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 Home > News & Policies > March 2005

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 1, 2005

Fact Sheet: Compassion in Action: Producing Real Results for Americans Most in Need

Today's Presidential Action

  • Today, President Bush addressed the White House Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Leadership Conference, hailing the progress being made to help Americans most in need.
  • The President's Faith-Based and Community Initiative levels the playing field for some of America's most effective social service providers to compete for Federal funding to serve those most in need while retaining their religious identity. These charities are making a real difference in the lives of our most vulnerable citizens.
  • The President's Initiative is Producing Real Results for Americans in Need. Recent data from a review of programs at the Departments of Heath and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Justice, Labor, Education, and Agriculture and the Agency for International Development showed:
    • To help Americans in need, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2004, $2 billion in competitive grants across seven Federal agencies were awarded to faith-based organizations - 10.3% of the total funding awarded through 151 programs and 17 program areas. This is up from last year when $1.17 billion was awarded in grants to faith-based groups across five agencies. In one year, HHS, HUD, Justice, Labor, and Education saw a 20% increase in the number of grants to faith-based organizations with 334 more grants awarded, and a 14% increase in the amount awarded to faith-based organizations - an increase of $164 million.
    • When given a level playing field, faith-based groups can compete successfully with other social service organizations. The number of first-time faith-based grantees across the same five Federal agencies was 331 in FY 2004 - representing a 20% increase from FY 2003.
    • Due to the President's leadership, more faith-based organizations are participating in the Federal grants process. HHS programs represented the majority of available funding included in the report. HHS saw an 88% increase in the number of awards to faith-based organizations since FY 2002 - from 483 to 908. Since FY 2002, first-time HHS grants to faith-based groups have more than doubled.
  • Expanding Individual Choice and Equal Treatment. The President is committed to providing individuals choice instead of shuffling them through programs where they do not recover or find jobs or housing. Under the President's direction, Federal agencies administering social services are working to identify programs that could be changed to expand individual choice, including in mentoring, housing counseling and transitional housing, after-school programs, and homeless services. President Bush is also working to ensure equal treatment for faith-based and community organizations at the state and local level where social services are funded with taxpayer dollars.
  • Pushing for Charitable Tax Incentives and Protection of Religious Hiring. The President has called on Congress to pass his proposals for tax incentives for charitable giving. President Bush has also called for action from Congress to extend the charitable choice provisions that prevent discrimination against faith-based organizations, protect the religious freedom of beneficiaries, and preserve religious hiring rights.

Background on the President's Compassion in Action

In communities across the United States, faith-based and community groups have a long history of assisting people in need. They continue to transform and change lives with their compassionate acts. President Bush believes local community groups can best serve Americans in need, and the Federal government should not discriminate against charitable groups of any kind in awarding Federal social service funds as long as all legal requirements are met.

As a result of the President's leadership, significant progress is being made, and the results are being seen in the lives of Americans across our country. The President's efforts to support compassion in action include:

  • Protecting the Religious Hiring Rights of Faith-Based Charities. For over 30 years, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act has protected the right of faith-based organizations to make employment decisions based on religion. The President believes a faith-based organization should not have to give up a part of its religious identity and mission in order to receive Federal funds. President Bush has called for action from Congress to extend charitable choice provisions that prevent discrimination against faith-based organizations, protect the religious freedom of beneficiaries, and preserve religious hiring rights - provisions signed by President Clinton on four occasions. Due to the debate over protection of religious hiring, Congress has failed to reauthorize several Federal social service programs, hampering many needed reforms.
  • Ensuring Equal Treatment at the State and Local Level. Much progress has been made at the Federal level to ensure equal treatment of all applicants; however, the majority of Federally funded social services are administered by state and local governments. Federal agencies must ensure that state and local agencies are complying with the regulatory reforms that implement the President's Executive Order for Equal Protection of the Laws for Faith-based and Community Organizations signed in December 2002 to guarantee equal treatment for faith-based and community groups. Today, 24 governors (14 Republicans and 10 Democrats) and over 115 mayors have established faith-based and community offices.
  • Tax Incentives Promoting Charitable Giving. Since 2001, the President has proposed tax incentives to promote charitable giving in each budget, and Congress has not passed this needed legislation that would benefit Americans most in need. The President renewed his commitment to promoting charitable giving in his FY 2006 budget, which includes food donation enhancements and provisions to permit individuals to direct a portion of their retirement accounts to a charity.

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