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Fact Sheet: Compassion in Action: Helping America's Charities Serve Those Most in Need

March 03, 2004

Today's Presidential Action

President Bush today addressed the White House Conference on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in Los Angeles, where he hailed the great progress being made in helping Americans most in need.

The President's Faith-Based and Community Initiative does not fund religion -- but it does allow some of America's most effective social service providers to compete for Federal funding to serve the needy while retaining their religious identity. Through soup kitchens, homeless shelters, drug treatment centers, job training programs, and other efforts, these charities are making a real difference in the lives of our most vulnerable citizens.

The President's initiative is producing real results, and data from a review of 140 programs at the Departments of Heath and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, and Education showed:

  • From FY 2002 to FY 2003, grants to faith-based organizations increased substantially in the two departments that have comparison data available. Within the programs reviewed, the number of Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grants awarded to faith-based organizations increased 41% (from 483 to 680), representing a 19% increase in total funding (from $477 million to $568 million). Within the programs reviewed, at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the number of grants to faith-based charities increased 16% (from 659 to 765), representing an increase of 11% in total funding.
  • During that same period, there was a surge in the number of grants going to first-time grantees that are faith-based groups. For example, HHS had a 50% increase in grant awards (from 86 to 129) and HUD had a 100% increase in grant funding to first-time grantees (from $56 million to $113 million). This shows that faith-based groups, when permitted, can compete successfully with other social service organizations.

As a result of the President's leadership, faith-based organizations are now eligible to receive Federal funds through the President's Access to Recovery initiative to expand drug treatment options. The Department of Health and Human Services is making $100 million available to up to 15 states to extend drug treatment to 50,000 more Americans and, for the first time, individuals seeking drug treatment can choose programs like Teen Challenge or other faith-based and community programs.

State and local governments are following the President's lead and working to partner with faith-based charities. Nationwide, 19 governors (10 Democrats and 9 Republicans) have faith-based offices, as do 180 mayors in cities including Denver, Miami, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles.

President Bush also highlighted new regulatory reforms at four Federal agencies that, when finalized later this year, will implement his Equal Treatment Executive Order signed in December 2002 ensuring equal treatment for faith-based and community organizations.

Background: Compassion in Action

For years, faith-based and community groups have been assisting people in need. They have transformed lives with their compassion -- helping to address many of our country's most challenging social problems, one act of kindness at a time. Unfortunately, the Federal government has often not been a willing partner with these faith-based and community groups. Instead, it has put in place complicated rules and regulations that hinder these groups from competing for Federal funds on equal footing with other organizations.

The President's Faith-Based and Community Initiative helps charitable organizations compete on a level playing field for Federal social service funds. These programs help millions of Americans in need each year to conquer addiction, provide for themselves and their children, and address other basic needs.

President Bush believes that to best serve Americans in need, charitable groups of all kinds should not be discriminated against in competing for Federal social service funds as long as they obey all legal requirements. As a result of the President's leadership, significant progress is being made, and the results are being seen in communities across America.

Examples include:

  • The Fishing School (Washington, DC) -- This after-school program was selected as a Supplemental Service Provider under the No Child Left Behind Act in 2003 to help educate students who attend public schools in need of improvement.
  • Greater Exodus Baptist Church and Bright Hope Baptist Church/Amachi (Philadelphia, PA) -- These churches are part of a 15-city pilot program that mentors the children of prisoners, in cooperation with the Corporation for National Community Service and the Department of Health and Human Services. This grant was part of the $9 million awarded to 52 faith-based and community organizations to mentor 6,000 children of prisoners in FY 2003, and this year $50 million will be available to help 30,000 of these children.
  • Holy Redeemer Institutional Church of God in Christ Social Services (Milwaukee, WI) -- In 2003, the church received an HHS Compassion Capital Fund Grant of $626,598 to provide welfare-to-work training and technical assistance to other faith-based and community groups around the Milwaukee metro area.

George W. Bush, Fact Sheet: Compassion in Action: Helping America's Charities Serve Those Most in Need Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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