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 Home > News & Policies > August 2004

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 3, 2004

Fact Sheet: Compassion for Americans in Need

Today's Presidential Action

  • Today, President Bush addressed the Knights of Columbus convention recognizing the work of faith-based and community organizations across the United States as they meet the challenge of bringing help and hope to Americans most in need.
  • The President today announced approximately $188 million in grants to help Americans in need with additional funding of $43 million for the Compassion Capital Fund, which supports the work of over 1,900 local groups and faith-based organizations that assist people in need; $45.5 million for mentoring children of prisoners to care for children at risk and in need of a responsible adult in their lives; and almost $100 million for the Access to Recovery program to help Americans conquer addiction using substance abuse treatment vouchers to access the most effective programs.
  • The President's FY 2005 budget proposal requests an additional $100 million for the Compassion Capital Fund; an additional $50 million for mentoring children of prisoners; and an additional $200 million for Access to Recovery.

Background on Today's Presidential Action

Faith-based and community organizations assist people in need every day, transforming lives with their compassionate acts. President Bush has proposed bold steps to address the challenges of Americans in need by applying the compassion of America to the deepest problems of America. As a result of the President's leadership, funding for these initiatives will enable faith-based and community groups to serve more Americans across the country by:

  • Helping Americans in Need: President Bush created the Compassion Capital Fund three years ago in order to help more Americans in need. Today, the President announced $43 million in 145 grants to support organizations that provide services and support through soup kitchens, homeless shelters, drug treatment centers, job training programs, and other efforts. These grants, awarded through the President's Compassion Capital Fund (CCF), will help faith-based and community organizations increase their ability to provide more social services to those most in need. With today's announcement, the CCF will have provided $99.5 million in grants to 197 organizations and sub-grants to over 1,700 grass-roots organizations since the President created the Fund.
  • Helping Children at Risk: In his 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush called on all Americans to become mentors and share their compassion with children at risk of losing hope. Today, the President announced almost $46 million in grants to faith-based and community organizations to provide mentors to children of prisoners. This three-year, $150 million initiative is focused on providing 100,000 new mentors for some of the two million children with one or more parents in prison. Local programs that receive Federal funds ensure that volunteer mentors are screened, trained, supported, and monitored, and pair them with children in need. Today's awards to 169 new grantees and 52 continuing grantees will provide 33,000 additional children of prisoners with mentoring support.
  • Helping Americans Conquer Addiction: Every year, approximately 100,000 individuals seeking treatment for substance abuse are unable to access services. Many more are unable to achieve full recovery in currently available programs. To address this problem, the President, in his 2003 State of the Union Address, announced the new Access to Recovery (ATR) program to increase access to effective substance abuse treatment. Today, the President announced nearly $100 million in Access to Recovery grants to 14 states and one tribal organization. These grants will help states establish substance abuse treatment vouchers, through which individuals will be able to access comprehensive treatment and recovery programs, including from faith-based and community providers, and exercise choice by selecting the providers that best meet their personal recovery needs. ATR emphasizes results by measuring outcomes including abstinence from substance use, success in school or employment, and no involvement in the criminal justice system.

The President's Call for Compassion in Action

The Federal government does not fund religion, but the President's Faith-Based and Community Initiative does remove discrimination against faith-based and community organizations. The Initiative enables some of the most effective social service providers in America to compete fairly for Federal funding to make a difference in the lives of our most vulnerable citizens without compromising a provider's religious character and independence. Through the President's leadership, significant progress has been made towards bringing more faith-based and community organizations into the Federal grants process, and the results are being seen in communities across America. Through drug treatment centers, mentoring programs, food banks, health centers, job training centers, and other services, these providers are meeting the immediate and future needs of hurting Americans.