RD65 - Report on the Virginia Faith-Based and Community Initiative

Executive Summary:
Section 63.2-703 of the Code of Virginia charges the Department of Social Services (Department) with providing leadership and coordination for Virginia’s Faith-Based and Community Initiative and to report on a regular basis to the Governor and the General Assembly on the fulfillment of the Department’s responsibilities.

Major Department accomplishments in strengthening community-based collaboration though the Faith-based and Community Initiative include:

• Facilitating meetings with faith-based, volunteer, private and community organizations for the purpose of sharing information to help carry out human services programs in Virginia.

• Conducting training and providing technical assistance on topics such as fund raising, grant writing and board development to expand the capacity of community organizations.

• Establishing a statewide network of local liaisons to assist in the dissemination of information and assistance. Liaisons have been identified in all local departments of social services, all community action agencies, all Workforce Investment Boards and numerous state agencies.

• Designing and maintaining the Virginia Faith-Based and Community Initiative website, web-based resource directory and toll-free number for community based organizations and customers to obtain information on faith-based and community initiative activities and opportunities.

• Designing a technical assistance booklet for use by organizations considering partnerships with public agencies.

• Conducting a survey of local departments of social services and community action agencies to gather information on unmet social service needs of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients and on successful collaboration among community based organizations.

• Successfully competing for a $1.28 million grant awarded by the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives of the Department of Labor grant to strengthen Virginia’s workforce development system through expanded community based partnerships.