Infrastructure of Opportunity

BooksYouth Enrichment students selecting their favorite books to take home, which was made possible through our partnership with Summer Reads VISTA, a program of the Minnesota Literacy Council.

By Randi Ilyse Roth

It’s a great privilege to be stepping into a leadership role at Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul. Interfaith Action’s vision is that: People of faith will relieve the effects of poverty and address its causes through the transformative work of thousands of volunteers. The main question for this organization is: How can we best make that vision a reality?

We are all painfully aware that we currently live in “two Americas.” Income inequality is one of the most significant civil rights issues of our time. Interfaith Action’s office is in a building on beautiful Summit Avenue, and just blocks away we serve families and individuals in deep struggle to meet basic needs. Too often, young people in our community cannot connect with opportunity, and older people cannot piece together enough resources to have a stable sense of dignity. This organization’s mission is to support the faith community in turning this around. We do not have to wait for others to act: drawing on volunteers, we can build a strong, enduring, effective infrastructure of opportunity in greater Saint Paul.

We will start our learning by listening to religious and community leaders. What are their members facing? What are their struggles? What capacity do they have to “pay it forward” to help others? What would religious leaders like to see us forge in our work to support their members’ efforts to help others in their community have lives filled with opportunity, dignity, and meaning?

I spent my first three weeks here getting to know our staff, board members, and programs, and learning how our work fits into the larger landscape of opportunity in our community. I am also having discussions with thought leaders from around the country to learn their insights about how we might shape our work to maximize the impact of the faith community. In the weeks to come, we will be continuing the learning. We would like to hear from you, so if you have thoughts you’d like to share with us, please drop us a line.

Warm Regards,

Randi Ilyse Roth
Executive Director