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Biden re-establishes office to outreach with faith-based groups

Through an executive order on Sunday, President Biden reestablished the White House’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

The office, which was originally created during the Bush administration, is designed to help the government partner with smaller scale neighborhood and community nonprofit organizations.

“The American people are key drivers of fundamental change in our country, and few institutions are closer to the people than our faith-based and other community organizations,” the order stated. “These partnerships are also vital for the success and effectiveness of the United States’ diplomatic, international development, and humanitarian work around the world.”

The office will be led by Melissa Rogers who had previously led it during President Obama’s second term.

According to Rogers, the office will work on addressing economic and educational disparities across American society, with special focus on making sure that religious communities are aware of government grants and accommodations that are afforded to them.

“We’ll be engaged in that particular effort, as well as others, in breaking down silos and communicating across agencies to try to find out what we can do with our partners to ensure that we really attack these disparities, which are part of the scourge of systemic racism,” Rogers told the Religion News Service.

While the office has existed in some form for the last two decades, its efforts were significantly reduced under the Trump administration.

Renamed as the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative, it was left largely unstaffed until 2019, when President Donald Trump appointed the controversial, evangelical preacher Paula White to the post.

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