RD256 - Report on the Virginia Faith-Based and Community Initiative - October 2013

Executive Summary:
Section 63.2-703 of the Code of Virginia charges the Department of Social Services (DSS) 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 DSS' responsibilities.

Accomplishments during the period from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2013 that strengthened faith-based and community collaboration through the Faith-Based and Community Initiative included:

• Provided technical assistance to over 2,000 constituents on locating grant funding, training opportunities, and resources for fund development.

• Increased faith-based presence in responding to emergencies in collaboration with Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

• Integrated faith efforts in the Virginia State Service Plan for Volunteerism and Community Service listening sessions held in Danville, Alexandria, Newport News, Big Stone Gap, Roanoke, Charlottesville, Front Royal, and Richmond.

• Worked with faith-based leaders, coordinated training entitled "Collaboration is a Two-Way Street - Working with Faith Partners" during the 2013 Virginia Conference on Volunteerism and Service held in Virginia Beach on June 13, 2013.

• Expanded grant database on http://www.vaservice.org to include more public and private funding opportunities of interest to faith-based, volunteer, private and community organizations.

• Increased overall subscriptions to "Volunteer Virginia," the OVCS monthly e-newsletter for faith-based community partners from approximately 1,800 subscribers to over 5,000 subscribers during the last two years, for an overall increase of 178%.

• This year, increased funding to faith-based groups engaged in service. Four of Virginia's 23 AmeriCorps sites are hosted by faith-based organizations.

• Participated in the Virginia Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership Liaison Roundtable.

• In collaboration with the Governor's Advisory Board on Volunteering and National and Community Service, hosted the Governor's Volunteerism and Community Service Awards where a faith-based category recognizes the significant contributions made by faith-based organizations throughout the Commonwealth.

• Engaged the faith community in promoting fatherhood programs. Presentations conducted at national, state, and local faith-based conferences with 85 faith institutions across the Commonwealth committing to engage families to assist them to be more successful.

This is the sixth report to the Governor and General Assembly. Building on previous successes, Virginia's Faith-Based and Community Initiative will continue to promote collaborative service delivery, accountability, transparency, and results. The accomplishments and activities of the Virginia Faith-Based and Community Initiative have helped countless community-based organizations across the Commonwealth.