Volume 3 Number 16
April 17, 2006

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Compassion Capital Fund

Mentoring of Children of Prisoners

Access to Recovery

Prisoner Re-entry Initiative

WORKSHOP HELD IN FLORIDA FOR FAITH-BASED AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS

An integral part of our nation’s social service network are faith-based and community organizations (FBCOs) which have a long tradition of helping Americans in need.  President Bush has encouraged grants of federal funds to the most effective organizations—whether public or private, large or small, faith-based or secular.  The beneficiaries are America’s poor who are best served by the providers who are most capable of meeting their needs.

President Bush created the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives to strengthen and expand the role of FBCOs in providing social services. The federal government has worked to accomplish this mission through regulatory and policy reforms, legislative efforts, and public outreach to FBCOs. By making information about federal grants more accessible and the application process easier, the Initiative has enabled FBCOs to effectively compete for funds.

The White House is hosting a series of regional conferences and workshops in support of effective faith-based and community social service programs. A one-day event in Jacksonville recently provided participants with information about the grants process and available funding opportunities, an overview of the legal responsibilities that come with the receipt of federal funds and various grant writing tutorials. The conference also provided an opportunity to inform state and local officials about equal treatment regulations and other central elements of the Faith-Based and Community Initiative.

Twelve federal agencies were on hand in Jacksonville to provide grant information and reflect the administration's recognition that faith-based and community organizations are well-situated to partner with the government in serving poor and low-income individuals and families, particularly those with the greatest needs such as families in poverty, prisoners re-entering the community, homeless families, and at-risk youth.

The underlying premise of the President’s Initiative is that an open and competitive federal grant-making process will deliver social services to those whose needs are greatest. Federal agencies have worked on a variety of measures to do this, including making information more accessible, providing training and technical assistance, broadening program eligibility, changing regulations, streamlining grant applications, focusing on the unique needs of grassroots organizations; and eliminating preferential treatment for existing and former grantees.