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Something Special is Happening at Faith in Place

Amanda Hanley, Co-Founder, Vice President, and Secretary of the Hanley Foundation, shared how she is inspired by our powerful mission and unique programs at the Annual Celebration and Fundraiser Breakfast in Chicago on December 6, 2018.

I’d like to share a bit about my involvement with Faith in Place and why it makes my heart sing.

My green journey began as a kid doing simple things: picking vegetables in our garden, storing newspapers for recycling collections at my church, hiking and camping at nature parks, similar to some Green Team activities happening today.

Amanda Hanley banner pictures
Photos courtesy of Amanda Hanley

But as I grew older, I started to feel a pit in my stomach. Why were we trashing our precious planet and polluting people? More alarm bells went off after learning about the dangers of global warming. Worried about what kind of world are we leaving our kids, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and get involved.

A multifaith globe from the Cool Globes art installation
A multifaith Cool Globes art installation

My connection with Faith in Place started in 2007 with this 5-foot globe. I was involved with Cool Globes, an art exhibit with more than 100 globes depicting various climate solutions. Although not the most obvious solution, I fought to feature a Religious Call to Action globe. With climate change being the greatest moral challenge of our time, I’m convinced faith groups will play a vital role in protecting the earth and its most vulnerable people.

For help, I contacted Clare Butterfield, who was the Executive Director of Faith in Place at the time. She kindly provided the artist with wording from faith traditions around the world. The resulting globe illustrates the universal call to steward the earth. You can still see it at Am Shalom in Glencoe.

Faith in Place’s programs struck a chord, and we started to support them in 2010. Over the past decade, we’ve contributed to a variety of great environmental and social justice groups through our family foundation and my board service. Having this perspective, I want to point out that something very special is happening at FIP – which is why it’s one group we’ve been supporting the longest.

I’m impressed with the strong leadership and talented team. More than educating and inspiring faith communities to protect our land, water, and air, they are also having an impact through collaboration.

The Green Team Summit crowd cheers, "Get Connected!"
The crowd cheers, "Get Connected!"

FIP continues to expand programs and offices. So far, they’ve worked with more than 1,000 Houses of Worship throughout Chicagoland and Illinois. As highlighted in the video, their efforts alongside energized Green Teams, are delivering concrete results, and truly building community. Incredibly, 500 people attended the Green Team summit in September! I don’t know anywhere else where mobilization like this is happening.

Faith in Place is considered an essential partner in Illinois’ environmental community and a powerful grassroots force. Empowered with training and tools, faithful communities are rising up.

Advocacy with Anne White, Brian Sauder & Henrietta Saunders
Advocacy with Anne White, Brian Sauder & Henrietta Saunders

I’ve run into Green Team members at marches here in Chicago and all the way in Washington DC at the Peoples Climate March. And when it comes to the Environmental Lobby Day – guess who’s filling up busses going to Springfield?

They are bringing diverse folks to talk to policymakers and making the case for climate action and environmental justice. It has been said the Solar for All provisions in Future Energy Jobs Act would not exist without pressure by pastors and Faith in Place.

We are sadly living in dark days. It is painful to witness a spike in religious and racial hate crimes, immigrant disrespect, gun violence, the evils of systemic racism and poverty, rollbacks of environmental protections, and so on. As the song goes, where is the love?

Well, I see it at Faith in Place. They unite people of all faiths, races, and ages, finding strength in diversity, celebrating and protecting our common home, and pushing for healthier communities and economic opportunities.

Faithful Advocates rally for environmental justice!
Faithful Advocates rally for environmental justice!

It’s all connected. Faith in Place is exactly what the world needs right now. And they give me hope for a better future. We must make sure they continue to thrive.

Faith in Place can’t make a difference unless their operations are funded.

I have been a member of The Founders Circle for many years. This group provides a more stable financial foundation for the programs of Faith in Place. I’m happy to re-commit to our 5-year pledge today.

Please join me in making a worthy investment that will go a long way in making a more just and sustainable world.

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