Management of Faith-Based and Community Initiative Requires Strong Objectives, Measurement, and Accountability
"[G]ood beginnings are not the measure of success. What matters in the end is completion. Performance. Results. Not just making promises, but making good on promises."
--President George W. Bush on the President’s Management Agenda
The Faith-Based and Community Initiative (FBCI) operates under a rigorous management agenda with clear objectives, multi-tiered measures of progress, and rigorous accountability systems.
Strategic objectives for all Federal agencies with FBCI Centers are established annually through the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) and evaluated quarterly by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Annual PMA objectives and standards for FBCI progress are set by the White House OFBCI and OMB and are translated into quarterly strategic goals by each agency’s senior management in collaboration with its FBCI Center.
Agencies are evaluated and scored each quarter by OMB for achievement of FBCI objectives. The PMA standards and rating system ensures that the senior leadership of each agency includes FBCI standards as key aspects of management strategy.
Since FY 2003, the FBCI has collected and analyzed data on Federal grant awards annually through a process that grows more sophisticated every year. The annual data collection seeks to measure delivery of financial resources to front-line allies in addressing human need, gauge whether barriers to the participation of faith-based organizations are falling, and serve as a proxy measurement of government’s effectiveness in addressing human need.
FY 2006 data captured more than 27,000 direct Federal competitive awards. Of these, more than 15,000 were won by secular nonprofits and more than 3,000 by faith-based nonprofits. In total, secular nonprofits won $12.56 billion and faith-based nonprofits won $2.18 billion.
Grant award trends evidence a leveling of the playing field for faith-based organizations and expansion of partnerships with nonprofits of all stripes to address social ills.
A comparison of awards between FY 2003 and FY 2006 across the first five agencies with FBCI Centers reveals a 41 percent increase in the number of competitive awards made to faith-based organizations, from 1,634 to 2,300.
Data for competitive awards to secular nonprofits saw an upward trend, as well, with a 19 percent increase in the number of awards made from FY 2004 to FY 2006 (Secular nonprofit data was not collected for FY 2003).
Compared against grants in the late 1990’s for Welfare-to-Work, one of the first government programs that sought grant applications by faith-based organizations, the data collection reveals a remarkable leveling of the playing field.
The 3,125 competitive Federal awards won by faith-based charities represents 11.3 percent of all awards in FY 2006, a rate more than triple the three percent of awards won under Welfare-to-Work in FY 1998 and FY 1999.
The 11.2 percent of all competitive award funding won by faith-based organizations in FY 2006 represents a more than five-fold increase over the two percent of funding won by faith-based groups under Welfare-to-Work programs.
The Faith-Based and Community Initiative Conference on Research, Outcomes, & Evaluation will be held in Washington, D.C., June 26 and 27, 2008. The Conference will explore the full gamut of both qualitative and quantitative research on the FBCI’s history, activities, and outcomes. The Conference and its follow-on materials are being planned to include:
Reports on quantitative and qualitative results of the FBCI’s signature programs and other major undertakings;
Ten new academic papers by respected independent researchers on FBCI programs and innovations in social services delivery;
Results of the FBCI’s FY 2007 data collection;
Reports from Federal agencies on the impact of the FBCI within their field(s) of engagement;
A report on the expansion of the FBCI in State and local governments nationwide and the impact of the FBCI through major international programs;
Presentations from leading scholars, writers, think tanks, and other respected observers on the innovations, results-to-date and future of the FBCI; and
A Web site that parallels and expands upon the content provided through the Conference, including more than 100 studies of FBCI-related programs.