President Barack Obama welcomed The Salvation Army’s national leaders to the White House for a brief visit on August 5.
Commissioners David and Barbara Jeffrey and Lt. Colonels Ron and Carol Busroe met with President Obama on a number of issues relating to the Army’s role as a faith-based organization working with the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Under the Domestic Policy Council, this office works to build bridges between the federal government and non-profit organizations to more effectively serve Americans in need.
Prior to meeting with Mr. Obama, the Jeffreys and Busroes spoke with Melissa Rogers, Executive Director of the White House Faith-Based Initiative, and Paulette Aniskoff, Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office for Public Engagements. The preliminary meeting with Rogers and Aniskoff focused on the following: “Pathway of Hope,” the Army’s national initiative to break the cycle of inter-generational poverty; Addiction & Recovery, including Adult Rehabilitation Centers, corps rehabilitation centers, and Harbor Lights; and youth programs such as the Kroc Centers, youth clubs and educational and character-building programs. Also on the agenda were disaster preparedness, religious exemptions and charitable deductions. The session with senior White House officials sought to discern how the Obama Administration’s priorities intersect with The Salvation Army’s mission and ministry.
“The Salvation Army has been committed to solving issues that mirror the President’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative,” Commissioner David Jeffrey said. Through this initiative, the Administration partners with cities, businesses and foundations to assist young people of color with mentoring, support networks and the skills they need to find a good job or attend college, and then work their way into the middle class.
The four officials told President Obama that The Salvation Army values its partnership with Domestic Policy Council priorities—a coalition that is independent of the federal government.
The president thanked The Salvation Army for its “untiring efforts” to serve the public during times of both national and personal disaster.
Commissioner David Jeffrey asked President Obama to protect charitable tax deductions and to enhance Salvation Army visibility before the American public. He ended the meeting with a prayer for the president’s leadership as well as for his family (see prayer below).
“The Salvation Army has been serving the American public since 1880 through programs like Pathway Of Hope and My Brother’s Keeper,” said Lt. Colonel Carol Busroe, the Army’s National Director for White House Relations.”This is nothing new to us; we’ve been at it for a very long time.”
By Major Frank Duracher