FACT SHEET: Task Force for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
The delivery of social services must be results-oriented and should
value the bedrock principles of pluralism, nondiscrimination, evenhandedness,
President George W. Bush
On January 29, 2001, President Bush issued two executive orders related
to improving the participation of faith-based and community organizations
in federal funding supporting the delivery of social services. The first
executive order established a White
House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. The second
order established centers to implement this Initiative at the Department
of Justice, along with the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services,
Education, and Housing and Urban Development. Additional centers have
since been established at the Department of Agriculture, Corporation
for National Community Service, the Small Business Administration, the
United States Agency for International Development, Homeland Security,
and Veterans Affairs.
The Task-Force for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives is the result
of President Bush's order to create a center at the Department of Justice.
In July 2001, the Task Force released a comprehensive survey of the
programs in the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs to
determine if there are inappropriate barriers to the full participation
of faith-based organizations in applying for government grants and cooperative
agreements. The survey also looked at how these programs might be made
more accessible to faith-based and other small community groups. In
August of 2001, the White House issued its report, Unlevel Playing Field,
based on the work of the five centers.
The Creation of a Level Playing Field
On December 12, 2002, President Bush issued an executive order that called for equal opportunity for and equal treatment of faith-based and other community organizations in social service funding by the federal government. The executive order provides that in federal government contracting, grant making, and other areas where federal money would be distributed, no organization would be discriminated against on the basis of religion or religious belief. In addition, the order explains how federal money could and could not be used by any organization, including faith-based ones, in order to comply with Constitutional requirements.
In 2004 the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued its Equal Treatment Regulations (28 CFR 38.1 and 38.2) that implements the President's executive order in regard to programs at the department. The regulations ensure that faith-based and other community organizations may apply for appropriate DOJ grants and contracts on an equal basis with other non-government organizations:
- They prohibit discrimination for or against an organization on the basis of religion or religious character in the award or administration of federal funds;
- They allow a religious organization that participates in DOJ programs to retain its independence, form of governance, and its mission, provided that it does not use DOJ funds for inherently religious activities (i.e., proselytizing, worship, religious instruction);
- They preserve the right of faith-based organizations to include inherently religious activities in their programs as long as the activities are separate in time or place from the portion of the program funded by DOJ, and as long as the participation in these activities by program beneficiaries is voluntary; and
- They clarify that faith-based organizations can use their facilities to provide DOJ-funded services without removing religious art, icons, scriptures, or other religious symbols.
The mission of the Task Force is "to coordinate efforts to eliminate
regulatory, contracting, and other programmatic obstacles to the participation
of faith-based and other community organizations in the provision of
social services." Executive Order 13198, Sec. 2, 66 Fed. Reg. 8497 (Jan.
Working with various components within the Department of Justice, the
Task Force is able to provide assistance in identifying resources and
training to faith-based and other community organizations. The Task
Force does not make the decisions about which groups are funded. Those
decisions are made through a careful application and review process
established by each of the Department's grant making and contracting
components. There is no funding set aside for faith-based organizations,
nor is there a separate fund established by the White House, the Department
of Justice, or any of the other Centers for Faith-Based and Community
Initiatives. Faith-based and other community organizations are currently
eligible to apply for a variety of programs administered by the Bureau
of Prisons, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, the
Office of Justice Programs, the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration
Related Unfair Employment Practices, and the Office on Violence Against
Learn about funding opportunities
to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service newsletter
Want to learn more about the rules that apply to faith-based and community organizations when they partner (or would like to partner) with the Federal government, but don't have a lot of time to spare? Then check out this new 2-page document that explains in a nutshell the rules and regulations that apply to FBCOs and provides links to more extended treatments of the subjects covered.
Innovations in Compassion
The Faith-Based and Community Initiative (FBCI) signifies a shift in how government partners with faith-based and community organizations (FBCOs) to address human services needs. The FBCI also demonstrates how public and private entities can join together for the common good. Since 2001, the FBCI has focused on expanding innovative partnerships with nonprofit-sector partners and engaging private-sector coinvestors. In conjunction with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives' national conference entitled "Innovations in Effective Compassion," this Web site (http://innovationincompassion.hhs.gov/) serves as a clearinghouse for research and evaluation that describe how the government has become more open to partnering with new FBCOs while also strengthening existing partnerships with well-established nonprofit organizations to address some of the country's most complex social problems.
Requests for Speakers/Conferences/Workshops
The Department of Justice Task Force for Faith-Based and Community
Initiatives staff is very eager to help you understand funding opportunities
and see to it that you receive the assistance you need to compete for
grants on a level playing field. The staff who operate the various grant
programs are the best source of technical assistance.
We receive many requests for speaking engagements. When possible, we
like to meet with faith-based and community groups to hear their concerns
and to speak at their gatherings. We must carefully select the opportunities
that will allow us to use our limited resources to reach the maximum
number of people. Please be patient with us, as we cannot honor every
request. Please submit all requests in writing to the United States
Department of Justice, Task Force for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives,
950 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20530, (202) 514-2987 or
via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also,
please include as much information as possible about your organization
and the event.