Working for workplace religious diversity, equity & inclusion


Monthly Archives: August 2023

EVEVATE business intern program at the Busch School

31 Aug, 2023


ELEVATE is a unique approach to cooperative education that offers an opportunity to hire the best business students from Catholic University. Students make meaningful contributions to companies, grow under the guidance of workplace management and ELEVATE advising, and create a hiring pipeline relationship. The program puts an emphasis on developing both hard and soft skills. ELEVATE will create opportunities for students to combine their classroom education, where they are learning about the value and dignity of work, with meaningful work experience, where they can apply what they learn to contribute to a company.


  • — INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY: Co-op students work part or full-time and have potential extendable contracts
  • — BUILD FOR THE FUTURE: Develop relationships with employers who could one day be your boss
  • — SUPPORT THE COMMUNITY: Hiring Catholic University students
  • — SIMPLIFY TRAINING: Students are actively trained on workplace etiquette
  • — SELECTIVITY: Students are pre-screened to ensure their interest, competency, professionalism, and values
  • — PERSONALIZATION: Personalized plan for your goals to identify the best employers for your specific wants and needs
  • — BUILD RELATIONSHIPS: Build a long-term relationship with the Busch School of Business where they can help reach students goals
  • — ADVISOR ASSISTANCE: Assistance with performance feedback, coaching, and training to help reduce the learning curve



Religion Most Popular “Industry” in US South, New Study

31 Aug, 2023

Religious Economy Thrives in 7 Southern U.S. States

A new study from OnDeck reports that “Alongside its industrial might, America is also renowned for its faith. A 2021 Gallup poll found that religion is ‘very important’ to 49% of Americans, while three in four identify with a specific denomination. It’s also big business. A report from the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation found that religion adds $1.2 trillion worth of socioeconomic value each year, equivalent to the world’s 15th largest economy.”

“Religious institutions, according to our research, are the most popular disproportionate industry in the U.S., with above-average representation in seven states. Four of these — Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina were listed among America’s most religious states in a Pew Research Center poll.”

See full study.


OnDeck analyzed LinkedIn data, using its Company Search filters to count and rank proportionately how many companies per industry are represented from a seed list of more than 100 different industries. OnDeck also calculated the frequency of an industry’s representation compared to its average number of roles per country or U.S. state.

The data of this analysis is from May 2023.

Research on religious freedom’s Econ. impact

28 Aug, 2023

Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF) researchers are some of the world’s leading experts on religious diversity & inclusion in the workplace, as well as the positive socio-economic impact of freedom of religion and belief. RFBF’s founding president, Brian Grim, Ph.D. (Penn State), is a world expert in religious economies, religious demographics and religious freedom for all (including those without a religious faith). Some Key findings from our and related research are summarized here with links to full details.

G20 Interfaith to build on India’s moon success

26 Aug, 2023

A billion prayers from all faiths took India to the moon

By Brian Grim

Writing in RNS, Murali Balaji describes “how India’s foray to the moon might help faiths get along here below.” Indeed, an estimated billion prayers from Christians, Hindus, Jains, Muslims, Sikhs, and more accompanied the successful landing of India’s Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft on the lunar surface on Aug. 23, making India only the fourth country to accomplish this feat.

UCA News quotes the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India: “The progress made by our scientists and engineers in the field of space research is truly commendable and fills our hearts with pride.” Archbishop Andrews Thazhath, the conference president said that “the efforts of ISRO and the entire team behind the project serve as an inspiration to the entire nation.”

In this transformative moment of national success, the G20 Interfaith Forum will gather in Pune, India, at the World Peace Dome, to discuss how holistic development fosters world peace.

Panel: Role of Business in Peace

I’ll be leading a panel at the G20 Interfaith Forum that describes how business is a powerful force for interfaith understanding and peace. Indeed, the technological and scientific advances tied to business that put India on the moon are an example of how development and business can bring people together when they see success as a benefit to everyone.

Business can make significant contributions to advancing interfaith understanding and peace both through both core business and outreach activities. This set of case studies from the UN Global Compact Business for Peace platform and the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation fall into four areas:

Using Marketing Expertise to Bridge Borders: Companies can make positive contributions to peace in society by mobilizing advertising campaigns that bring people of various faiths and backgrounds together, as seen in Coke Serves Up Understanding Across Borders.

Incentivizing Innovation: Because cross-cultural dialogue and cooperation is an essential part of daily work for multinational companies, some have programs that specifically recognize and mentor social enterprises that foster inter-cultural and inter-religious innovation.

Incubating and Catalyzing Social Entrepreneurship: Business can also provide common ground where religious differences give way to shared concern and enterprise. Some initiatives offer support to new entrepreneurs in conflict-affected areas, which can reduce extremism and empower marginalized communities.

Supporting Workforce Diversity: When businesses are sensitive to the religious and cultural issues around them, they can not only increase employee morale and productivity, but also address unmet difficult social needs.

Joining me on the panel to explore these avenues to peace are Salesforce’s Sukie Gandhi, a Manager of Technical Consulting, and Executive Vice President of Salesforce’s “Faithforce Global Equality Group.”

In a visit to the Hyderabad headquarters of Salesforce, I met Sukie as well as the president of Faithforce India, members of their leadership team.

The Faithforce Business Resource Group (BRG) India is a network of 1,500+ members spanning multiple cities. In addition organizing inclusive mindfulness yoga in locations across the country as well as celebrating each other’s festivals and gaining knowledge of each other’s beliefs, they also collaboratively engage in community service.

For example, during last year’s December holidays and their champion month, each office put up a sustainable Christmas Tree through which they collected donations for children in need across India. The donations for this #BeAFaithSanta Drive included hygiene kits, educational kits, clothes, sports equipment and toys. Faithforce members planted the trees afterwards, in partnership with their environmental Business Resource Group – Earthforce.

Each floor also has a purpose-built mindfulness room for meditation and prayer, just as Salesforce offices do worldwide.

Also joining me on the panel is Kiran Yadav, Vice President of the India chapter of the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT India).

The International Institute For Peace Through Tourism (IIPT) is a not for profit organization dedicated to fostering and facilitating tourism initiatives which contribute to international understanding and cooperation, an improved quality of environment, the preservation of heritage, and through these initiatives, helping to bring about a peaceful and sustainable world.

It is based on a vision of the world’s largest industry, travel and tourism – becoming the world’s first global peace industry; and the belief that every traveller is potentially an ‘Ambassador for Peace’. A primary goal of IIPT is to mobilize the travel and tourism industry as a leading force for poverty reduction.

The IIPT Credo of the Peaceful Traveler is:

Grateful for the opportunity to travel and experience the world and because peace begins with the individual, I affirm my personal responsibility and commitment to:

  • – Journey with an open mind and gentle heart
  • – Accept with grace and gratitude the diversity I encounter
  • – Revere and protect the natural environment which sustains all life
  • – Appreciate all cultures I discover
  • – Respect and thank my hosts for their welcome
  • – Offer my hand in friendship to everyone I meet
  • – Support travel services that share these views and act upon them and,
  • – By my spirit, words and actions, encourage others to travel the world in peace

Using Marketing Expertise to Bridge Borders: Companies can make positive contributions to peace in society by mobilizing advertising campaigns that bring people of various faiths and backgrounds together.

Chaplains: Spiritual Leadership for Today and Tomorrow

25 Aug, 2023

Templeton Religion Trust funded project explores the role of chaplains in a society where fewer people are affiliated with formal religious organizations

Chaplains work across and bridge religious and spiritual divides. Chaplains serve people not connected to traditional religious leaders. What if chaplains were trained based on demand for their work in light of today’s changing religious context?

American religious life is changing fast. More people than ever describe themselves as unaffiliated with a religion, especially those under 30. Yet those unaffiliated continue to face unavoidable human challenges such as loss, sickness, life transitions, and death.

Chaplains (or “spiritual care providers”) have long served people in the midst of life’s challenges in places like hospitals, hospices, the military, prisons, and institutions of higher education. More of the people chaplains serve today are not connected to local religious leaders. Looking to the future, it is likely that chaplains will be the primary spiritual and religious leaders who care for growing numbers of people in the United States.

But are chaplains being prepared for this reality?

Historically, chaplains have worked at the margins of society, rarely considered to be religious leaders in the way congregational clergy are. People may have been vaguely aware of the chaplain at their college, or maybe in a military unit. A chaplain may have come by when a loved one was hospitalized or in hospice. Most often, people’s exposure to chaplains has been in brief glimpses.

An important shift is underway, reports Wendy Cadge, Ph.D., a sociology professor at Brandeis University and a founder of the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab. “Until the recent pandemic chaplains were largely overlooked in public discourse,” Cadge reports. “But that changed with significant coverage in major outlets like The Atlantic, The New York Times, and other places. As fewer people are involved with local congregations, chaplains may be the only religious leaders they interact with in traditional settings like the military, prisons and healthcare organizations, and in new places like community organizations, social movements and a broader range of workplaces.” Chaplains don’t usually make the news and do “quiet work in some of life’s most sensitive moments,” Cadge believes.

In this quiet work, chaplains tackle the challenges of pluralism head-on. Going beyond mere tolerance, they’re engaging collaboratively and intimately across spiritual, religious and cultural differences – a mindset and a growing movement known as covenantal pluralism.

Understanding a Widening Gap

“The requirements of chaplains’ work have changed faster than educational programs can keep up with,” says Cadge. “Chaplains are trained in different ways to work in different sectors, siloed in ways that are best neither for the profession nor for the people they serve.”

Also, she adds, while the people who receive their care are diverse, chaplains are still overwhelmingly white, male and Christian. Most have graduate degrees in theology or the equivalent and some clinical training. But surprisingly, there’s no common standard for education, licensure or accreditation. Training curricula vary greatly, and truly interreligious courses or learning experiences tend to be the exception rather than the rule.

Under Cadge’s leadership and with funding from Templeton Religion Trust, the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab is engaged in a major, first-of-its-kind research effort. Working with an advisory committee of 28 stakeholders, including theological and clinical educators and social scientists, the team is collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data about where and how the public interacts with chaplains, the skills chaplains need to do this work well, and how they are trained to do it.

The overall aim is to identify where there is demand for chaplains and their skills, how the current supply of chaplains meets these needs, and where there are gaps in meeting that demand – a first step toward igniting transformative change.

Wendy Cadge

Preparing for the Future

“We are convinced that educators cannot train chaplains well without information about where and how the work of chaplains is in demand, how they are enacting covenantal pluralism in those settings and what training best facilitates their key roles,” Cadge says.

“In some settings, this is demand for an actual chaplain. In other settings, the demand is for the skills of empathetic listening, improvisation, awareness of spiritual, religious and broad existential issues of meaning and purpose, and the knowledge and ability to comfort around death.

“In an age when formal religious identification is on the decline, it is tempting to suggest that the ‘benefits of religion’ have run their course and now are receding,” she continues. “We contend otherwise. Spirituality and religion are changing, not disappearing, and chaplains are changing in the process. Best preparing chaplains to lead in the current moment requires understanding how the public interacts with them and developing training programs based on that demand.”

Building religious freedom for all: Combatting antisemitism and all forms of religious discrimination

23 Aug, 2023

FaithConnect event – Combatting antisemitism – with Google and the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation
From Wednesday, September 6
8:00 AM PT / 11:00 AM ET
Moderator: Marsie Sweetland

Please join us to hear Naomi Kraus from Google speak about antisemitism. Antisemitism is tragically on the rise and Naomi will speak about the current situation and what we can do about it.

Naomi Kraus is a founding member and current Global Chair of Google’s Inter Belief Network ERG and the Global Lead of the Jewglers subchapter. She is the granddaughter of four Holocaust survivors and she will speak on how employee resource groups build religious freedom for all by combatting antisemitism and all forms of religious bias and discrimination. Naomi has been with Google for 11 years and, as a Staff User Experience Content Designer, currently works on numerous projects related to Google Search and Maps.

Brian Grim, founder of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, works with the US White House on their current National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism and he will join us to share some opening words and to introduce Naomi.

Brian Grim to Keynote Employment Law Seminar

22 Aug, 2023

On Thursday, October 12, 2023, Brian Grim*, President of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation will keynote the Fabian VanCott Employment Law & Client Appreciation Seminar.

This year’s seminar will be focused on the theme of employment accommodations in the areas of disability, religion, gender identity, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. The seminar will also feature general updates in employment law, a discussion of data privacy, and a session regarding litigation readiness. Grim will address the impact of religion on workplace non-discrimination programs, DEI initiatives, and on the corporate bottom line.

The seminar will kick off with breakfast and registration from 8:00-8:30am. Following breakfast and registration, attendees will be able to attend five different sessions, ending with lunch and our keynote speaker’s address from 12:00-1:00pm. In addition to participating in the seminar’s programming, each attendee will receive a copy of Fabian VanCott’s complementary Employer’s Guide.

Fabian VanCott clients and those extended an invitation by a Fabian VanCott attorney are welcome to attend. There is no cost for this event.

*Brian Grim is the founding president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation and works with top corporations to include religion and belief as part of their DEI initiatives. Previously, Brian was chair of the World Economic Forum’s council on the role of faith, a Davos speaker, a TEDx speaker at the Vatican, and director of global religion data at the Pew Research Center.

Religious ERGs Research Study

22 Aug, 2023

This research study explores employee experiences in organizations that have religious ERGs. ERGs are voluntary and employee-led groups that meet for the purpose of networking and support. You do not need to be in an ERG or identify as religious to participate; we are interested in the perspectives of all employees.

Participation Requirements:

  • • Be at least 18 years old
  • • Be currently employed at an organization that has one or more religious ERGs
  • • Work in the United States

Participation Involvement:

  • • Participants will take one survey regarding religious ERGs and an optional interview.
  • • The survey will take 10-15 minutes and will be administered online via a shared link. The survey is anonymous.
  • • The optional interview will take 30-45 minutes and be administered via videoconference.

To participate, please scan the QR code or use this survey link.

Investigators, Seattle Pacific University:

  • Helen Chung,
  • Annie Kato,
  • Brielle Baker,

New RFBF Website Resources

18 Aug, 2023

New Resource Pages on Issues & ERGs

By Melissa Grim

I’m excited to share new resource pages on RFBF’s website! In addition to having the videos from Dare to Overcome conferences in 2022 and 2023, we’ve just updated our About landing page and added two new ones: Issues and ERGs.

Our updated About page includes: 1) Training & Consulting (page, video), 2) Dare to Overcome ERG Conferences (page, video), 3) Positive & Global Approach (page, video), 4) Global Awards (page, video), 5) Covenantal Pluralism & Business (page, video), and 6) Research (page, video).

Our new Issues page includes topics and videos on 1) Company Positions vs Employee Beliefs (page, video), 2) Combatting Antisemitism (page, video), 3) EEOC: Best Practices (page, video), 4) SAP: AI, Faith & Ethics (page, video), 5) Ending Human Trafficking (page, video), 6) CVS has Faith Partnerships (page, video), 7) Dr. Grim & Power of Faith @Davos (page, video), 8) EEOC General Counsel on Faith@Work (page, video), and 9) Diversity makes us mission-capable (page, video)!

And, our new ERGS page includes topics and videos on 1) the high level findings from the first edition of the REDI Index (2020) (page, video), 2) Successful ERGs in 5 Companies (page, video), 3) More than “How to” (page, video), 4) Intel (most faith-friendly 2021, 2023) (page, video), 5) Google’s Inter Belief Network (page, video), 6) Texas Instruments: Bring your faith to work (page, video), 7) PayPal: How we did it (page, video), 8) Salesforce has a Faithforce (page, video), 9) DELL: Sustaining an ERG (page, video), 10) American Airlines, 20+ Years! (page, video), 11) the Business Case for Faith-Based ERGs (page, video), 12) a Description of the Movement (page, video), and 13) Faith@Work: More than ERGs (page, video).

Take a look!

Brian Grim to Address 9th IRLA World Congress

15 Aug, 2023

What is the IRLA World Congress?

Every five years the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA) organizes a World Congress to bring together academics, practitioners and activists in the religious liberty cause. The 9th edition of the IRLA Congress will mark 130 years of advocacy.

Brian Grim, president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, will address the 9th World Congress on August 22, 2023. He will discuss how religiously accommodating workplaces build freedom of religion or belief for all.

What will happen at the 9th World Congress?

  • — Three days of stimulating presentations from some of the world’s leading experts in the field of religious liberty.
  • Valuable contacts. Meet and talk with academics, government officials, religious leaders, lawyers, and others from around the globe who care about religious freedom.
  • — Expanded knowledge of current legal, political and social trends, and access to a wealth of practical resources.
  • — Visit the beautiful Washington DC, home to some of the country’s most important institutions and documents dedicated to safeguarding religious freedom.
  • — The largest World Congress to date, celebrating 130 years of advocacy! Don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of this historic event.