This article appears in Faithfully Magazine No. 1 (Spring 2017).
Joshua DuBois was head of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in the Obama administration from 2009-2013, but began working with the former president years prior when he was a senator. During his time in the White House, DuBois was also appointed Special Assistant to the President. He notably sent Obama daily devotionals, shared in his bestselling The President’s Devotional: The Daily Readings that Inspired President Obama. DuBois heads Value Partnerships, a consulting firm that develops faith-based alliances across various sectors.
When did you and President Obama become acquainted? How far back does your relationship go? What compelled you to want to work with him?
I began working for then-Senator Obama when he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004. I heard his 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention, and agreed with his overall approach to public policy in the speech and appreciated his bridge-building nature. Then, with his evocation of an “awesome God” that we serve in the Blue States—reminding me of times I spent singing worship songs at Fellowship of Christian Athletes camps, singing “Our God is an Awesome God”—I thought as a Christian, here is a progressive who speaks in the language of faith and values. I knew I wanted to work for him, and (to make a long story short) basically showed up at his office several times until he gave me an interview and a job in early 2005.