Dave Odom, Director of Leadership Education at Duke University and Divinity School, which administers all national Lilly Endowment Inc. grants, came to Fresno this week to observe the work of the FPU Center for Community Transformation. After featuring in their Faith & Leadership online magazine (see article here) the CCT’s social enterprise initiative, which helps churches start businesses to employ people that have barriers, Dave Odom wanted to see more of the collaborative and innovative work across the rest of the CCT’s regional ministry. While here, he met additional leaders who have benefited from the CCT’s social enterprise work, participated in our micro enterprise training, observed our social business plan workshop, met our community partners including Deputy Mayor Matthew Grundy and the City’s Director of homelessness and housing, Dr. H Spees, who spoke to him about the CCT’s work in the area of faith based collaboration and congregational homelessness training. He met Dr. Joseph Jones, FPU president, and also Dr. Tim Geddert, interim dean of the seminary to discuss the dynamics of a university and seminary housing a community focused leadership foundation, a rare occurrence across the U.S.
Mr. Odom told CCT Associate Director Carlos Huerta that he “Learned so much about your comprehensive and collaborative approach to community transformation” and added, “The story of the people of Fresno is inspiring.” He is planning follow-up interviews that can be shared nationally with other organizations, universities and seminaries wanting to make a similar kingdom impact.