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An Interview with Henry Lozano of CNCS

Posted: August 30, 2005

Henry Lozano is a member of the Board of Directors for the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS) and a Commissioner for President George W. Bush's Advisory Commission on Drug Free Communities in the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

He is a graduate of Teen Challenge, a faith-based, global ministry program for substance abuse treatment, and served as the director of Teen Challenge in California from 1974 to 1985. He is also the CEO of Californians for Drug Free Youth, Inc.

Lozano is a Board member of Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), and has served three Presidents in substance abuse rehabilitation advisory positions. He is currently promoting President George W. Bush's Access to Recovery Initiative, a competitive grant program providing federal funds to states and tribal governments for voucher programs that expand access to a range of effective substance abuse clinical treatment and recovery support services, including those provided by faith- and community-based programs.

Henry Lozano
Henry Lozano

The Roundtable:

The Corporation for National & Community Service, an independent federal agency that promotes volunteerism and civic participation, recently co-sponsored a one-day conference for faith-based and community organizations. What was the outcome of that conference?

Mr. Lozano:

The conference was an important opportunity to bring together groups from across the nation that might have an unclear view of what this faith-based initiative is about. They are asking: "How does it work?" "Why does it work?"

A lot of people at that conference were there to understand the connections between faith, their organization and service. They were there to understand the effort that commenced early in the (President's first) administration, and how they fit in. Not all faith-based organizations are coming to the table to find out how to get money. I think that's a misperception. They are there to find out how they can connect. The attendance was triple the size of last year.

The Roundtable:

What prompted the interest?

Mr. Lozano:

No doubt it is the media. And the President and the First Lady have caused this incredible uproar and focus on bringing the faith-based and community aspect of society to the table.

The (Bush) administration's document, "Unlevel Playing Field: Barriers to Participation by Faith-Based and Community Organizations in Federal Social Service Programs" was a statement to the nation.

Embedded in that document were some real tenets about how to bring together this community of resources. The scientists of the field are looking at the social issues while the community of resources is trying to figure how to apply some strategic approaches.

What we should be doing in communities is assessing the resource, finding out the capacity, and then moving forward to collaborate with the leadership in that geographical area to do some sort of investment project, whether its social or economic. Then add the faith community to that.

Typically, the faith community has not had any significant level of engagement prior to President Bush initiating this national call to the armies of compassion. So part of the interest comes from the call.

This is a White House call. Those folks who perceive themselves to be part of that army of compassion have different levels of thought. Does that mean you are an evangelical Christian that calls you to be part of the a