Presidential Initiatives to Rally the Armies of Compassion
President Bush launched the Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (FBCI) on January 29, 2001, ordering a "comprehensive effort to enlist, equip, enable, empower, and expand the work of faith-based and other community organizations."
The President's first two Executive Orders created the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI) to lead this sweeping effort and established five initial Centers for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives charged with implementing the Initiative’s vision within the policies and programs of Federal agencies.
Today, FBCI Centers operate in 11 major Federal agencies, each with its own distinct portfolio of vital issues, from at-risk youth to addiction to HIV/AIDS.
Over seven years, the White House OFBCI and the Agency Centers have collaborated to transform the way government addresses human need. Together, they have:
Removed barriers and launched innovative programs to enable the government to form unprecedented partnerships with small, community-based nonprofits organizations.
Established a level playing field for faith-based organizations and set clear, constitutional guidelines for their use of public funds.
Delivered in-person training to more than 100,000 social entrepreneurs on methods to better track their outcomes, write grants, and develop other key skills that help their organizations maximize impact for the people they serve.
The President’s FBCI vision for empowering local, personal-touch solutions to human need is active across virtually every Federal enterprise that engages poverty, disease, and other social ills. Rejecting models that rely on distant, faceless bureaucracies, the FBCI pairs the resources of government with the unique strengths of local faith-based and community organizations. Snapshots of this vision in action include:
Prisoner Reentry: Through the President’s Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI) and other programs, returning offenders are linked with FBCOs that help them find work, connect with mentors, and avoid relapse into criminal activity. Released inmates who participate in this initiative are returning to prison at less than half the national rate.
Children of Prisoners: More than 70,000 children with parents behind bars have been matched with caring mentors under the Mentoring Children of Prisoners (MCP) program, which is on track to reach its goal of 100,000 matches this year.
Reducing Homelessness: Hundreds of new and expanded government partnerships with FBCOs are aiding in the reduction of homelessness throughout the Nation. Data indicate that from 2005 to 2006, the number of chronically homeless individuals across America dropped by 12 percent, meaning more than 20,000 individuals moved from the streets or shelters into a new residence. Moreover, from 2003 to 2006, the number of direct nonprofit grantees of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department's Continuum of Care program to reduce homelessness grew by more than 30 percent, from 1,609 to 2,096. Meanwhile, the number of FBCOs funded through the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs’ Homeless Veterans Grant and Per Diem Program grew by 274 percent from 2002 to 2006.
Addiction: To date, nearly 200,000 recovering addicts have received vouchers that allow them to choose among a range of clinical and supportive services through the Access to Recovery (ATR) program. Thousands of FBCOs have provided services through ATR, many of them partnering with government for the first time. Early program evaluations suggest results that outpace more traditional service models.
FBCO Capacity to Attack Diverse Needs: Since 2002, the Compassion Capital Fund has provided small grants to more than 5,000 FBCOs to strengthen their organizations and extend their services. In a recent evaluation, 88 percent of participating organizations reported the aid has boosted outcomes for their clients.
Health in High-Need Areas: The President’s Health Center Initiative has reached the goal of creating or expanding Community Health Centers in over 1,200 health sites in order to provide health care for low-income people. The latest numbers reveal this effort has boosted the number of low-income individuals receiving medical services from local clinics by 4.7 million since 2001. Funding for community-based health centers in 2008 represents a nearly $900 million (77 percent) increase over 2001 levels. Faith-based centers are an important part of this work, with $70 million won by faith-based organizations in 2006 alone.
Students in Struggling Schools: Supplemental Educational Services (SES) provides parents of students in struggling schools with choices for tutoring services from public and private providers, including FBCOs. With more than 500,000 served in the 2005-2006 school year alone, participating students scored higher in both reading and math in the first year after receiving SES and even better in subsequent years. Participation is highest among African-Americans and Hispanics.
Unemployment: The U.S. Department of Labor has advanced a range of new programs that support partnership between FBCOs and local government training offices to help high-need individuals secure and retain employment. Currently halfway through the grant cycle, 78 FBCO grantees have used awards from $25,000 to $75,000 and leveraged 50,000 volunteer hours to place more than 6,000 high-need (e.g., homeless, limited English, ex-offender) clients in jobs or training.
The Global HIV/AIDS Crisis: The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) represents massive-scale implementation of the FBCI's vision. In PEPFAR's 15 focus countries, more than 80 percent of PEPFAR partners are indigenous organizations, nearly a quarter of them faith-based. By focusing on principles that have changed behavior and rooting solutions in community-based partners, this program is succeeding. The President is calling on Congress to double PEPFAR's historic initial commitment of $15 billion with an additional $30 billion over the next five years.
Malaria: The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) draws heavily upon FBCO partners to deliver effective malaria prevention and medical treatment in Africa. Progress is strong toward the goal of cutting malaria-caused deaths by 50 percent, and PMI has already reached 25 million individuals with malaria treatment and prevention efforts.