Archive for the ‘Faith-based’ Category

As Congress last week considered extending tax incentives for charitable giving, it received new information that the federal government is increasingly relying on charities to deliver health care, education and human services in America. That increase was reflected in more federal money to nonprofit organizations and a growth in the number of public charities, according to a study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress.

Researchers estimated that federal money to nonprofit organizations increased more than 230 percent from 1980 to 2004, when adjusted for inflation. And the number of registered public charities has grown more than 30 percent since 2000 from about 646,000 to 851,000.

The report said the growing number of charities was the result of a decades-long shift away from government directly providing services, the elimination of large public care facilities in favor of smaller community-based organizations, and a trend in programs like welfare away from federal control and toward more local autonomy. Those changes resulted in a greater role and presence for nonprofit organizations delivering services traditionally provided by the government.

The GAO study, Nonprofit Sector: Increasing Numbers and the Key Rle in Delivering Fedeeral Servces can be found: here.

Need help positioning your organization to partner with government in providing mission-based services? Let us here you. See your services: here.

Source: The Roundtable on Religion & Social Welfare Policy. The Roundtable is a program of the Rockefeller Institute of Government, State University of New York.

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dollarThe Office of Community Services (OCS) is now accepting applications for funding from the Compassion Capital Fund (CCF) Communities Empowering Youth (CEY) program. To view the full program announcement, please click here.

The CEY program seeks to build the organizational capacity, sustainability, and effectiveness of experienced organizations working through community collaborations to reduce gang involvement, youth violence, and child abuse and neglect. OCS will award funds to build the organizational capacity of the lead organizations, their collaborating faith-based and/or community partners, and the resulting community collaborations to address issues facing America’s disadvantaged youth and promote positive youth development.

OCS anticipates making thirty awards of up to $250,000 each per year for a total of approximately $7.5 million. CEY projects last thirty-six months with three twelve-month budget periods.

More information on who may apply, how to apply, and details regarding CEY grant requirements is contained in the program announcement.

The application deadline is July 10, 2007.

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editorialI don’t care a fig about our next president’s personal religious views. The candidate can worship the Great Pumpkin, for all I care, as long as he or she doesn’t assume that the rest of us do too, and that the Great Pumpkin told him to do things such as, to take a case at random, invade Iraq.

But I certainly want to know what any presidential candidate thinks government should and should not do to protect freedom of religion and freedom from religion. The candidate may be a person of deep faith or a godless atheist, but what matters to me is the candidate’s willingness, and ability, to ensure that the law protects the rights of other people to have their own deep faith or godless atheism, and keep them from messing with one another.

I pledge allegiance to the first amendment, which I interpret to mean that government shouldn’t traffic with religion—neither promote it nor persecute it—and this means that, in the public arena, the candidate should not use religious rhetoric, which does nothing but harm, fogging over the clear lines of argument on the issues and eliciting irrelevant and irrational choices in the electorate.

As someone once said of objectivity in science, just because we cannot produce a perfectly sterile environment is no reason to perform surgery in a sewer. In the context of the presidential elections, this would mean that the candidates should debate the issues entirely on their own merits, not with reference to whatever religious (or other) feelings or beliefs may have brought them to their conclusions.

Of course religious (or non-religious) beliefs will play an important part in their judgments about such matters as abortion and euthanasia and stem cell research and the rights of gay and lesbian people to marry, and a less obvious part in judgments about poverty, war, justice, and even about health care, the homeless, and global warming. But those judgments must stand, and be judged, on their own merits, regardless of what beliefs underlie them.

I don’t care how they got to where they stand; I care about where they stand.

This is what I think should happen. What will actually happen is, alas, just the opposite. But let’s try to keep the surgery as far out of the sewer as we can manage.

Source: The Great Pumpkin Goes to Washington, By Wendy Doniger, Professor, History of Religions, University of Chicago, Divinity School. January 30, 2007

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dollarWeekly funding update for faith- and community-based organizations. Find the funding announcements here.

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dollar3Nonprofits—including community and faith-based organizations and Tribal organizations—are invited to compete for grants of up to $50,000 through Health and Human Services’ Compassion Capital Fund (CCF) Targeted Capacity Building Program. All the information necessary to apply for these grants can be found here.

CCF Targeted Capacity Building grants are awarded to grassroots faith-based and community organizations serving distressed communities. These grassroots organizations must use the funds in one of the four social service priority areas of need (e.g., at-risk youth, homelessness, healthy marriage, or rural communities) toward their organization’s capacity building in at least one of five critical areas of capacity building: (1) leadership development, (2) organizational development, (3) program development, (4) revenue development strategies, and (5) community engagement.

The Office of Community Services anticipates awarding a total of $10 million in grants to approximately 200 organizations. The application deadline is April 10.

Questions should be directed to:
Barbara Ziegler-Johnson. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Community Services Operation Center. Compassion Capital Fund Demonstration Program. 1515 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 100, Arlington , VA 22209. Phone: 800-281-9519

Again, information on this funding opportunity can be found here.

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church-state1According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, since 2000, courts have ruled that more than a dozen federally financed efforts break the constitution’s ban on mixing government and religion, but such projects continue to receive money, reports The New York Times in special series on faith and government aid.

In an Iowa case, a judge ordered a prison ministry to repay more than $1.5-million in government money, in what the paper says was a rare effort to levy a penalty. The Iowa judge said a prison ministry’s effort to help jail inmates broke the constitution by emphasizing evangelical Protestant views and not encouraging participation by people of differing views.

The ministry has appealed the court’s decision, and the attorneys general of nine states are protesting the decision.

Jay Hein, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, said the decision in that case was unfair and that in general, he thinks the benefits of federal financing of religious programs outweighed the risk that the Constitution would be violated.

Government auditors have also raised many questions about the efforts to mingle government and religion, the newspaper said, but new federal rules may make it tougher for auditors to continue to monitor programs.

Read the entire article here.

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church-state1The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case to determine if private citizens have the right to sue certain programs run through the White House’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, reports The New York Times.

I for one welcome the Court’s review of the federal incursion into direct funding for faith-based initiatives. Under the guise of “leveling the playing field” many of these religious organizations have been allowed to circumvent established law such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and provisions of the Civil Right Act as well as local ordinances preventing discrimination against gay and lesbians. The framers of the constitution established an “impenetrable wall” between church and state for a reason. Now, we need the Supreme Court to speak.

Read the article here.

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