomination. The National Baptist Congress of Christian Education is the education division of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc.

HHS’ strong partnerships with faith and community leaders provide a unique opportunity to improve care for people with sickle cell disease,” said Dora L. Hughes.  “Secretary Sebelius’ Sickle Cell Disease Initiative will improve the lives of individuals with sickle cell disease by enhancing their ability to access quality care.  Today’s discussion bridges the gap between what is happening at research labs and in local communities to help develop healthier communities.”

An estimated 72,000 Americans live with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) in the United States and approximately two million Americans carry the Sickle Cell Trait (SCT).

Acacia Bamberg Salatti is the Deputy Director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (The Partnership Center) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

(L-R) Joshua DuBois, Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and Dr. George W. Waddles Sr., Congress President, National Baptist Congress of Christian Education discuss issues during the roundtable discussion.


Connecting Communities in the Rocky Mountain West


Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper delivers the keynote address at the Connecting Communities for the Common Good Conference in Denver, Colorado.

It was nearly 3 years ago when Barack Obama took to the stage at Invesco Field in Denver, Colorado to accept his party’s nomination to become President of the United States.  Then Senator Obama outlined a vision for a government that worked with the people to solve problems to do “…which we cannot do for ourselves: protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools, and new roads, and science, and technology.”

Three years after the President said those words, we are still building upon that vision by hosting the Connecting Communities for the Common Good Conference in Denver.  Through our half-day convening, faith and community leaders from across the Rocky Mountain West were able to establish and maintain the important relationship between government and community organizations.

President Obama recognizes the challenges communities are facing, with jobs, foreclosures, affordable health care and caring for our nation’s veterans, but he understands that government cannot do it alone.  That is why he formed the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships to build these important relationships between government and community organizations.

Denver was the third stop on the Connecting Communities tour and provided our first opportunity to visit the west.  The conference presented each attendee with the unique opportunity to engage our 13 Centers for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships across government.  Leaders moved from workshop to workshop discussing a variety of issues including education, jobs and economic recovery, the role of organizations in disasters, preparedness, response and recovery and accessing healthcare. 

During the morning plenary, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper delivered a keynote address recognizing faith and community leaders as trusted messengers and voices of knowledge within their communities.  “The faith-based community can be a powerful ally in helping to address a wide variety of issues facing our country, said Hickenlooper.  "We have seen many success stories in Colorado of effective partnerships causing positive change with hunger, homelessness and literacy. It is important that we continue these collective efforts to help our local communities.”

Through the strong support of our Centers at the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services and the Small Business Administration, we hosted over 500 faith and community leaders and engaged in a thought-provoking conversation that allowed both parties to listen and learn. 

From providing support to organizations wanting to provide information on how the Affordable Care Act impacts their community, to congregations interested in greening their facilities or a nonprofit group wanting to provide job training and workforce development for our nations veterans, the federal centers for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships are executing the vision set forth by President Obama to lead our nation forward, for the common good.

Alexia Kelley is the Deputy Director and Senior Policy Advisor in the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Upcoming Events

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: Train-the-Trainers Workshops. CMS Presents the 2011 National Medicare Train-the-Trainer Workshop schedule. CMS will share consistent, accurate, current information with partners who help Medicare beneficiaries make the best choices for their healthcare coverage at these national events.

The 2011 National Medicare Training Program workshops will include:

  • Refresher on Medicare program
  • Basic information and detailed casework-tailored to your needs
  • Medicare training information and materials that are current, accurate, and consistent
  • Opportunity to network with CMS staff and other partners who share your commitment
  • Subject matter experts to answer your questions
  • 2011 CD Suite—with the training modules, videos, resource guide, toolkits, and more

Please click here for the 2011 workshops schedule.

Empowering America's Grassroots

Grant Opportunities

As always, the final section of our newsletter includes an updated grants listing that faith-based and community non-profits can pursue. It is important to review the funding announcement thoroughly to ensure that the grant is one that is appropriate to your organization’s mission, size, and scope.

Grants Listings

Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program

Description: The Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program (Program) supports metropolitan and multijurisdictional planning efforts that integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments in a manner that empowers jurisdictions to consider the interdependent challenges of: (1) economic competitiveness and revitalization; (2) social equity, inclusion, and access to opportunity; (3) energy use and climate change; and (4) public health and environmental impact. The Program places a priority on investing in partnerships, including nontraditional partnerships (e.g., arts and culture, recreation, public health, food systems, regional planning agencies and public education entities) that translate the Livability Principles (Section I.C.1) into strategies that direct long-term development and reinvestment, demonstrate a commitment to addressing issues of regional significance, use data to set and monitor progress toward performance goals, and engage stakeholders and residents in meaningful decision-making roles.
Eligibility:  This funding opportunity is open to multijurisdictional and multi-sector partnership consisting of a consortium of government entities and non-profit partners.
Funding: Multiple awards, with funding from $400,000 to $5,000,000.
Link to Full Announcement:LINK TO FULL ANNOUNCEMENT 
Last Day to Apply: August 25, 2011 
Grant is administered by the:Department of Housing and Urban Development

Title:Public Education Efforts To Increase Solid Organ Donation Program

Description: The purpose of this program is to support the implementation of public education and outreach programs that show promise of increasing organ donation.  Specifically, this program supports the replication of strategies that have been identified through the research grant program of the Division of Transplantation as effective in increasing donation or strategies identified in the public health literature as being effective in modifying health behavior.  The program also supports the implementation of public education and outreach efforts that are based on an established framework for successful public health outreach programs.  This grant program is supportive of the Division's mission to educate the public about deceased donation and to encourage individuals to document their decision to be a donor in their statewide donor registry or by some other mechanism where a registry is unavailable. Projects may also increase knowledge of opportunities to donate specific organs or organ sections while living and the process, risks, and benefits of living donation. 

Eligibility:  This funding opportunity is open to nonprofit providers, including faith-based and community organizations.

Funding: Up to four awards, with funding from $250,000 to $1,000,000.
Link to Full Announcement:LINK TO FULL ANNOUNCEMENT 
Last Day to Apply: November 16, 2011 
Grant is administered by the:Health Resources and Services Administration


Title:Social and Behavioral Interventions To Increase Solid Organ Donation

Description: This grant program is to increase solid organ donation and to improve understanding of how to increase solid organ donation.  The goal of the grant program is to assist eligible entities in the evaluation of, or the implementation and evaluation of, highly promising strategies and approaches that can serve as model interventions for increasing solid organ donation. Projects may focus on community education and outreach initiatives or hospital based efforts focused on family consent for donation when a death has occurred. Projects may also increase knowledge of opportunities to donate specific organs or organ sections while living and the process, risks, and benefits of living donation. 

Eligibility:  This funding opportunity is open to nonprofit providers, including faith-based and community organizations.

Funding: Up to four awards, with funding from $300,000 to $1,250,000.
Link to Full Announcement:LINK TO FULL ANNOUNCEMENT 
Last Day to Apply: November 30, 2011 
Grant is administered by the:Health Resources and Services Administration


Title:NonProfit Capacity Building Program

Description: Congress has recognized that many small and medium sized nonprofit organizations are significantly challenged in their ability to sustain and expand services and that organizational development assistance may be necessary to ensure the continuation of much-needed services in local communities. Grants awarded in this competition aim to build the capacity of small and midsize nonprofits to develop and implement performance management systems.
Eligibility:  This funding opportunity is open to nonprofit providers, including faith-based and community organizations.
Funding: Up to four awards, with funding from $200,000 to $998,000.
Link to Full Announcement:LINK TO FULL ANNOUNCEMENT 
Last Day to Apply: August 9, 2011 
Grant is administered by the:Corporation for National and Community Service


Title:Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII): Promise Neighborhoods Program: Planning Grant Competition

Description: The Promise Neighborhoods program is carried out under the legislative authority of the Fund for Improvement of Education (FIE). FIE supports nationally significant programs to improve the quality of elementary and secondary education at the State and local levels and to help all children meet challenging State academic content and student academic achievement standards. The purpose of the Promise Neighborhoods program is to significantly improve the educational and developmental outcomes of children and youth in our most distressed communities. Additional information about Promise Neighborhood Program grants can be found here.

Eligibility:  This funding opportunity is open to nonprofit providers, including faith-based and community organizations.
Funding: Up to ten awards, with funding of $500,000 each.
Link to Full Announcement:LINK TO FULL ANNOUNCEMENT 
Last Day to Apply: September 6, 2011 
Grant is administered by the:Office of Innovation and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education