The Decision-Making Process Fueling Partnership Formation and Sustainment Between Open Table and the Faith Community
The purpose of this study, conducted via the Community Action Research Experiences (CARE) Program in association with Arizona State University's T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, was to expand the influence of Open Table, a faith-based, non-profit organization dedicated to equipping the impoverished with the necessary tools to restore them back to self-sufficiency through the power of relationship. The study sought to aid the organization's expansion through an analysis of the decision-making process leaders from faith congregations undergo to establish or continue partnerships with Open Table. A series of interviews were conducted with leaders from congregations currently partnered with Open Table to determine the nature of the decision-making process for adopting Open Table into their congregations, the expectations of the Open Table model for reaching the impoverished, and to what degree those expectations were met. Nine interviews were conducted from which the following results were derived. The key results revealed that congregation leaders other than the lead pastor often conducted the majority of the decision-making in regard to adopting and implementing Open Table within the various congregations. The decision to adopt Open Table often was based on whether or not any particular congregation's mission and values aligned with that of the organizations. Some expectations leaders had of Open Table were for their congregation members to receive a richer education of poverty and to help an individual exit poverty. For the most part, the results revealed that these expectations were frequently met.