(WNY News Now) – Governor Kathy Hochul has inaugurated the revamped Office of Faith and Non-Profit Development Services, aimed at supporting vulnerable New Yorkers and connecting communities to state grant opportunities. The office, formerly known as New York’s Office of Faith-Based Community Development and Services, will collaborate with faith leaders to address pressing issues such as economic security, mental health, hate crimes, and the need for affordable housing and jobs.
New York – Governor Kathy Hochul announced the establishment of the Office of Faith and Non-Profit Development Services, previously known as New York’s Office of Faith-Based Community Development and Services. The reimagined office will play a pivotal role in assisting vulnerable New Yorkers and facilitating community access to state grant opportunities.
Quoting scripture, Governor Hochul highlighted the need for collective support during challenging times, emphasizing the responsibility to uplift one another. The Office, in collaboration with the newly formed Interfaith Advisory Council, comprises experienced faith leaders committed to understanding and addressing the needs of congregants and residents.
Faith communities, strategically positioned, will contribute to tackling the aftermath of the global pandemic, rising hate crimes, and the quest for affordable housing and employment opportunities. The Office aims to bridge the information gap by educating communities about available resources, grants, and programs while guiding them through the application and approval process.
Governor Hochul also announced the establishment of the New York State Interfaith Council, led by a diverse Executive Committee. This council will collaborate with the Office of Faith-Based and Community Development Services, state government, and the private sector to address community issues collectively.
To achieve this, the Executive Committee, led by Director Pastor Caura N. Washington, plans a comprehensive educational tour covering all 62 counties of New York. The tour will focus on capacity building, coalition building, community outreach, and support in obtaining grants, with a commitment to investing $5 million to facilitate operations and grant-making.
The strategy includes an initial funding of $1.5 million, rising to $3 million, empowering the Office to make grants to nonprofits up to $3.5 million. The funds will address diverse needs, including affordable housing, hate crime prevention, maternal mortality, mental health care access, neighborhood safety, and increased affordability of college education.
Pastor Caura N. Washington, the newly appointed head of the Office, brings experience as the former Assistant Pastor at the New Mount Zion Baptist Church in Harlem. The Executive Committee, diverse and experienced, includes leaders such as Secretary Robert Rodriguez, Reverend A.R. Bernard, Rabbi Deborah Bravo, and others, all poised to address community challenges collaboratively.
In summary, the inauguration of the Office of Faith and Non-Profit Development Services reflects a proactive approach by Governor Hochul to harness the collective strength of faith communities in addressing the diverse and pressing needs of New Yorkers.