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February 2005Vol. 6, No. 1Faith-Based Organizations Face Challenges in Accessing Funding


A recent report by the Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy concluded that, despite policies encouraging Federal and State funding for faith-based organizations (FBOs) to provide social services, the fiscal conditions needed to increase reliance on FBOs are likely to be vulnerable to long-term trends. The report's authors examined 14 Federal programs that were likely to supply significant funds to FBOs. These included Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Foster and Adoption Assistance, and Homeless Assistance. To understand how funding from these programs fit into the larger human services system, these 14 funding streams were compared with Medicaid and the State Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), two major health programs that are much less accessible to FBOs.

Some of the major findings include:

  • Many of the Federal funding streams available to FBOs are relatively small and have grown little in recent years.
  • The competition for TANF funds has increased in recent years, which could negatively impact FBOs.
  • State spending on Medicaid and other health programs has increased, sometimes at the expense of nonhealth social services, but Medicaid funds are less accessible to FBOs.

The authors conclude that for these and other reasons, FBOs seeking social service funding should also look for additional funding sources.

The report, Funding Faith-Based Services in a Time of Fiscal Pressure, is a project of the Rockefeller Institute of Government and received support from the Pew Charitable Trusts. The report can be accessed online: (PDF 479 KB)