The state of Ohio’s “Faith-Based Regional Tour” recently made a stop in Sunbury at the Northgate Church, 51 Four Winds Drive.
Michele Reynolds, director of the Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, told officials representing local churches and charities that they may be able to receive funding for their community projects.
“The mission of the (GOFBCI) is to promote solutions, including those from faith-based partners, to community needs and support the development of collaborative efforts to improve the well-being of all Ohioans,” Reynolds said. “The vision of (GOFBCI) is to build a strong network of compassion in Ohio among the faith-based and nonprofit sector that serves as a safety net for Ohioans in need.”
Reynolds, who is a pastor’s wife and the CEO for a nonprofit, said, “Government believed these organizations were solving the problems of society. But how do you navigate this thing called government? We can break down some of these barriers and help you do your work more effectively.”
Among the things the office does is provide guidance of how to help without excluding anyone yet maintaining an organization’s religious identity. She said the office’s goals are in creating a compassion network, expanding its network, and assist with grant-making.
“The governor is really big on finding out what the people want,” Reynolds said. “He is one man, and we are a big state. We are servants, and happy to be helpful.”
Reynolds said GOFBCI was started during the administration of Ohio Gov. Bob Taft, and continued by John Kasich and Mike DeWine. According to its Facebook page, GOFBCI “will provide multiple forms of support and assistance to faith-based and community organizations. The office will serve as the liaison between faith-based and community organizations (FBCO) and state governments to assist them in navigating state policy and interfacing with state systems. The GOFBCI will be an advocate within government to cut through the red tape and bureaucracy that impedes the work of FBCOs and will connect charitable organizations to resources and each other to leverage relationships, time and talents in order to maximize the impact of their work.”
“When we work together, we’ll get a lot more accomplished,” said Northgate Senior Leader Chris Stephens, in his introductory comments.
“If you are starting out, you’ll be starting out right,” added Ron Todd, Gov. DeWine’s Minority Affairs Liaison, in introducing Reynolds.
Among the organizations that were represented with handouts included Citizens for Community Values, Children’s Hunger Alliance, Church Ambassador Network, the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood and Share Our Strength.
The Sunbury event was the second of seven stops around the state. The morning included brief video remarks from Gov. DeWine, group engagement, and a panel discussion with panelists such as Reynolds and Delaware County Commissioner Barb Lewis. The event also featured songs from Blaze Johnson, who appeared on Season 8 of “The Voice.”
For more information: https://www.facebook.com/ohiofaithbasedcommunityinitiatives/ or [email protected]
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.