“Donor agencies are hyper transactional, whereas faith-based organizations are hyper relational,” [Mark Brinkmoeller the former director of the Center for Faith Based-and Community Initiatives at USAID] said, noting some of the pain points that stand in the way of potential partnerships, and the need for dedicated efforts such as the USAID initiative to bring these two sides together. Brinkmoeller also talked about a group he feels is often overlooked: “Faith-motivated business people doing innovation in the workplace with humanitarian impulses.” He mentioned GHR Foundation—a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based philanthropic organization with the stated mission of working toward a just, peaceful, and healthy future—as one example of giving that grew out of faith.
“We don’t consider ourselves as a faith-based foundation, but because of our legacy and long-term partnerships, we’ve developed a comfort and competency working with faith-based groups, and that has allowed us to get deeper links within communities and directly with people,” Amy Rauenhorst Goldman, CEO and chair of the foundation, told Devex. “In most of the world, faith is a key component of someone’s identity, either an individual or a community, and it’s what fuels conflict around the world and what fuels hope and development as well.”
She said that through partnerships such as USAID’s Central African Republic initiative, to which GHR Foundation is a donor, the goal is not only to have a direct impact but also to generate more evidence around the power of partnering with faith-based organizations. “When I think of innovation, I am always thinking about a new and better way to do something. I often think of innovation as building: new systems, new platforms.”