President Obama asked the Council to focus on making recommendation in six priority areas: Economic recovery and domestic poverty; environment and climate change; fatherhood and healthy families; global poverty and development; interreligious cooperation; and reform of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (White House 2010d, V) The inclusion of issues such as environment and climate change, and global poverty and development represented significant expansions beyond the originally stated FBNP policy areas and would be matched in some cases by similar expansiveness in the meaning given to each of these areas by the Council.
They called for the establishment of an Office of FBNP at the EPA headquarters and in its regional offices.
The discussion from this taskforce indicates a new presence of international NGOs "at the table" of the Obama FBNP, and suggests that it is a bold, and assertive presence (White House 2010d, 95-102).
In regard to the office that is at the center of the FBNP, President Obama directed the Council to make recommendations for: "improving the operations of the WHOFBNP and agency centers; strengthening the social service partnerships that government forms with nongovernmental providers; and strengthening the constitutional and legal footing of these partnerships" (White House 2010d, 119).
These two recommendations suggest that the Obama FBNP is likely to benefit from recognizing deficiencies in the implementation of the Bush FBCI, and is poised to move beyond the FBCI focus on "raising up the armies" of small, FBCOs (White House 2010d, 117-152).
The taskforce also called for a more deliberate strategy to incorporate the activities of state, county, and city officials in the FBNP. This concern reflected what was a persistent problem for the FBCI.
Although the Obama FBNP derived from the same executive order anchors, it promises to be a very different policy initiative than the Bush FBCI.
Like the FBCI, the FBNP involves stakeholders in defining the focus and content of this policy initiative.
In the long run, both the Bush FBCI and the Obama FBNP will likely be seen as groundbreaking policy developments.
President Obama seemed poised to make a very different set of choices with the FBNP in his efforts to engage the faith community in partnerships with government.