Jennifer Butler becomes chair of president's advisory council on poverty

December 8, 2015

Jennifer Butler, CEO of the strategy group Faith in Public Life, recently be­came chair of the President’s Ad­visory Council on Faith-based and Neigh­bor­hood Partnerships.

“One of the key issues we’re looking at is criminal justice re­form,” Butler said of the council’s meetings with her as chair. “We also talked about rural poverty, which gets left out of a lot of conversations.”

Other members of the council include researchers and leaders of denominations, religious groups, and secular orga­nizations working on issues of poverty and inequality.

The White House describes the Obama administration’s charge to the council as “identifying best practices and successful modes of delivering social services” as well as making policy recommendations.

In its first meeting with current members, the council talked about programs already making a difference, Butler said. One example was the Promise Zones Initiative, in which low-income areas create plans for community development that can then garner government funding.

“We’re trying to look at successes and see what can be further developed,” she said.

Before founding Faith in Public Life, Butler represented the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) at the United Nations from 1996 to 2005.