Inclusive and engaged, diverse and welcoming — these values shaped the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington’s efforts over the past four decades — creating a pioneering organization that has worked to find common ground, build community and celebrate differences.

The IFC formed in 1978 out of a need to recognize that diversity strengthens our communities, bringing Muslims, Jewish, Protestant and Roman Catholic leaders together in what became the first staffed interfaith organization.

Since then, IFC’s impact has been transformative. We helped found the National Capital Area Food Bank, the Coalition for Homeless and Housing Organizations, and Grow, and we pioneered interfaith service programs with anti-poverty agencies such as the Women, Infant and Children feeding programs, the Interfaith Volunteer Caregiver Program, and So Others Might Eat.

Additionally, thousands have participated annually in the highly acclaimed InterFaith Concert, the Martin Luther King Multi-faith Service, and the Unity Walk. Our programs have addressed such needs such as a young adult leaders’ summit, climate stewardship, and interfaith dialogue.

Our community resources have included the Emergency Services Directory which continues to help more than 300,000 people in need annually, the Strengthening Teaching About Religion educational series and the Interfaith Speakers Bureau.

In the past forty years, IFC has grown stronger by expanding its member faith communities to now include Baha’i, Buddhist, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Hindu, Jain, Sikh, and Zoroastrian faith communities, for a total of 11 diverse religious traditions. All share the vision of building an inclusive community so that one day people of all faiths will feel welcomed, respected, and appreciated for their common values and for their diverse beliefs and practices.

Our mission today is to create a model in the nation’s capital of an inclusive community of diverse faiths focused on the values that unite us and the distinctions that make each of us unique.