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A More Compassionate America

"[W]e have set out to promote the work of community and faith-based charities. We want to encourage the inspired, to help the helper. Government cannot be replaced by charities, but it can welcome them as partners instead of resenting them as rivals. My Administration will put the Federal government squarely on the side of America's armies of compassion. Our plan will not favor religious institutions over non-religious institutions. As President, I'm interested in what is constitutional, and I'm interested in what works. The days of discriminating against religious institutions, simply because they are religious, must come to an end."

- President George W. Bush, February 1, 2001

The Accomplishments

Supporting Faith-based and Community Charities

  • Immediately upon taking office the President established the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which rests on a basic principle: when it sees social needs in America, the Federal government will look to faith-based programs and community groups to help.
  • The President signed an Executive Order to end discrimination against faith-based groups, helping bring down barriers that had prevented faith-based organizations from being considered in the Federal grants process. As a result of the President's efforts, more than $1.1 billion in Federal discretionary grants were awarded to faith-based groups in 2003.
  • President Bush launched Access to Recovery, a proposed three-year, $600 million drug treatment voucher initiative, which will give addicts expanded access to a full range of faith-based and community providers.
  • In 2003, the President's Compassion Capital Fund provided $30 million in grants to more than 80 faith-based and community organizations. Nearly $50 million in grants are available in 2004.
  • President Bush proposed a three-year, $450 million initiative to provide mentors for disadvantaged youth, including the children of prisoners.
  • To help former prisoners contribute to society and stay away from crime, the President proposed a four-year, $300 million initiative to provide job training and placement services, transitional housing assistance, and mentoring to 50,000 former inmates.
Building on Welfare Reform
  • The largest welfare caseload decline in history occurred between 1996 and 2003, with the caseload falling 60 percent.
  • Building on past welfare reform successes, President Bush has advocated a plan to help more welfare recipients achieve independence through work. Welfare recipients would be required to spend 40 hours per week, either working at a job or in a program designed to help them achieve independence.
  • The Bush Administration has provided historically high levels of funding for child care.
Combating HIV/AIDS Domestically
  • President Bush proposed $17.1 billion in spending in his 2005 budget to expand prevention, care and treatment, and research efforts to combat HIV/AIDS within the United States.
  • The President proposed more than $2 billion for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, which provides care and treatment for those living with HIV/AIDS, and $2.7 billion for HIV/AIDS research, a 21 percent increase over 2001 funding.
Battling Homelessness
  • In 2003, the Bush Administration announced the largest amount of homeless assistance in history, $1.27 billion to fund 3,700 local housing and service programs around the country.
  • President Bush has proposed the Samaritan Initiative, a new $70 million program to provide supportive services and housing for chronically homeless individuals.
  • The Interagency Council on Homelessness has been revitalized, bringing together 20 Federal agencies to coordinate efforts to end chronic homelessness in 10 years.
Helping Americans with Disabilities
  • President Bush announced the New Freedom Initiative to promote the full participation of people with disabilities in all areas of society by increasing access to assistive technologies, expanding educational and employment opportunities, and promoting full access to community life.
  • President Bush requested the largest increases of any President in history for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, securing more than $3.7 billion in additional funding since 2001.
  • The President fulfilled his promise to fully implement requirements that all Federal government electronic and information technologies be accessible to individuals with disabilities.
  • The President proposed $739 million through 2009 to remove transportation barriers still faced by individuals with disabilities and has obtained $20 million in matching grants to help people with disabilities buy equipment for telecommuting to work.
Fostering a Culture of Service and Citizenship
  • In his 2002 State of the Union address the President announced the USA Freedom Corps to foster a culture of service, citizenship, and responsibility. In less than three years the USA Freedom Corps, the largest clearinghouse of volunteer service opportunities ever created, has enlisted millions of new volunteers.
  • This year AmeriCorps, the domestic service program headed by the Corporation for National and Community Service, will grow to 75,000 members - a 50 percent increase.
  • The Peace Corps received its largest budget ever and has grown to nearly 7,600 volunteers, its highest enrollment in almost three decades.
  • Senior Corps has increased by almost 100,000 members in the last year. Today, more than a half-million members participate in its three programs: Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, Senior Companions, and Foster Grandparents.
  • Almost two million students have volunteered through the Learn and Serve America programs, which incorporate community service into academic and extracurricular activities to make service an integral part of education.
  • Today, more than 1,200 local communities have formed Citizen Corps Councils, which contribute to community emergency preparation, prevention, and response activities.
  • More than 5,000 Americans are serving in the new Medical Reserve Corps. The Corps brings together volunteers trained in medicine, who will assist emergency response teams during large-scale medical emergencies.
  • There are more than 9,700 registered Neighborhood Watch programs, which have been expanded to incorporate terrorism prevention and education into their existing crime prevention mission.
  • Participants in Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) have increased 900 percent, and over 50,000 people have completed Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training.


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