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 Home > News & Policies > February 2008

For Immediate Release
February 7, 2008

White House Compassion in Action Roundtable Highlights Transformational Efforts of International Social Enterprise

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI) today convened a Compassion in Action policy roundtable, highlighting innovative ways American social enterprise abroad is redefining the concept of philanthropy. Hosted by OFBCI Director Jay Hein, the event assembled key government, business, religious and non-government organization leaders to explore innovative development efforts, particularly in Africa, through collaborations with indigenous faith-based and secular organizations, as well as public-private partnerships with foreign governments to help build national infrastructure.

Among the social entrepreneurs featured at today's event were Chris Crane, Chief Executive Officer of Opportunity International; author and pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California; and Ward Brehm, Chairman of the U.S. African Development Foundation, who also offered the keynote address at the National Prayer Breakfast attended by President Bush this morning. These individuals are engaging in effective partnerships abroad and answering the President's call to serve causes greater than self.

"America's social entrepreneurs are redefining the way our nation addresses human need," Jay Hein said. "By uniting the best of private enterprise, community- and faith-based nonprofits, and government resources, these innovators exemplify the President's vision for compassionate results."

Today's event serves as a precursor for President Bush and Mrs. Bush's trip to Africa this month. They will visit Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, and Liberia. This trip will be an opportunity for the President to review firsthand the significant progress since his last visit in 2003 in efforts to increase economic development and fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other treatable diseases, as a result of the United States robust programs in these areas.

The discussion explored effective models reflecting the President's vision for local solutions to human need, combining the unique strengths of government, faith-based and community organizations, and private enterprise. As international aid and development transitions from the direct delivery of government services to innovative public-private partnerships, indigenous faith-based and community organizations serve as vital players in this new landscape.

For example, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provides funds to the Partnerships to Enhance Agriculture in Rwanda through Linkages (PEARL) project to help build grassroots networks with indigenous Rwandan organizations and improve the country's developing economy. Additionally, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is impacting change through local partnerships, over 80% of which are with faith-based and community organizations.

President Bush's Faith-Based and Community Initiative (FBCI) is built from the conviction that the most effective way to address our communities' great needs is to draw upon the unique strengths of every willing community and faith-based partner. He launched the FBCI upon taking office in January 2001, to strengthen America's nonprofit sector and extend its work in partnership with government.

Seven years ago today, in the Oval Office, the President detailed specific plans for the Initiative and called for a level playing field for faith-based and community groups to compete for Federal funds. As such, the Initiative has launched a range of policy reforms and programs that make community-based and faith-based organizations a central part of solving problems, from aiding prisoner reentry efforts and fighting homelessness to addressing AIDS in Africa.

Since April 2006, the OFBCI has convened monthly Compassion in Action policy roundtables to discuss issues of interest faith- and community-based organizations and highlight honor the successes of dedicated Americans helping their neighbors in need.

For more information on the OFBCI and the President's compassion agenda, visit: /government/fbci/.