FASTEN (Faith and Service Technical Education Network) offers networking opportunities and informational resources to equip faith-based practitioners, pubic administrators, and private philanthropists seeking to collaborate effectively to renew urban communities. CFIC oversees the FASTEN web site, a clearinghouse with hundreds of practical, relevant resources for faith-based practitioners that help them do what they do even better.

FASTEN is a collaborative initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts. Its mission is to strengthen and support faith-based social services, especially in distressed urban communities. Given the increased national attention to faith-based, anti-poverty initiatives, more religious organizations are exploring whether to enter, or expand their current efforts in, the social service arena. Congregations and other religiously affiliated organizations that desire to work in this area--and the public administrators and private foundations that might wish to collaborate with them--need reliable information about what works, what does not, and why. Then these audiences need practical tools and training to launch or expand new initiatives and partnerships.

FASTEN seeks to meet these needs by building capacity among faith-based organizations (FBOs) and their potential partners. We believe that by providing educational materials, training and technical assistance, a highly navigable website filled with practical, relevant information and tools, and a peer-to-peer learning community--and by bolstering networks within and among our three audiences--FBOs, private funders, and public administrators will be equipped for more and better collaborations. By building FBOs’ capacity, we believe their services can be expanded and enhanced—ultimately, we hope, leading to better outcomes for people in need, as FBOs increase their reach and effectiveness.

FASTEN builds capacity through:

  • a website showcasing best practices information;
  • a peer-to-peer network to connect practitioners to expert advice;
  • a learning community of strategic intermediary organizations;
  • training events and symposia for members of each of FASTEN’s three audience communities;
  • publications based on empirical and applied research methodologies; and
  • efforts to bolster networks within and among our three audiences.
Essentially, the FASTEN website (www.FASTENnetwork.org) is a library for faith-based practitioners and those who want to partner with them. We are acquiring the most relevant educational tools and information about model programs and exemplary practices and then helping web visitors to navigate these resources by giving them “digestible” data in a user-friendly, interactive environment. The website also features “Ask A Specialist,” a technical assistance tool connecting practitioners to experts who can offer practical advice on specific ministry topics.

FASTEN strategically targets intermediary organizations whose mission is to build capacity among grassroots FBOs. We’ve convened 25 such intermediaries into a learning network and have hosted two training roundtables for them.

FASTEN is present at large national conferences convening faith-based leaders, public administrators, and private philanthropies engaged in, or exploring, social service partnerships. Through its partners, FASTEN also disseminates a variety of publications--some geared to the academic and public policy communities and others “translated” in such ways as to make them accessible and usable for on-the-ground practitioners.

Learn more about FASTEN.

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