EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator Faith-Based Workshop March 17 2021
Alright, in the interest of time, I think it's time to get started. So, welcome to the American Heart Association empowered to serve business accelerator faith based workshop. My name is Diego Ortiz, and on behalf of the American Heart Association. I'd like to thank everyone for joining today's webinar. Because we are on zoom, we want to remind everyone to please make sure that you take a look at the chat box. Throughout the presentation, we will be sharing useful links, including the first link that we're going to share, which is a survey to help us at the American Heart Association, understand how we can better work with you. And we also want to encourage people if you do have questions, please type them into the chat box, and we will do our very best to answer those questions either today during the workshop or as we continue to move forward with the accelerator.
Alrighty, and now I want to turn things over to Pamela Garmon Johnson national vice president of health equity and National Partnerships for the Office of Health Equity at the American Heart Association, who will serve as today's moderator, Pamela, welcome. Well thank you so much Diego for that wonderful introduction. And good morning to everyone. On behalf of the American Heart Association, I am excited that you have joined us today to talk about the faith based accelerator. And on top of that, I am joined by two dynamic individuals who will share their experience in leading faith based organizations, and how we have been able to make an impact from connecting community to the faith based institution and making an impact from a business perspective.
Again we are so grateful that you are here, we are living in an unprecedented time where the coronavirus is impacting everyone, regardless of race, religion, age or gender, we want to use sure you that the American Heart Association is dedicated to the health and well being of all individuals and their families, and every community everywhere, not just today, but going forward into our future, and whatever lies ahead. Now more than ever, people are turning to places of worship for help. And for hope. Our mission as an organization is to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives is more important than ever, and the American Heart Association remains deeply committed to equity, and specifically health equity, as evidenced by our 2024 goal, which reads, and let's listen to these words. Every person deserves the opportunity for a full healthy life as champions for health equity by 2024, the American Heart Association will advance cardiovascular health for all, including identified, removing barriers to healthcare access and quality.
Now that is a bold statement, if you really think about it, because we're talking about equity, we're talking about impacting everyone. And not only have we set this goal, but we have made 10 commitments to remove barriers to help you hear me, 10 commitments which again is impressive. So not only are we making a bold statement, but we are also putting specificity and intentionality around what that statement actually means. So number one, we are investing in community led solutions to address health and equity as structural racism. And as you may or may not know that the AHA has declared structural racism as a risk factor for cardiovascular health. Again, not only making a statement, but making a commitment around how we will execute against our goal. Number two, launching in partnership with the US Department of Health and Human Services, which is HHS, there is 120 $1 million nationwide hypertension initiative to address a main source of for cardiovascular health and black, Hispanic, and indigenous communities funded by the federal government. Again, a bold initiative, and I actually had the pleasure to serve as the National Executive Director of
that particular initiative. Number three, leveraging our advocacy science and news media enterprises against companies targeting individuals in disadvantaged communities with unhealthy products, including sugary beverages, and tobacco products, including e cigarettes. With addicting flavors and menthol. And so if you think about just those three commitments, they really amplifies the fact that not only have we made this an important goal towards 2024. But we have made these 10 commitments and we highlighted three of them for you today just to show that we are not only talking about it but we are going to be about it so empowered to serve.
I know many of you may be familiar with this particular platform for the American Heart Association, but this platform was actually inspired by you, our volunteers around the country who were really passionate about driving change through health justice and empowerment of their own communities. I know many times I have sat down with community organizations and volunteers and their biggest feedback has always been as community leaders, and as members of communities, we have the solutions to our issues. What we need is the investment in support. And being able to deploy those particular solutions. So, today, you'll have the opportunity to hear from two leaders in the faith based community during our panel discussion, and you'll learn more about the American Heart Association's Empowered to Serve Faith-Based Accelerator I'm so excited. This is the first one of its time. And it is a grant funding initiative for faith institutions and leaders to scale their business models aimed at addressing the social determinants of health in their communities. So during our time together, we want to ask questions of our speakers, and you can actually ask questions by dropping questions in the chat box.
We love to be engaged so please utilize the chat box and type in your question in the zoom chat box and we'll address the questions during the Q&A section of the panel, and I am so honored again to be joined by two incredible faith based leaders today. And we are so proud to call them American Heart Association volunteers and partners. Today we have Reverend Leroy Miles Jr. From Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church and Philadelphia, PA, and then also Bishop Dr. Abraham Shanklin from the Center of Transformation in Hanover, Maryland. Gentlemen welcome welcome welcome.
We are going to start with introductions. First, Reverend miles, will you please introduce yourself and what your, what your position is at Enon. Sure. So thank you, of course for having me. We're super excited to be here. I bring you greetings from Philadelphia. A Tale of Two Cities. There's Philadelphia and there's Philly. And we live in a connection between the two How about that. So yes i serves the associate pastor of pastoral care and counseling at a Enon tabernacle Baptist Church where our senior pastors Reverend Dr. Alan Waller, and I've been served in that position I think, time flies 12-13 years in different capacities, but I'm super excited to talk about the health initiatives that we are offering the experiences that we've had over the year. And I'm also a board member, so I've been a board member here in Philly Philadelphia, excuse me, I have a tie on so Philadelphia, two and a half years and it's been a wonderful relationship. So again, excited to be here. Thank you.
Thank you so much, and Dr. Bishop Shanklin. Well, good morning to you and to all of the members of the staff of the American Heart Association, and to all of those who are logging on today to get connected to what I believe is that continual work of the American Heart Association to reach out to the community and establish great bridges and connections. For all of us who are doing this work. I am Bishop Dr. Abraham Shanklin Jr.
The founder and executive director of the Center of Transformation in Hanover, Maryland. It is located. 20 minutes south of Baltimore 30 minutes north of washington dc 20 minutes south of Annapolis with four minutes outside of the Thurgood Marshall, Baltimore Washington International Airport, and I reside in the fourth wealthiest county in the state of Maryland we have faith last census population count of 564,000 residents and our major employer is Fort Meade, which is about 10 minutes outside of us. So we're very excited about the work that we are doing in this community and the partnerships that we have with AHA and others, and very excited about being on this panel this morning, and having the opportunity to share with so many just ways that we can continue to do the community drive that we're also passionate about. Thank you.
Oh, thank you so much. Well you know what I'd like to do is just level set, and really talk about why the faith community is so critical in transforming and addressing the social determinants of health. And what do you know, as a part of the faith community that others do not. And we'll just start with Bishop Shanklin if you would weigh in on those two questions. Great question, I would, you know, in terms of addressing social determinants and and coupled with what we know in our community that others may not know, one of my favorite ideas surrounding that is that faith based organizations churches houses of worship and other nonprofits and such. I literally when I believe the boots on the ground and the community. We literally walk the blocks we walk the streets we want the neighborhoods, we walk the communities inch by inch, We know our community inside out, and and we're there, personally, because of our passion, and I wanted to make it clear that when we have our connections in the community. We want first hand knowledge of what's going on, what, what are the determinants what are what are the stumbling blocks, what are the hindrances, we want to. So essentially we don't get a hearsay knowledge, we have a no say knowledge. I know personally, what's going on in our communities in our neighborhoods, because we're there. And I think that that is the most critical in terms of really happen, the tremendous impact that that we want to have so it's not a hearsay it's a note saying that that that is our mantra, in terms of connecting with our communities face to face interaction with people on a regular basis.
I love that, I love that so much, and of course the boots on the ground. And I think that there's so many similarities about what that looks like and how even the AHA operates as a volunteer organization. So just think about the power that we can harness by really being community centered Thank you so much, Reverend miles. I think the word that comes to mind is of course we're engaged.
But there are three words that I think will be woven into our conversation throughout the day. And for us this the trust, and the dignity that we bring. And because of those two things we have access to the people and the people have access to us. For us, being at big at the table is significantly important to be a voice significantly important. And the third word is being prophetic. And it's not determined and which we often use it, I can't predict what you know what tomorrow is going to bring them up in that respect a profit.
But when we're talking about being prophetic we speak truth to power. And we're power is clueless. We get to offer a more excellent way. An example of that is, we were at a board meeting, talking about vaccinations and that sort of a thing and it kind of came up that, again, it seems to be that the black and brown community is reluctant to get the vaccine.
So, sir. I know you're a physician I know you've seen patients all day. But that's not the conversation that we're having the conversation that we're having is no it's not about that we're reluctant you gave us the information we distill the information we made a decision now we are ready, don't rush us. We're now ready and now that we're ready now the issue was around access. And because we trust they trust us. And now, you trust us those types of relationships can be birthed. And out of that. Dignity can flourish. So we're boots on the ground Bishop I agree 110.
And we're to speak truth to power, and then also we're powers clueless we give them options. And I think, Pamela you mentioned as well we have the answers we know what we need. We just need the connectivity to bring it to fruition and so relationships, like that with american heart association have been fruitful in that vein. Oh, thank you so much and I love both of your responses. And just to bring that through trust, dignity, respect, and then the ability to take what is being presented to us to be able to do our own research and then be able to make a decision. That's what we do in any type of business decision we just don't say oh yes or no, we take the time and I think that if I think about what others may not know the process that we all go through allow us to have that exact same type of process, thank you both for those responses. So Reverend Miles. You know I've actually had the privilege of attending both of your churches, so I will say that.
And I've heard great things about both, but then because I have attended I have seen firsthand the incredible work that is being done at both institutions, and so Reverend Miles, I would love for you to talk about some of the key initiatives that are going on. And, and how you are working to transform communities. Well thank you for visiting and sharing with us a man it's also very fortunate at the root of what we are and who we are is worship. Absolutely and the transformation happens in the worship. But if you're asking me about community involvement and organizations that we partnered with. I think one of the more salient discussions around social justice is birthed out of two programs that we have engaged in one is a safe, called safe return it is a national program doesn't happen often it's kind of went away. But the safe return program is where persons who have parole violations and outstanding warrants come to a place, and they can have their records expunged. The program is only as good as the partnerships. So we work with the City Philadelphia, the courts Probation Department, even the sheriff's department. And going back to that trust and we work with the streets. So we set up this wonderful program but of course the streets are reluctant because they are thinking now this is this will be one of those where you're going to grab this up once we show up.
And so, we assured them that that would not happen. And of course the street send a few scouts. The day one is a three day program. And every time somebody walked out numbers came. So the safe return was something again going back to the dignity we promised no perp walks we've promised that if you come and you turn yourself in that you will be treated fairly and your record will be expunged.
It happened, wonderful experience. The other program, and that's something that's happening now is working with uplift solutions we appreciate uplift solutions. Uplift provides leadership there, and it's a, it's for returning citizens is a program that has been extremely successful over the years has 100% job placement for those returning citizens and also works for persons on on work release we work with the local prisons to have that happen. But again, it's a program where men and women come. And it's not just black and brown people but primarily black and brown folks who are participating in the program, but they come as a six week program in two parts the first week is dealing with the head stuff and the hard stuff around.
Good this positive decision making, right choices in life, addressing those aspects of the, of the person. And then the second half is the church is set up as a grocery store. So there's a checkout counter and there's a shelves that are stopped in person that he know what a barista was until they came on board but persons are learning so they're, they're getting these valuable skills that are transferable and they're being employed. So those two programs aloneness at two programs that we're extremely excited about. And it is based on trust.
It's at the church so we're treating the participants with the utmost dignity and respect. And here again this is something that were as a church, it would not have happened without the necessary relationships. So, thank you. Thank you so much. I'm Bishop Shanklin. Would you like to weigh in on that question please. I would like to talk a little bit about the, the center of transformation. The center of transformation is the parent organization to the new life fellowship international ministries. The new life childcare and academy. The new momentum health and wellness and the new image Development Corporation and Amanda and I want to talk to the pastors who, who, so graciously let their time to connect with this, this virtual program, or I'm so proud of the American Heart Association for putting together.
I learned quickly that a ministry cannot just simply thrive on the tithes and offerings that are collected every week into the churches. And if you're a pastor, that's on this afternoon, you can just simply chat a man, because you know exactly what I'm talking about. The difficulty of, you know, you could set the budget you can make the budget to fulfill vision to do community connections with is always a challenge because tithes and offerings are not there, they're not a consistent, they're not a consistent resource. So the center transformation was birth to develop multiple income generation. Things to fund ministry to fund a vision to expand our community impact our community reach it because if we just we just look at what's coming in eternally then essentially your vision and your your your ideas, you know, Enon has been successful because they've learned to go outside of the collection plate on Sunday. And that's what the center of transformation which represents real change relevant solutions. We have to look at how do we go outside the collection plate to continually perpetuate our impact in the community without always having our palms up trying to be the community.
And so one of the initiatives that that we started was really targeting the support of businesses. And in order to support businesses when I started doing is I started creating and cultivate an atmosphere of business friendly talk in our in our congregation, then our organization here speaking about the value of supporting businesses local business owners, and then transitioning from there to not only just supporting local business owners that start right outside my backyard. But also, tapping into providing them with support as they continue to get everybody knows the value of small business and how many people are employed.
How many young people within our congregations, all across the country who get their first start in a business somewhere learning some of the soft skills that they need, learning some of the polished presentations, they need to make when they're in face to face contact with people. And so we started, things like creating business incubators we started developing entrepreneur support networks and creating a virtual round table specially since the pandemic came upon us. We started developing brown, brown bag lunch symposiums where we brought in key business leaders from around the area who came in and spoke to burgeoning and neophyte businesses with how to put things in place, how to how to launch a business. We've had connectivity where we were training people how to connect with government to get rewarded government contracts, whether it's federal, state, or local government teach and how to get your MBE to be certified as an MBE and the county, trying to connect with black, brown and beige people to have the idea of how to be self sustaining and self supporting. So, we hosted business relationships we had faith based organizations who who understood that you know at the end of the day if we're going to can have impact in our community. We have to find ways to fund that vision to fund that idea to fund that and so we just begin to build those relationships, we build those relationships with business leaders, cultivated a business atmosphere, and then started planning the idea of what kind of businesses that we wanted to be in partnership businesses that we want to launch businesses that we want to be involved in that never compromise our values here in our organization, but the same time allowed us to continue to be strategic and reaching our community and so that's what this so the one of the foundational pieces of the inner transformation is pro business and every way. And it has allowed us really to reproduce and and to really impact and I can't tell you the number of young people who've been stirred to business ideas.
Everything from and how many businesses we've helped to launch from someone who's doing t shirt business I even have, you know, these bracelets on from someone who just launched a business idea and we nurtured that gave them a vision help them write a script, and you just be amazed that when you see value in people. It affirms the value that's in you so that's a part of what this inner transformation has been doing. Oh, thank you both for those examples and, you know, I were, I remember when we first launched our accelerator. And, you know, I will say there was like a wire, why would we do that, why would we you know spur innovation with social entrepreneurs. I was like, but that's how we invest in. We provide capital to those that normally don't get capital, and that is how we show value it is how we show dignity and respect, and it's how we uplift community centered solutions. And I'm going to throw out one. I just recently read this and it has to do with African American owned businesses that if most African American owned businesses are. Their sole proprietorship, right, they only employ just themselves, but if every black owned business for to employ one person, we would eradicate unemployment for African Americans, and I recently just read that and so when I think about that, even if it's not at 100%, but the notion of moving from just being able to employ one person to move forward. A vision around, being able to impact the community.
So we're going to move on and you've touched on this a little bit. So, you know, our lives have changed, and for some they may think that we're going to go back to exactly how we were before Kobe at 19. And I think most of us, most of us recognize that that's not going to happen. And so we've all had to evolve during this time, we've gotten savvier being online, even. And I don't want to speak about your membership but I've watched it with the older population that may not be as digitally savvy, they've learned how to get online. And so what does that mean, not only does, what does it mean for your congregation. But what are you going to continue to evolve as a result of changing during covert 19 and rubber miles. If you'd like to start.
Yeah, it's about adaptation for sure. For sure. A lot of the health initiatives that we have had. We've had to pivot that's the word right everyone's using that term pivot and so on years past as a matter of fact right around this time last year right before the country shut down. We were going to have our 10th annual know your numbers event where we bring approximately 1000 men to the church to get metabolic screenings, etc.
heartbroken, it did not happen in 2020, but I'm proud to say, and this was just actually featured in the AP wire on yesterday that we reintroduced or relaunched the know your numbers outside. And so we, the weather just happen to be nice enough in Philadelphia, and again for partnerships in this particular instance with Einstein, as well as the American Heart Association, our local our nurses ministry. We set up in our parking lot and persons drove through they were able to receive a take home colon screening kit. Kind of honor of chat with both we we figured hey if Black Panther can get it can can can get can get a colon cancer, we don't have a shot, and so we had to bring that back. So people would drive through a gauntlet pick up their kit. HIV screenings.
We were doing a cognitive health screening on this following week because we don't exact same event it's just two weeks, we thought we missed some folks on this past Saturday so have a two Saturdays in a row. Keep driving through and all this, you're not getting out your car. So you keep driving and you come around the corner I nurses ministry that they are doing a blood pressure checks, and that's through a self monitoring machine, and that was as part of a donation from the Heart Association. So that's been a wonderful experience if you test high, you actually get to take a machine home for a month, it's a kind of a loaner program pretty awesome glucose, as well as cholesterol, keep coming around the parking lot, you're still in your car driving, and we were doing covert screenings.
It's a significant pivot. A significant event in such a time as this. So as a church where we're not necessarily, we're not open we haven't reopened and we won't necessarily open anytime soon. And so this is an example of the church, taking the risk being relentless being willing to fail and that's something that we've always said we're willing to take the risk. and even if we fail, we are where we learn something in the endeavor. So we do have a vaccine clinic that happens on Tuesdays and we can talk more about that. I guess a little later. But that's just an example of in these difficult times, we were clear the data show that many persons because they did not receive their regular,
or the annual screenings, we're going to experience more of whatever. And so we again talking with the powers that be, and they could not figure it out, we said well we know how to bring a crowd. We can provide our space you provide human resource in one aspect will provide a human resource and other aspects. It was a wonderful day it happened if you're in Philadelphia area.
Please come this Saturday, between nine and 1211 tabernacle Baptist Church 2800 West Cheltenham Avenue in the Mount Airy section of the city. Thank you. Well, first of all, congratulations, right, is absolutely amazing. And as I'm reading the chat. And I know we will answer q&a later, I want to just acknowledge a few things, and one is that these solutions are race agnostic. So it has nothing to do with the race, it has to do with these are models that can work in the community, and that's why we're here today. So we're hearing about best demonstrated practices and models and how we can amplify those across various communities. And so I think that I'm learning a lot I'm taking copious notes as I'm working on these other projects and thinking about how do we incorporate this, how do we ensure that we elevate up these models and other forms. And I know that we're representing the eastern region of the AJ, but what we're discussing today, not only his race agnostic, but it's also location agnostic.
The only other thing that I wanted to touch on and is a part of this conversation is covert 19, in and of itself, and this Shanklin, I know that you have been working in this area and I know that you all have evolved and so I would love to hear your feedback. Around this question and then also touch on COVID19. Thank you. Thank you. And Pamela that was just that was well said. The one thing that we want to make sure that all the participants, gather as all of you know, you're very because you're all our heroes and your own perspective, areas of the assignments that you have the passion that you have. So all these ideas or, you know, they serve just as starting blocks, myself and pass the miles. We're not presenting ourselves as this is though we have the corner block or what may success.
Success is what each of you are able to take hold of. And then to translate that into what's most effective to accomplish the passion that you have specially with respect to the community COVID did come in, and that I believe if, if, if the date serves right we were literally celebrate, you know, commemorating the year when the nation went into lockdown, which caused a shift in houses of worship, all across the country and literally all around the world. I will say this though, that which is key. Our message, never change. Although I methods do which that that's par for us, houses of worship know how to adapt their methods, this what is what pastor mild sit with Ian on did what a lot of you who are on, you know how to adopt your methods so that's, that's why we survive. That's why we're able to survive. When things like a global pandemic. You know, lands in our lap uninvited we our customers houses warships, how to navigate our methods are message remain We are customers houses warships, how to navigate our methods, our message remain the same. It's just our methods so what's the one thing that COVID gave us covert produce isolation so the similar transformations desire was to counter that isolation. And so we we got together with our team decide how do we counter.
One of the main things aside from what COVID provided health wise. It brought with it isolation. So we wanted to find out how to counter isolation, because even when we went virtual virtual still is a sense of really listened and a great sense why we are together virtually we still are isolated. So, how do we continue to impact our community and overcome isolation that was produced by COVID and so the big thing for us was to ramp up our partnerships. That was the biggest thing I know that it sounds cliche. I know it sounds old news. I know it sounds like I've heard it all before, but you cannot underestimate the power of partnerships. It is the best way to counter isolation, we thought Martin Luther King made it clear that no man is an island, we are, we are more interdependent than we are independent you've relied on so many people from the time you got up out of the bed this morning to when you arrive to get onto the zoom because every product, and every service was developed created produced by somebody else. And so partnership became the major initiative for us, we already had partnerships at work, we were already in partnership with the American Heart Association. We just thought about because they any of the new partnership that we can connect with that would have probably struggled being hit by COVID so that essentially we can we can gel together, our ideas are like passion
resources. And so what I found that was helpful for us to this is more churches got connected than ever before. I formed major partnerships with churches that maybe we would have never partnered together prior to the COVID, so it's not we know each other we know each other's mission now we get together on zoom to find encouragement for each other. So it's an amazing, amazing partnerships in my area like Kingdom care. Fresh Start apostle Palmer and pastor Barbara Palmer and the apostle career coaches, those partnerships, they were tighten and strengthened. And then we got connected with our local organizations. That's why we were able to feed 1200 people per week and continue to do that, having distributed over 50,000 pounds of food because of local partnerships, county, partnerships and, and, and just literally just finding those organizations that we can tap and connect to that extends the life, and the the the firm, the valid contributions that we are adding to the community. And so I cannot I cannot overemphasize that during COVID, one of the things that it just pushed us more into his partnerships champion
partnerships. Everywhere you go, don't, don't dismiss somebody because they may not look like you I'd like but some of our Hispanic folks are on we, this is a black and brown and beige, collaboration, this is a black and brown and beige commitment. We all come in those various shades and so partnerships for us doing this this COVID became be literally partnership became a ministry. If I could write a book on collaboration and partnerships, that's what I write a book on. That's how you navigate through a global crisis. Oh, thank you so much, and I just want to hone in on what both of you said partnerships. I love partnerships, is a part of my title, I love partnerships for all the reasons you both stated, and I'm also going to say that powerful partnerships, meeting people where they are in speaking with a trustworthy voice are three of the hh guiding values. So if you think about our 10 commitments, our commitment to health equity. This shore is up, making sure that we holding ourselves accountable, so that we can make an impact. And I know we have such a great conversation going and I have been told, we're about five minutes over time.
So what I am going to do what I am going to do is move us to the last question which you've kind of already spoke to and that is, you know, basically, what advice would you give to other organizations and maybe if you all could do that, like within 60 seconds for each of you, and then we'll transition into Q&A and Bishop Shanklin since you're up on my screen, I'll start with you and then wherever miles will follow right behind him. Thank you. Thank you so much and that's what happens when you get preaches I'm going to do this. So, Pamela you were exonerated get reaches on talking about their passion so anyway so I just took five seconds to say that. So I will say that, you know, I love the partnerships with the American Heart Association and the power to serve. It is literally transfer I saw somebody type that churches don't want to give up their soul food. Who said you had to give up so food, you just need to re invent so food, and so that it remains healthy, and I believe that one of the ways that you can get started to start in this is just begin with the end in mind, I know that I know you've heard that before but it really does work, start with what you want to do, and then work backwards to find out whether your organization is currently in line with your in. That's the goal. So if you start with the end in mind what i what i have a five year plan for our organization. I write up with the five year plan should look like and then I go backwards. What should we look like what what do adjustments Do I need to make now to ensure the success of that five year plan so I write five years, three years one year, and then I look at where we are currently, and I look back and say, are we in alignment.
And if there's things that are out of alignment, we make those adjustments so that we keep on going. So just start with the end in mind. I would just I appreciate that as well. The vision is necessary division is absolutely key over this last year and a half or so, two and a half years I should say now on being on the board I've just simply learned to ask. Ask, ask, and it's really not a begging is not a handout is really, again, we know our needs best and so I've learned to simply make the ask in 30 seconds or less, we knew that we knew we were shut down we knew that vaccinations were an issue. access was an issue. It was a simple text to one of the board members on Heart Association, who happens to run the hospital.
And I said hey we got to figure this out within two weeks, we had a full on vaccinations center that will run between now through May, but it was from an ask, so I know some of the smaller churches or some of the other smaller organizations don't think you can. But it's really just asking. The locals, the local AHA representatives which is reaching out to them and then have them do the heavy lifting or if you know someone who's a board member, it's simply asking. And let us do the connectivity for you, but it's simply asking that's that's my that's my advice, don't be afraid to ask a closed mouth doesn't get fed, and you can tweet that. That is so true and as my parents always told me the only thing we can do is say no. So you better learn how to ask and advocate for yourself so I have so enjoyed moderating this panel, and I am inspired, I am really. I hope that each one of those that are listening today really understands how each of us has the power, we are able to listen and take the information and put it into action and. And sometimes that can be scary, but then at the same time, if we don't jump out there, we will never soar. And so what we're talking about is innovation we're talking about investment in our communities.
And because we've been under invested. We are yes we may not have as many resources but it's because of lack of investment so what there is the opportunity is how do we reframe the conversation, and that's what we're doing today. So with that I am actually going to turn it over to Diego to help us to navigate some of the questions Diego I've tried to incorporate some of the answers as we were moving through the questions, but I will turn it over to you and hope that will help us to make up some time now and Pamela you really have done a great job of really finding synergy and bringing in those chat box comments into the conversation. I also want to share with everyone who is listening that we are all paying close attention to what's happening in the chat box, and we are going to find ways to address your comments and your questions and really find programming that's going to really allow this accelerator process to help accelerate your work in your communities. But with that said, let's, let's look at some of the questions and in the interest of time, I'm going to pull out just a few that really gets to the heart of what this conversation is about. So first question that I have highlighted will go like this. Your initiatives are exciting, but how do we transfer those initiatives into actions that impact structural racism in our communities that act as barriers to access and prevent positive outcomes.
And then they say they said how do we invite ourselves to the decision making tables? Bishop Shanklin and Reverend Miles, I would like you to answer those questions please. Yes. So, that's a great question, who submitted who have submitted a question. Great, great submission. And I'll just say this short. Just briefly, you know, two responses that one.
Make sure that you form a team that look like where you want to go. Because the best way to build trust in diversity is to have diversity represented. That's number one. Number two, as you said you certainly want to be at the table with the decision makers. And here's the thing about being at the table with decision makers, don't be too picky about what you get assigned when you get to that table, and you'll be surprised how far and how fast you can climb up in adding value to those decisions that need to be made.
Absolutely. Being at the table is key. And it's a different role than being out on the street, and there's a difference between the two that I think needs to be defined, when we talked about the safe return program. If you were to, you can actually research the program itself it's called safe return, or it may show up as peaceful surrender. but it's a national program. What we found is, we just we found out about the program. It hadn't happened in six or seven years, we saw what was happening in the streets of Philadelphia, the frustration level now this is prior to Joe to George Floyd This is prior to the riots, we were already boiling and we were frustrated and we say look. Something's got to give here and so that's when we took the program that already existed and have had happened in Philadelphia. It had just been a while since it had, and it has happened nationally, and we said hey, let's try this. But we've had some relationships and we did it so again I'll go back to.
Don't be afraid to try it, don't be afraid to ask, and it's times folk really want to do the right thing I just believe that in my heart. They just don't often know what and how to do it. So we become that resource. And so yes, push away in. Yeah. And I mean that tongue in cheek, but it's about those relationships that give you access.
I'm just going to add to this really quickly. And that is, I got to hear Brian Barnes, who is out of Atlanta, and he is in this article. That's called shifting philanthropy from charity to justice. And one of the things I got a chance to hear him speak and one of the things that he said you know you are doing a partnership. Right. When you get invited to the other person's table.
And once you think about that we normally are trying to invite everybody to our table. And, but you know you've made a partnership or good relationship, you may invite you to their table, just like you invite somebody to your house with the same thing. So I just wanted to add that Diego. I love it and I think the partnership theme is in line with everything we do at the American Heart Association I do appreciate you for sharing not only our 10 commitments, but a few of our guiding values as we set the framework for this conversation. There is one more question in the chat box that I would like the reverend and the bishop to address, and it's this one. Where are the small churches in the midst of this pandemic?
what are the plans for those small church organizations? We know that a lot of the smaller churches. And for us, we've been that resource, so we I did not mention the program, but again because of the relationship so what we have done is we've invited them to partner with us. So as we distribute 1200 - 1300 boxes, we allocate several hundred of those boxes for some of the smaller churches, as as a support to them, but also everything that we talked about in mentioned with the health initiatives. We have been, it's not exclusively lost on us, we need to try to model it be a model number one, but then help you replicated at your spot. So when I mentioned about the blood pressure kits. That is absolutely something that every church can can do. We partner with AHA they brought into healthy cooking chef.
They they did the blood pressure screenings, after service. It was a wonderful fit. That's a wonderful fit for some of the smaller, less resourced churches, number one, and number two, I get the economic impact that a lot of the churches are experiencing, and it's going to be real important again back to relationships, and we are encouraged because the church will always say that the best is yet to come. We just hold on. And so I think Bishop, you spoke to an appt stop talking but we've always been resourceful. We've always figured it out. And this is one of those times when like never before. it's going to take creativity.
And I agree with that. Also, I just want to leave the small churches with this word leverage just learn to leverage the time that you're in. I have a call from a small church pastor doing high dependent, who called me said hey this ship. Here's what we've decided to do, we decided to close our doors for go struggling with trying to pay rent become virtual for a season members agreed to it, and then we'll just save our resources and then come out on the other side, in a different space. And so for the small churches just leverage this leverage to season because remember, in our DNA is adaptability, in our DNA is flexibility in our DNA or survival.
The church has survived over 2000 years that's through wars, famine, pestilence disease. We have survived over 2000 years. And if we could survive what we've survived. We could survive, what we can survive, and you can tweet that. Well, thank you both so much and really, I think, you know, Necessity is the mother of invention, and when we're going to when we're in these situations is when innovation is most necessary. And I don't everyone who's who's still on, on the call is really interested to learn a little bit more about how this accelerator is going to be unique.
Before we hear from Rhonda Ford Chatmon, I just want to give Pamela the opportunity to provide us with some closing remarks, and to really provide the bookend on this phenomenal conversation, I really hate to do that on the heels of two amazing ministers who have really brought a word for us today, and all I will say is thank you so much for having the honor of being to moderate today's discussion but then most importantly, I think that there are some key salient points partnership. Just asking, how do we leverage the power of the ass. And then also just connecting the dots, so that we can have the greatest impact on our communities. We have been charged with a purpose in order to be the voice for the voiceless. And being able to ensure that we utilize the assets that we each have regardless that they're small, or plentiful, but when we put them all together. That is where we can truly, truly make the greatest difference. Thank you again. Thank you. Reverend Miles Thank you Bishop Shanklin and to the eastern states region for your leadership. Much love. Pamela Thank you. And we've been hearing just great feedback in the chat box, and we want to hear more from you. I'm going to ask Roxanna to please put the link to our survey in the chat box.
We want to know how to better serve our communities across the Eastern States, and that starts by you identifying what topics of interest, you want to partner with the American Heart Association on to make your community stronger, healthier and see a better vision for the future. But now, I think it's the moment we've all been waiting for, we're going to hear, we're going to open up the link for the application process and Rhonda Ford Chatmon, Vice President of health and Baltimore for the American Heart Association is going to share more information about the empowered to serve business accelerator faith based. Please take it away Rhonda. Thank you so much Diego Wow, what an amazing webinar we've had today and thank you again Bishop Shanklin and Reverend Miles for such a phenomenal presentation, we are tracking all of the responses in the chat box and we look forward to sending out to you an email following this webinar to everybody that registered, so that you'll have all the links and information that has been referenced during the webinar today. The business accelerator is going to officially launch today so I want everybody to go to empower to serve.org and take a look at the information. The empowered to sort of faith based accelerator is a six to eight week opportunity for training around
creating a stronger business model and pitching your ideas for the opportunity to receive grant funding. The faith accelerator is really about calling for submissions for innovative solutions. We're looking to offer these solutions to our trainers, so that you can be offered an opportunity to get a six to eight week, business training to help present your ideas, via a shark tank virtual meeting. In June, the accelerator candidates are we're looking for diversity in the submissions and we're looking for opportunities where you have identified needs in your community, and innovative solutions that the faith
side is going to either continue or start to help solve those issues for the community. The most exciting part of this is, there are grants available. The first place grant award will be $50,000 2nd place $30,000, and the third place grant award is $20,000, when we have our live Shark Tank pitch night in June, make sure you have your members. Follow along with you, if you are able to make it through the 10 that gets selected for the training, because we will also have a fan favorite award of $5,000 with your members can vote for for you. The application opens today it is going to open immediately concluding this webinar, and the application will close April 30th, look at the link at the bottom that email for any additional questions or reach out that you need is 2021 faith based firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will respond to you. Very promptly.
We also wanted to make sure that you knew that you can go to empower to serve.org on our website this is our national American Heart Association website, and you'll see empowered to serve accelerator phase. If you click on that link, it will take you directly to the site where the application is located, you will see apply for the grant. So make sure you go to the empowered to serve website. Take a look at the application Don't forget to look at the second part and create your account for us, so that you can go back to the application as needed. There are so many other resources available in the empower to serve website lessons for you to use in your congregations, other webinars that we've done around faith and housing, sponsored by partners such as Enterprise Community Partners. So we really encourage you to take some time and look at the website. And then finally, what I want to make sure you do is submit your request via the link that Diego included in the chat box and we'll also be in the follow up email, because we want to work with you here at the American Heart Association.
We are so excited about the opportunity to support your work, your outreach in the community, and all of us join together to collectively solve issues in our communities and serve the communities that we are most involved with. So with that, Diego, I think I did this in like record time. But the one thing Bishop didn't say and I think as we set up for these calls the one thing he said and I'm going to end us on this and, honestly, I am a member of Canaan Baptist Church on 16th Street in Washington DC, and I can't wait to tell my pastor this. The role of the faith based community is not to get rich through their business opportunities, it is to enrich the communities that they serve. And when he said that it really brought home to me, why this effort is so important. I want you to follow along with us pay attention to the links we will stay in touch with you. We're going to be offering a series of fireside chats, so I saw some interesting things come up in the chat box around asylum seekers and how can you get together as multiple congregations to work on this really pressing issue right now for communities. I've seen a request about how can we get this information in Spanish language versions, and we will do that for you as well. Tell us what you need. We are here to be responsible we're, we're listening to you. And we want to be of help so make sure you send in those interests forms, we will follow back up with you before the follow up email and Diego with that I'm going to thank
everyone again Pamela thank you so much for leading the webinar and being such a great facilitator, Diego you did a fabulous job as our host for the evening for the afternoon and Reverend miles and Bishop Shanklin thank you so much You guys are amazing. I'm going to close with an Amen, for everything that we heard today. Diego, Rhonda thank you so much for those closing remarks.
I just want to echo the sentiment that around the show, we want to do our best to answer as many questions as possible. And even though we, we did go over time just, just a little bit today in this presentation, we want to encourage everyone to please submit their questions to us, I'll ask, Roxanna. If she can share that email address. One more time, where people can submit their questions, we're going to create a nice frequently asked questions document that hopefully we'll be able to just just provide as much information as possible. We've been sharing a lot of links in the chat box throughout this conversation, they are, they are all valuable to helping you better understand how this accelerator is going to work. To help us at the American Heart Association be stronger partners with you in the community. So please encourage you to click to share to apply, because really we are doing this because we want to make people live longer, healthier lives across the board across the region across our country and across the world and the way