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The USDA Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships was established by President Obama in 2009. He recognized that today we face big challenges as a country that cannot be solved in Washington, D.C. alone. Instead, progress requires innovative, community-based solutions. That's why we need to partner with you-with faith-based and community organizations that work every day to solve our nation's challenges and strengthen our communities.

United States Department of Agriculture Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

The USDA Center is among 13 Centers for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships across Federal agencies. Others include: Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Homeland Security, U.S. Agency for International Development, Veterans Affairs, Commerce, Education, Corporation for National and Community Service, Justice, Labor, Small Business Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Each Center forms partnerships between its agency and faith-based and neighborhood organizations to advance specific goals, and all of the Centers are coordinated by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

The White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

The White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships forms partnerships between government at all levels and non-profit organizations, both secular and faith-based, to more effectively serve Americans in need. In addition to coordinating the 13 Federal Centers, it also coordinates the President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The President's Advisory Council is made up of religious and secular community leaders serving one year terms. The Council is responsible for submitting recommendations for how the federal government can more effectively partner with faith and community-based organizations.

Leadership Biographies

Photo of Norah Deluhery, Director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Norah Deluhery serves as the Director of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at USDA with a mission to connect both secular and faith-based organizations to government resources to aid underserved communities across rural America. In 2012, Deluhery completed a detail to the White House as Policy Advisor for First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Initiative, which aims to end childhood obesity in a generation. Deluhery expanded outreach to local and national stakeholders in the public, non-profit, and private sectors. Prior to working at the White House, Deluhery served as Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services at the USDA, which promotes the health and well-being of Americans by developing and promoting science-based dietary guidance and administering USDA's 15 nutrition assistance programs. FNCS programs seek to end hunger in the United States and provide nutrition assistance as well as federal dietary guidance, nutrition policy coordination, and nutrition education.

In 2008, Deluhery worked on the Obama campaign as a field organizer in northern rural Iowa as well as a volunteer in several state primaries. Prior to joining the campaign, she worked at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York City. A proud native of Davenport, Iowa, Deluhery graduated from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. with a degree in English and a minor in vocal performance.

Photo of Torey Powell, Outreach Specialist for the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Torey Powell currently serves as an Outreach Specialist for the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Agriculture. Prior to this he served as a Presidential Management Fellow with USDA Forest Service in the position of Partnership and Outreach Specialist on the Chugach National Forest in Anchorage, AK. Torey's work on the Chugach focused on community partnerships including the Chugach Children's Forest, 2015 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, and developing/updating forest agreements to assist in field. During his fellowship, Torey completed a 6-month detail with USDA Forest Service - Washington Office Conservation Education and National Partnership Office. In this capacity he provided leadership for the Every Kid in a Park Urban Engagement Working Group and provided coordination of the Urban Natural Resources Stewardship working group and Washington Office Director's Group.

Torey is a veteran of the United States Army, including a 2010 deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan. His distinguished service concluded in 2016 with multiple commendations that include Army Commendation Medal (3 OLC), Army Achievement Medal (3 OLC), Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and NATO Medal (Afghanistan).

Torey received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Marketing and Communications from Concordia University Texas in Austin, Texas and Master of Social Work (MSW) Degree with a specialization in policy from the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.

Photo of Katherine Braga, Staff Assistant with the USDA Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Katherine Braga (Axelsen) serves as a Staff Assistant with the USDA Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, one of several centers within the Federal Government that work in coordination with the White House to form partnerships between government and both secular & faith based organizations to more effectively serve Americans in need. Braga formerly served with the Center at the Small Business Administration. Prior to her time with Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Braga was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine where she specialized in teaching English as a foreign language as well as leadership, critical thinking and healthy lifestyles.

Braga graduated from the University of Michigan - Go Blue! - with a degree in Comparative Religion as well as English Language & Literature. She is currently a Masters student at American University studying International Relations. Her languages include Brazilian Portuguese and Russian. Braga holds a private pilot certificate and enjoys volunteering with the Civil Air Patrol squadron at Joint Base Andrews.