With so many advocacy organizations working in the District what makes Good Faith unique?
In advocating for justice, faith congregations can speak with moral authority in an environment that often lacks that perspective. This moral authority often often translates as the conscience of the community, an articulation of the good the community aspires to.
Good Faith views the DC budget as a moral document. It makes a statement about our priorities. As faith communities, we have a moral imperative to give voice to the needs and concerns of the poor and vulnerable by seeing that the District addresses these needs in its priorities and budget. Good Faith can and should be a powerful voice for justice.
Why are Good Faith’s priorities (affordable housing and homeless services) so narrowly focused? Aren’t there other issues of equal importance?
After lengthy discussion at Good Faith’s founding, the partners agreed that Good Faith would focus on a District community issue in which the DC government had a significant role to play.
Affordable and sustainable housing is fundamental to a stable and healthy community. The DC government has added and reorganized affordable housing and services for persons who are homeless over time, but until recently had not addressed the problem as “urgent” in this period of hyper-gentrification that is sweeping the city. In addition, it has it not used all the tools it has at its disposal to fund new and renovate older housing at the level needed.
Focus on a narrow issue that is foundational to community health and stability is considered “good practice” in the non-profit sector. Yes, there are other issues that need addressing, such as education and workforce development, but if a person or family does not have a home, progress on those issues will be substantially more difficult.
Our community delivers many charitable services. Why should our faith community partner with Good Faith?
The scale of the shelter problems in the District is so large that though faith communities play an important role in delivering service and often providing shelter, no one faith community can make the impact that is needed to adequately address the challenge. Government must be involved and play a significant role.
Good Faith’s collective voice, speaking from our values and moral imperative to serve, is in a unique position to make homeless issues more visible and real and to advocate for making solutions and investments a #1 government priority.
Many members of our congregation who actively support and participate in our social justice ministries in the District live in the region, but not in the District. How can they participate in Good Faith?
Good Faith is a partnership of faith-based congregations who are physically located in the District. Individual members of Good Faith partners participate based on their membership in the partner congregation, not on where they live.
What advocacy methods does Good Faith use to get its message across?
The methods are straight forward and simple. They involve all Good Faith partners in communicating, testifying and meeting:
– Build coalitions with other organizations working to end homelessness.
– Meet with the Mayor and Council members to remind them that the City’s budget is a moral document, especially in how it sets priorities and meets the needs of persons who are homeless, the poor and marginalized.
– Testify before all appropriate Council hearings on the importance of fully funding programs and services for persons without homes and increasing the inventory of affordable housing.
– Engage in a communication campaign directed to the Mayor and the DC City Council urging timely and appropriate budgeting for affordable housing and programs and services for persons who are homeless.
How is Good Faith funded?
For the past five years Good Faith has been generously funded by a substantial grant from the tithe of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown through its Social Justice Ministry. The grant has funded Good Faith’s operating expenses. The tithe has also made a substantial contribution to the DC Fiscal Policy Institute to act as technical consultant to Good Faith on issues related to affordable housing and homelessness in the District. In 2015 Good Faith also received a substantial grant from the Nash Family Foundation to further its outreach to the faith community.
In Fall 2015 Good Faith for the first time sought annual monetary support from partner congregations. Individuals and partner congregations have contributed substantially and Good Faith has reached its goal.
How is Good Faith governed?
A Board of Directors consists of 5 members and meets at least annually to oversee finance, development and priorities and give direction on strategic planning. Board Membership: Rev. John Graham (Grace Episcopal), Rev. James Terrell (Second Baptist), Rabbi Gerald Serotta (Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington), John Hisle (Executive Director). Rev. Graham serves as President of the Board 2015 – 2016.
Executive Director John Hisle meets regularly with a 5 person leadership team to plan implementation of the work plan and evaluate results. The team also plans and manages communication and meetings with partner congregations. A community outreach worker, works with congregations to define issues and priorities for advocacy.