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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 1, 2004

Event Backgrounder: Roundtable and Remarks at the 1st White House National Conference on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
Washington Hilton Hotel


In 2001, the President launched the Faith-Based and Community Initiative to level the playing field for faith-based and community organizations providing social services. The 1st National Conference highlights the progress of his Initiative and focuses on key programs created by the Administration to harness the resources and experience of faith-based and community groups.

Prior to his remarks, the President met with four individuals whose lives have been changed by their involvement with faith-based and community organizations, and eight individuals who have dedicated their lives to helping others. In his remarks, the President announced additional regulatory changes that further implement his "equal treatment" principles and permit faith-based and community charities to compete on a level playing field for Federal funds.

Today's conference follows twelve White House Regional Conferences on the Faith-Based and Community Initiative that have taken place so far.


Veronica Braewell, Catholic Social Agency (Allentown, Pennsylvania)
Veronica was born in Liberia in July 1983. In 1996, rebel militiamen surrounded her school and opened fire on the building. Veronica's flight from the rebels exhausted her, and she finally collapsed and was left for dead. Veronica's grandmother rescued her and nursed her back to life. Reunited with her father, younger brother, and sister, Veronica and her family fled the violence to Ghana, where they lived for several years until they were interviewed for refugee resettlement by U.S. immigration officials. Veronica, her father, brother, and sister arrived in the U.S. in August 2003. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) provided Veronica and her family financial assistance, helped them find a place to live, and enrolled the children in school. On May 5, Veronica completed her studies at the Bethlehem Area Vocational and Technical School. She is now working on obtaining certification as a nursing assistant and expects to work at a local nursing facility for the elderly in Allentown.

Elijah Anyieth, Commonwealth Catholic Charities (Richmond, Virginia)
Elijah was born in 1983 in a rural village in Sudan. When his family's village was bombed, Elijah fled on foot to Ethiopia, where he lived for about two years until the refugees were forced back to Sudan. The continuing conflict, which took the lives of Elijah's parents, caused him to flee again at the age of 10, this time to Kenya. Elijah lived there for seven years before settling in the U.S. under the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors program. Elijah arrived in Richmond, Virginia, in November 2000. After two-and-a-half years in high school, Elijah graduated with honors. He now attends the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Engineering.

Derrill Frazier, U.S. Dream Academy, Inc. (East Baltimore, Maryland)
Derrill Frazier, age 12, is a sixth grader at Collington Square School in East Baltimore, and a member of the Dream Team, a mentoring and academic program of the U.S. Dream Academy. Since Derrill started with the Dream Academy, he has blossomed socially and academically. He has been matched with his mentor, Nate, for a year and a half. Nate has been a steady influence in Derrill's life. Derrill wants to be a lawyer or judge one day.

Brad Lassiter, Gospel Rescue Mission (Washington, D.C.)
Brad Lassiter came to the Gospel Rescue Ministries (GRM) in 1997. Having been homeless, on drugs, undereducated, and recently shot in the mouth, he was in need of transforming life services. Brad applied for employment at the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank under the partnership program between the World Bank and GRM. He was hired, and he has worked there for almost six years, now holding a permanent position.

Mark Franken, Executive Director, Migration and Refugee Services, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Washington, D.C.)
Mark became executive director of Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) of USCCB in 1998. Prior to this assignment, he was the director of MRS' Refugee Programs office. His work with refugees began in 1975, when Mark facilitated the release from refugee camps of former Vietnamese staff members who worked with him when he was in the U.S. Navy. He then volunteered with Catholic Charities of Columbus, Ohio, to assist newly arriving refugees in their resettlement. Mark received his undergraduate degree from Louis University.

Wintley Phipps, Founder, President and CEO, U.S. Dream Academy, Inc. (Columbia, Maryland)
Wintley Phipps is the founder, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Dream Academy, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing an on-line tutorial and remedial education program targeted to at-risk children and youth through community Family Learning Centers. Phipps is also a world-renowned speaker and vocal artist.

Archbishop Harry Flynn, Archdiocese of Minneapolis (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Archbishop Harry J. Flynn has served as head of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, since October 1995. Archbishop Flynn is a member of the USCCB Committee for Black Catholics; the USCCB Committee on Sexual Abuse; and the USCCB Committee on the Charismatic Renewal.

Bishop Donald Wuerl, Diocese of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Bishop Donald W. Wuerl was installed as the 11th bishop of Pittsburgh on February 12, 1988. He is spiritual leader of some 800,000 Catholics in 215 parishes throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. In addition to his responsibilities as shepherd of the Catholic Church for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Bishop Wuerl is involved in a wide range of community, ecumenical, and interfaith activities.

Dr. Tony Evans, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, (Dallas, Texas)
Dr. Tony Evans serves as Senior Pastor to the over 6,000 member Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Church in Dallas, Texas. He is also founder and president of The Urban Alternative, a national organization that seeks to bring about spiritual renewal in urban America through the church. The Urban Alternative radio broadcast, "The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans," can be heard on over 500 stations daily throughout the U.S. and in over 40 countries worldwide.

Rick Warren, Pastor, Saddleback Church, (Lake Forest, California)
Dr. Rick Warren and his wife, Kay, founded the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, with one other family in 1980. Today, the church averages a weekend attendance of over 20,000 on its 120-acre campus and has become one of America's best-known churches. Dr. Warren is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life, which sold a record-breaking 17-million copies in its first 19 months.

Reverend Cheryl Anthony Mobley, Founder and CEO, Judah International, (Brooklyn, New York)
Reverend Cheryl Anthony Mobley is the founder and CEO of JUDAH International Christian Center, Inc. (JUDAH), in Brooklyn, New York. Dr. Anthony is the first woman elected chair of the Central Brooklyn Churches, Inc., Clergy Caucus, and is the creative and driving force behind the "Wholistic Approach to Community Wellness Program," which assists religious leaders, government representatives, and community stakeholders grappling with social challenges.

Reverend Jim Sprouse, Pastor, Trinity United Methodist Church, (McLean, Virginia)
Reverend Jim Sprouse serves as Pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in McLean, Virginia. Prior to joining Trinity, he served as Pastor of the ecumenical Reston United Christian Parish. Reverend Sprouse has also served as Vice Chair of the Virginia Board of Ordained Ministry and as the chaplain for the Fairfax County and the Henrico County Police Departments. He also spent several years teaching at the Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia.


Tonja Myles, Founder and Director, Set Free Indeed (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
Tonja Myles directs Set Free Indeed in Baton Rouge, a faith-based substance abuse program that the President mentioned in his 2003 State of the Union Address.

Lisa Thorpe-Vaughn, Executive Director, Amachi Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Lisa Thorpe-Vaughn is the Director of Amachi Pittsburgh, an initiative of the Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation (PLF) in partnership with other local non-profits, churches, and agencies, which matches mentors from local congregations with children of incarcerated parents. Before coming to PLF, Lisa was a Program Manager for The Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania, where she developed the Church Based Mentoring Network (CBMN), a volunteer organization with over 50 local churches actively involved in mentoring.

William Rapfogel, Executive Director, Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (New York, New York)
William Rapfogel has been Executive Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty since 1992. One of New York City's largest non-profits, Met Council provides home care, housing, employment, crisis intervention, and other social and community services. Met Council also coordinates a network of 25 local Jewish Community Councils and 30 other national and local organizations committed to helping the needy.

Julio Medina, Founder and Executive Director, Exodus Transitional Community (New York, New York)
Julio Medina was arrested as a teenager for selling drugs, leading to a 12-year prison sentence. In September 1996, he was released from prison and began work as a counselor with substance addicted and HIV/AIDS-affected individuals. In 1999, Mr. Medina obtained funding to form the Exodus Transitional Community (ETC), a safe haven where ex-offenders seek help and support. ETC seeks to address the needs of men and women reintegrating into society from prison. ETC has already assisted over 1,200 released men and women in transition.

Dr. Wilson Goode, Director, National Amachi Program (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Mayor Goode was elected Mayor of Philadelphia in 1983, becoming the first African-American to serve in that capacity. He served two terms as Mayor, leaving office in 1992. He is the Senior Advisor on Faith Based Initiatives at Public/Private Ventures.

Rabbi Mark Borovitz, Beit T'Shuvah (Culver City, California)
Rabbi Mark Borovitz serves as Beit T'Shuvah's Rabbi, teaching daily Torah lessons and working with addicts on their journey to recovery. When Rabbi Borovitz was 36, he was in prison for the second time. While Borovotz was serving his sentence, the prison Rabbi helped him reconnect with his faith. Rabbi Borovitz, who has been out of prison for over15 years, works with individuals who would benefit from the President's Access to Recovery initiative.

Harriet Rossetto, CEO/President, Beit T'Shuvah (Culver City, California)
Harriet Rossetto is the CEO/President of Beit T'Shuvah, a Jewish recovery program. Harriet works with men and women suffering from various addictions.

Jim Palmer, President, Orange County Rescue Mission, (Santa Ana, California)
Jim Palmer has served as President of the Orange County Rescue Mission since September 1992. Under Palmer's direction, the Mission received the 211th Presidential Point of Light for program excellence and cost effectiveness for services rendered on behalf of the homeless in Orange County. Palmer also successfully orchestrated the development, construction, and opening of the House of Hope for homeless women and their children in May 1994.

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