The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
April 15, 2008

White House Compassion in Action Roundtable Highlights Partnerships with Faith-Based and Community Organizations to Promote Healthy Marriages and Families

"My administration will give unprecedented support to strengthening marriages. Many good programs help couples who want to get married and stay married." President Bush, Feb.26, 2002

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI) today convened a Compassion in Action policy roundtable, highlighting innovative policies and partnerships to strengthen marriages and families. Hosted by OFBCI Director Jay Hein, the event explored effective models for Federal collaboration with faith-based and community organizations to help Americans who choose marriage succeed in marriage and, in turn, promote the well-being of our nation's communities.

Bringing together policymakers, business leaders, philanthropists, government officials and others, today's Compassion in Action roundtable featured promising public-private partnerships, new research, and activities of philanthropic organizations to strengthen the institution of marriage. Featured speakers included Joyce Thomas, regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Administration for Children and Families; Wade Horn, director of Deloitte Consulting LLP; Randy Hicks, president of the Georgia Family Council; and representatives from other philanthropic and non-government organizations.

"Healthy marriages are a keystone to the success of our nation," said Director Jay Hein. "Working alongside community leaders to strengthen marriages in America, we help ensure a more hopeful future of our children and our society."

President Bush has led efforts to promote healthy marriages and parenting education, placing emphasis on innovative partnerships with community efforts to improve the well-being of families throughout the nation. For example, the Healthy Marriage Initiative at HHS' Administration for Children and Families provides couples with knowledge and guidance on sustaining healthy marriages and parenting relationships. Additionally, HHS' Promoting Responsible Fatherhood initiative provides resources to help fathers play a positive role in their children's lives, particularly within a healthy marriage environment.

Evidence suggests that the health of marriage in America will play a key role in determining the future of our children, families and society itself. A study released today by the Institute for American Values titled, The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing, reveals the

cost of family fragmentation to taxpayers and concludes that unnecessary divorce and unmarried childbearing carry profound public policy implications. The study also examines positive personal and societal impacts of healthy marriages and child rearing, which lead to decreased need for publicly-funded social programs.

Additionally, a 2005 study by HHS' Center for Marriage and Families titled, Why Marriage Matters, Second Edition, examines the importance of marriage on families and American society. The study indicates that, particularly among minorities, couples from disadvantaged backgrounds who marry and stay married are much less likely to suffer poverty or other material hardship. The research also concludes that married men are less likely to engage in violent and criminal activity. These and other family and marriage studies help shine a light on deep-seeded societal issues in ways that can guide government and private-sector organizations in determining ways to engage the root of these problems.

During today's roundtable, Director Hein recognized business leader and philanthropist Truett Cathy, who received a lifetime President's Volunteer Service Award this morning from President Bush in the Oval Office. Mr. Cathy was recognized for his lifetime of dedicated service to others in need, including his founding of WinShape Foundation, which provides various youth mentoring and marriage counseling services for individuals of all ages.

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. The President launched the FBCI in January 2001 to strengthen America's nonprofit sector and extend its work in partnership with government.

Since January 2007, the OFBCI has convened monthly Compassion in Action policy roundtables to discuss issues of interest to faith- and community-based organizations and honor the successes of dedicated Americans helping their neighbors in need. The roundtables convene and facilitate discussion between key government and private sector players around targeted issues.

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


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