InterFaith Works was founded in 1976 to build bridges of understanding among people of different religions and across racial divides. In the U.S. climate of concern for interracial understanding during the decades of civil rights activity, InterFaith Works aligned to fulfill this important function. The agency was also ahead of the curve on creating interreligious understanding, working first among Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, and then expanding to include Muslims, Sikh, Buddhist, Mormon, Baha’is, and other faith groups. The need for this work heightened after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and continues to serve as a vehicle to address hate towards those who are considered “different.”
Over the years, the agency added social service programs to address the needs of people who are vulnerable, low-income, targets of oppression, and refugees who arrive through the federal refugee resettlement programs, fleeing war, political repression, and famine. Programs to address the needs of frail elderly, of those in prisons, hospitals, and nursing homes, and programs to address hunger and housing have been a part of InterFaith Works. These programs will continue to be a part of our human service work. In the coming decade, the core of the agency’s work will focus on creating dialogue on community issues and promote the racial and religious diversity of our community.