Learn. Pray. Act.

Get Involved

Learn More About Our New Executive Director, Kim Bobo


About Us


We are a broadly diverse, morally driven group of advocates working to advance public policies that better serve low-income, vulnerable, and underrepresented communities in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

We engage and educate people of faith and the public regarding critical social issues, the legislative process, and the call to advocacy.


Our Vision

A world where people of all faiths cooperate to create compassionate communities that are just, peaceful, equitable and sustainable.

Our Mission

To empower Virginians to create social justice for all by advocating for systemic change.

Our Work

We unite people of faith in Virginia through partnerships with other statewide advocacy organizations and our own grassroots networks.


Leadership Team


Rev. Charles Swadley

Interim Executive Director

Karen Cameron

Virginia Consumer Voices
Director

Neill Caldwell

Communications Manager

Lana Heath de Martinez

Public Policy Member
Education & Engagement


Karen Bell

Virginia Consumer Voices
Intern

Ian Young

Administrative Manager

Cassandra Shaw

Virginia Consumer Voices
Outreach Coordinator

 

Board of Directors

Mr. Frank A. McKinney III
Chair of the Board

Mrs. Julie Swanson
Treasurer

Mr. Davis Balderston
Secretary

Rev. John Copenhaver
Vice Chair of the Board

Ms. Sarah Cochran

Mr. Ali Faruk

Dr. John Whitley

Dr. Warren Hottle

Ms. Debra Gold Linick

Chaplain Farhanahz Ellis

Rev. Jeneé Gilchrist

Rev. Scott Hopkins

Dr. Alok Srivastava

Richard Samet

Mr. Irv Varkonyi


Affiliate Partners


Virginia Consumer Voices for Healthcare

Consumer-focused coalition to support the expansion and improvement of health care in Virginia. View Website

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Virginia state public policy office for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and are supported by Lutheran World Hunger. View Website


Our Network


0
Newsletter Subscribers
0
Partner Organizations
0
Statewide Chapters

Policy Priorities


Together the Center and Virginia Consumer Voices (VCV) for Healthcare, a project of the Center, continue to focus on ensuring all Virginians have access to high-quality, affordable health care. We will continue to press for expanding Medicaid to reach the greatest number of people who fall into the health care coverage gap in Virginia. When lower- and moderate-income people gain health coverage, the burden of paying health-care bills is eased and they are able to focus on other pocketbook issues.

Proper nutrition is vital to the healthy social, cognitive, and physical development in children. Kids who do not get enough healthy food to eat are more likely to struggle and are less likely to grow up to be successful and productive citizens. In 2011, more than 321,000 children in the state were at risk of hunger, or food insecure. VICPP has joined the efforts of two partners whose work aims to eliminate hunger in children. These include the Virginia No Kid Hungry program and Virginia Hunger Solutions. We support the governor’s inclusion of funding for Universal Breakfasts in the latest budget proposal.
Virginia’s legal threshold for felony robbery charges has not changed since 1980, when it was raised from $100 to the current level of $200. Virginia and New Jersey are the only states at this level, while the District of Columbia, Maryland and North Carolina have a threshold of $1,000, Delaware has a threshold of $1,500, and Pennsylvania has a threshold of $2,000. This low threshold has been described as a “deterrent” by the retail industry. But, the reality is that the community suffers by having more young people enter the penal system under the extremely low threshold, which means that with a recidivism rate of 82%, most of those entering stay in the system for their life. The Center would like to see that raised to $1,500.
Over the past 30 years, the rich have been getting richer while the poor have been getting poorer. Since the start of the Great Recession, this trend has further accelerated across the nation and in Virginia. Raising the minimum wage to $15 over three years would help close the wage gap and give a boost to struggling families, lifting them out of poverty. In Virginia, six in ten minimum wage workers are women and many are raising families.
People of color are over‐represented in the Virginia criminal justice system. African Americans comprise roughly 20 percent of the adult population, but in the justice system, however, they comprise 47 percent of all arrests and 61 percent of state prison inmates. For every white person incarcerated in Virginia, six African Americans are behind bars. As a result, 20 percent of African American Virginians have lost the right to vote, isolating them from their communities.

Current

Ongoing

We believe that federal legislation to broadly reform immigration policy must include a clear and timely path to citizenship for those that would qualify, boosting the economy of Virginia and the U.S. We cannot persist in a segregated society where some have rights, but too many do not. As a practical matter in Virginia, we need to make sure that persons that are authorized or lawfully present in the United States are treated fairly.

Every 10 years, Virginia works through the process of redistricting for both state and federal districts. Historically the majority party works through a closed door process to draw district lines that give them a powerful advantage in future elections. It is all the more important that we adopt an impartial and nonpartisan process to draw the lines in the future. We will work through the legislature to call for a fair and open process to pave the way to redistricting. We will also track related concerns such as the implementation of Virginia’s voter I.D. law to make sure that people are not systematically disenfranchised from voting.
We must do more to address gun violence as it has taken the lives of too many innocents. The Center supports legislation to require background checks for all firearm sales and prohibit straw sales, making it illegal to purchase a firearm on behalf of anyone not lawfully allowed to purchase it themselves. Finally, we support legislation to further limit access to firearms for individuals previously convicted of violent crimes.
VICPP has a strong history of support for consumer finance protection in Virginia. We have consistently supported a 36% annual percentage rate (APR) cap on interest rates for both payday and car title lenders. We also support other legislation designed to either cap fees or limit the number of loans offered by predatory lenders. At the federal level, we are strongly in support of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) and its work to ensure that payday and predatory lenders are properly regulated.
Virginia passed positive payday loan reforms in 2008 in the Payday Lending Act. These protections have made payday loans somewhat less onerous, but payday loans have largely been replaced by triple-digit car-title loans and largely unregulated open-end loans that range from 250-360 percent. These loans lock borrowers in a vicious cycle of debt.

VICPP will continue to monitor proposed and current public policies that abuse the environment: We will support efforts to reverse the effects of climate change and to promote clean water; will oppose expansion of hydraulic fracturing; and will oppose uranium mining in Virginia.

Get Involved


Learn

There are a number of ways to get involved with the Virginia Interfaith Center and our advocacy work. The first step is to learn about our priority issues and how to be an effective advocate on those issues. Get started to learn more today.

Get Started

Pray

Pray for guidance and discernment. Should faith communities be involved in public policy? Yes! See our resource guide about the call to advocacy across Abrahamic Faith traditions. Other faith traditions also speak up for justice.

Get Started

Act

Sign up for our emails, which include action alerts when you need to call your legislator and express your opinion as bills move through the General Assembly. Participate in denomination-specific lobby days and get connected through local chapters.

Get Started

Give

Contribute by becoming an individual or congregational member of the Center. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support to help amplify our voices and achieve our vision of a more just and compassionate Commonwealth.

Get Started

Stay Updated


See All Posts

Social Media



Our Newsletter

Join our email newsletter to get the latest updates delivered fresh to your inbox!


Get in Touch


We always love to hear from our supporters. Feel free to drop in or contact us during our business hours.

Hours


Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm

Saturday Closed

Sunday Closed


Contact


Address 1716 E. Franklin St. Richmond, VA 23223

Phone (804) 643-2474

Email office@virginiainterfaithcenter.org

Send Us a Message