Dr. Ben Carson
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Secretary’s Awards for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships
HUD HQ, Washington, D.C.
July 16, 2018
Thank you, Cindy [Cindy Campbell HUD Director, OIPI] for the kind introduction and I want to thank all of you for joining us this morning.
And let me especially thank our partners at the Council on Foundations – especially Gene Cochrane [CEO, Council on Foundations], and Stephanie Powers [VP, Council on Foundations] Without you, we never could have put on this important competition each year.
This is a part of my job as Secretary of HUD that I really enjoy. Giving out awards to those foundations on the frontlines of creativity -- those people who think outside the box to better help the lives of the residents we serve: be they in the inner cities, small rural towns, or large suburban counties.
This morning we celebrate the power of partnerships
Wherever the need is, it’s wonderful to see philanthropic groups and organizations rising to the challenge.
Given that HUD is the only federal agency to give out awards to foundations for working with the public-sector, these awards are especially notable and valuable.
Importance of Partnerships
I firmly believe that Washington alone cannot meet all the challenges we face today – whether providing more low-income housing or helping our families reach financial independence.
As I have often said, at HUD, we believe that creating opportunities in our communities can never be the job of just one sector – it has to be the public, private, nonprofit, and faith community working together.
The biggest tool we have are partnerships, which allow us to leverage federal funds. And there are number of initiatives like low-income housing tax credits, RAD, and the new Opportunity Zones -- one of the most significate provisions of the recently passed Tax Cut and Jobs Act -- which will further drive similar private -public partnerships.
Need for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships
But the key to helping the vulnerable people and families we serve are the partnerships we have with the philanthropic community.
Just look at the excitement around our Envision Centers, which is solidly based upon non-profit and philanthropic partnerships. George Washington Carver -- the great America inventor and botanist of the prior century -- once said, “where there is no vision, there is no hope.”
If we ever hope to succeed in helping families, we need to envision a new path forward -- one that focuses on the whole family and not just the roof over their heads.
In June, we opened our first Center in Detroit, and announced an additional 16 demonstration sites, which will provide a number of key services in health, education, and job training for thousands of residents in public housing, so they can graduate out of poverty and into a life of self-sufficiency, self-respect, and independence.
For generations, the idea of the government providing housing assistance meant only one thing—helping to pay the rent. But we must think about how we can help families access financial and other opportunities and move beyond that assistance.
We must invest in all our nation’s human capital.
None of this can be possible without the full support and encouragement of our partners.
Going forward, to deliver tangible, measurable, and lasting results, all the philanthropic groups, non-profit organizations, and federal and state agencies gathered in this auditorium, must align and combine resources, share best practices, and closely coordinate action.
The proof, that by pooling our capabilities we can ultimately succeed, is here today, among the various contestants and winners of today’s awards.
Wide Variety of Winners
What unites all of today’s winners is the drive to help others, especially those communities and neighborhoods which are often neglected.
I am particularly impressed by the great diversity of creative philanthropic outreach programs and initiatives:
From healthcare to housing to homelessness, to transforming and bolstering local communities.
From helping foster-children reach college, to helping African-American families retain and maintain their land.
From providing quality learning and other wraparound services for hundreds of infants and young children, to helping adults decrease their risks of cancer and heart disease through smoking prevention.
Taken together, we have an amazing collection of initiatives aimed at tackling some of the hardest challenges faced by vulnerable communities, seniors, adults and our youth.
Going over the list of the ten winners I was also impressed by the sheer geographic variety of the areas served by our awardees – most of which I am familiar with:
Baltimore -- which I know so well after living there for 36 years.
Chicago -- which I will return to again in a few days to review a drug recovery center.
Cedar Rapids -- which I just visited in April.
Spartanburg -- which I toured last November with Senator Tim Scott.
And Flint – which I will visit in a few days to announce our Choice Neighborhood grants.
I haven’t yet been to all the places -- like the Alaskan cities, served by the Rasmuson Foundation, or the rural areas of the southwest, served by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities – but I know I’ll be getting there in the near future.
The point being, not that I have traveled a lot, but that at HUD we are familiar with the communities whose challenges are being addressed by our winners – which makes these awards even more relevant.
Again, I applaud of today’s winners for reaching out to those whose needs have often been forgotten.
Through these awards, we celebrate what we can accomplish through partnerships, and we acknowledge that the outcomes we can achieve together are far greater than we can achieve on our own.
Let me end on this note.
The very foundation of this nation was built on philanthropic ideas – of coming together and working together to reach common goals. Today is a good time to recommit ourselves to these philanthropic principles and values.
We must learn to come together so we can again accomplish great things.
Thank you again for joining us today.