Oregon is excited to partner with faith-based and community organizations to help support individuals and families achieve physical, mental, and social wellbeing and independence. This space is designed to make resources easy to find and use for faith leaders. For more information or to be added to the Oregon Faith Leaders email distribution list, email Maria Waters, Faith Community Liaison at
Why we do our work and how we can help
The Faith Community liaison team aims to build trust. We work to keep open communication between Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) programs and faith-based organizations.
Why is it important to work with faith-based organizations?
- Most Oregonians are affiliated with a faith tradition or faith-based organization.
- Faith communities are trusted, safe spaces for many people.
- Working with faith communities helps Oregon deliver equitable programs and services. This aligns with
ODHS Equity North Star.
- Faith communities share a common mission with many government programs to reduce and address the effects of social problems.
How we can help
- Share best practices and strengthen partnerships.
- Build capacity and provide technical assistance by:
- Gathering experts
- Sharing information
- Offering trainings and certifications to faith leaders and faith-based organizations.
- Collaborate on grant opportunities.
- Encourage inclusion of faith leaders on workgroups, advisory boards, and policy feedback opportunities.
Each of these offices are dedicated to working specifically with faith-based organizations. They regularly provide grant opportunities, webinar trainings, and send email updates geared towards partnering with local faith-based organizations to serve your community.
Mental Health Resources
Mental Health Toolkit for Oregon Faith Leaders
The Mental Health Toolkit for Oregon Faith Leaders has been written and designed by and for faith leaders in Oregon. Our goal is to ignite conversation, provide access to trainings and education, and demystify the relationship between mental health and spiritual care. Talking about mental health isn't always easy and access to mental health treatment and support can sometimes be challenging. We encourage you to utilize this toolkit, available trainings, and upcoming conversations about mental health to remove barriers and increase capacity of mental health resources in your community.
Maria was born in Oregon and serves as the State of Oregon’s first liaison to Faith Communities. She has spent the last 15 years focused on supporting partnerships between government and nonprofit organizations. Maria is particularly passionate about developing relationships between faith-based organizations and public programs with the goal of collaborating to improve outcomes for individuals and families across Oregon.
Maria has served on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Social Workers - California Chapter and held a seat on the Oversight and Advisory Committee for the Department of Children, Youth and their Families in San Francisco. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a master’s degree in Public Administration.
When Maria isn’t working, you’ll find her adventuring with her husband and three teenagers, a daughter and twin boys.
How to reach us
Email: Faith.Liaison@dhsoha. state.or.us
Oregon Department of Human Services
500 Summer St. NE
Salem, OR 97301-1063
Hours: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.