Strengthening Efforts to Increase Opportunity and End Poverty

In 2008, then-Senator Obama spoke about the importance of working with faith and community leaders to tackle our nation’s greatest challenges. He promised that his Administration would establish an Advisory Council for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, a body that would “not just be another name on the White House organization chart” but rather “a critical part of [his] Administration.” In February 2009, President Obama established the first-ever council of faith and community leaders to advise the federal government on ways that we can better work together to serve the common good.

Today, the third and final Advisory Council of the Obama Administration submitted its report of recommendations, titled Strengthening Efforts to Increase Opportunity and End Poverty. The charge for this Council focused on steps the government should take to reduce poverty and inequality and to create opportunity for all. 

The report draws on the collective experience and expertise of the diverse members of the Advisory Council. At the outset of the report, the Council outlines its approach to these issues, saying “poverty and inequality are not abstract problems.” Rather, Council members note, “as leaders who are called to serve families in struggling communities, we see poverty in the faces of friends and neighbors – children, grandmothers, uncles, aunts, colleagues and ministry partners.”  As they approached the task of making recommendations, “these are the faces [Council members] kept foremost in [their] minds and hearts.”

The report includes recommendations for increasing economic opportunity; addressing race, justice and poverty; and strengthening government approaches and programs for addressing poverty and inequality. The Advisory Council submitted these recommendations on a rolling basis over the past year. The final report compiles those recommendations, some of which the Administration has already implemented. In their report, Council members have tackled some of the toughest challenges facing our country, and we look forward to continuing to be inspired and informed by their work.

The three Advisory Councils of the Obama Administration have brought together an incredibly diverse group of distinguished leaders, with a total of more than 60 such leaders serving overall.  These Councils have captured some of the stunning diversity of our nation. For example, the Council has included leaders from the African Methodist Episcopal, Bahai, Baptist, Buddhist, Catholic, Evangelical, Hindu, Jewish, Mainline Protestant, Mormon, Muslim, Native American, Orthodox Christian, Pentecostal, and Sikh communities. Working together across diverse beliefs and backgrounds, both religious and non-religious, Council members have found common ground and promoted the common good.

 “Instead of driving us apart,” President Obama has said, “our varied beliefs can bring us together to feed the hungry and comfort the afflicted; to make peace where there is strife and rebuild what has broken; to lift up those who have fallen on hard times.” The members of the Advisory Councils certainly have fulfilled this charge, and we are deeply grateful for their service.

Melissa Rogers serves as Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.


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President Obama Grants Another 98 Commutations in the Month of October

President Obama Grants Another 98 Commutations

Earlier this month, President Obama granted commutation to 102 federal inmates. Today, he granted another 98 commutations, underscoring his commitment to using his clemency authority through the remainder of his time in office. With today’s grants, the President has now commuted the sentences of 872 individuals. In this year alone, the President has commuted the sentences of 688 deserving individuals — more than the previous 11 presidents combined – and the most ever done by a president in a single year.

While there has been much attention paid to the number of commutations issued by the President, at the core, we must remember that there are personal stories behind these numbers. These are individuals — many of whom made mistakes at a young age — who have diligently worked to rehabilitate themselves while incarcerated. Today, 98 recipients will hear the news that the President has found them deserving of a second chance. For the 42 individuals originally sentenced to life imprisonment, today’s news will carry special weight when they learn that they will be able to return to their families and communities. 

The President’s clemency authority is a powerful tool being used to powerful effect, but the individualized nature of the relief granted today also highlights the urgent need for bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation. Only Congress can achieve the broader reforms needed to ensure our federal sentencing system operates more fairly and effectively in the service of public safety.

Learn more about President Obama’s clemency efforts at

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Chart: Here's Where Insured Americans Get Covered and How the Affordable Care Act Impacts Them

Here's where insured Americans get covered

Dig deeper:

Join a call with the President on the Affordable Care Act and learn what you can do ahead of the open enrollment period.

Watch President Obama’s speech in Miami, Florida on our progress since the Affordable Care Act.

Read the transcript of the President’s speech.

Watch behind-the-scenes footage from the day the Affordable Care Act was passed and signed into law.

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Celebrating Our Strides to Create a More Inclusive Federal Workforce

Watch the White House National Disability Employment Awareness Month Event live.

Today, the White House will host its final National Disability Employment Awareness Month event and celebrate the strides we have made to create a more inclusive federal workforce. Ahead of this event, I’m proud to announce important progress toward that effort.

In 2010, President Obama challenged the federal government to hire 100,000 people with disabilities within five years. Not only did we reach the goal between 2011 and 2015, we surpassed it. Since then, the federal government has hired more than 154,000 permanent and temporary employees with disabilities, and more than 109,000 of whom are permanent hires.

Thanks to the dedicated efforts of leadership, managers, and staff in agencies big and small to commit to inclusive recruitment, hiring, and retention practices, there are now more people with disabilities in the federal workforce than at any time in the past 35 years. This shows what government can do when agencies come together to make sure that everyone in our country has a fair shot — not only to achieve their dreams, but to serve the country we all love.

Everyone benefits when our government reflects the full talents and diversity of the American people, so the fulfillment of the President’s goals marks an important step forward.

With that said, it is just one step toward creating a truly inclusive workforce that represents the American people.

We must all continue to work together — the federal government, and state and local governments, together with the private and not for profit sectors — to ensure that the only limits to people’s success are the limits they place on themselves — not an inaccessible job posting, discriminatory hiring practices, or a lack of workplace accommodations. We have a lot more work to do, so I challenge you to take a fresh look at all of your workplace’s practices and procedures and make sure they are inclusive of working families, people with criminal records who have earned second chances, and others who experience barriers to employment.

The kind of progress we want to see starts with us.

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Schweizer: Obama’s DOJ ‘Transferring Money to Left-wing Groups’ ‘to Influence This Election’

On Wednesday’s edition of Breitbart News Daily on SiriusXM, Clinton Cash author and Government Accountability Institute (GAI) President Peter Schweizer discussed the latest GAI report report about the Obama Justice Department’s funneling of money to left-wing groups using fines levied against financial institutions.
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Join a Conversation with the President on the Affordable Care Act

Sign up here to join the call on Thursday, October 27th at 4:30 pm ET with President Obama and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell on the Affordable Care Act, or check back here to listen along to the call.

Join the Call

Affordable Care Act

That’s right — in the more than six years since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, 20 million adults have gained health coverage. Now, for the first time ever, more than 90 percent of Americans have health insurance.

And the Affordable Care Act has improved coverage and lowered costs for the more than 80% of Americans who had insurance before the law was passed.

75% of Americans on the Marketplace get a plan for less than $75 a month


As open enrollment begins on November 1, all of us can help spread the word to friends, family, and loved ones and let them know it’s time to join the millions of Americans getting covered during the next three months.

Here’s a big way you can be a part of it:

Join the call tomorrow at 4:30 pm ET with President Obama and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell on how we can help friends and family get covered in the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Sign up

Or if you can’t make the call, you can also listen in, or listen later, right here. 

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Email from Kevin Durant: How We Can Help Students Succeed Together

Born and raised in Seat Pleasant, Maryland, I grew up in a community with higher rates of poverty and lower graduation rates than most of the state. For me, having the support of my mom was critical, but the support of mentors like the people I met at the local Boys and Girls Club, or people at my community activity center, or my youth basketball coach also helped ensure that I was able to graduate from high school and pursue my dreams.

That’s why I’m proud to be part of the My Brother’s Keeper Success Mentors Initiative, which helps support kids in communities like the one I grew up in. Check out this video to learn more:

The MBK Success Mentor Initiative helps connect caring mentors with students in sixth and ninth grades in high-need school districts across their communities. Our goal is to provide mentors to more than 250,000 students over the next two years and ensure that they have they support need to stay in school and achieve their dreams.

Every kid deserves an opportunity to succeed. Unfortunately, every year, over 6 million children miss at least a month of school, putting them at significant risk of falling behind and not graduating from high school. And one in three kids grow up without a mentor. By supporting My Brother’s Keeper and the Success Mentor Initiative, I’m proud to help change those statistics so that all kids have the support they need to make sure they are in school and can reach their potential.

Together, we can make the difference. Here’s how you can join in: Head to and be your brother’s and sister’s keeper starting today.



Kevin Durant

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