Earlier this year, President Barak Obama signed an executive order amending Executive Order 13199 that created the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. As a result, the President made the following changes:
- Changed the name of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives to White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (FBNP)
- Established a new Council of 25 faith-based and secular leaders to advise the FBNP Office and the President on a wide range of issues
- Identified the following priorities for the new office:
- "..making community groups an integral part of our economic recovery and poverty a burden fewer have to bear when recovery is complete.
- Be one voice among several in the administration that will look at how we support women and children, address teenage pregnancy, and reduce the need for abortion.
- Strive to support fathers who stand by their families, which involves working to get young men off the streets and into well-paying jobs, and encouraging responsible fatherhood. Beyond American shores, this Office will work with the National Security Council to foster interfaith dialogue with leaders and scholars around the world."
The Executive Order also named Joshua DuBois as the Director for the new White House Office, with the President saying: "Joshua understands the issues at stake, knows the people involved, and will be able to bring everyone together - from both the secular and faith-based communities, from academia and politics - around our common goals."
Joshua DuBois is a 26-year-old who served as the religious outreach director on Obama's presidential campaign. Before his political work, DuBois served as an associate pastor at the Calvary Praise and Worship Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was only 18 when he took on the post. DuBois holds a master's degree in public affairs from Princeton University.
The following are links to the content on the White House Web site related to the new Office and Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
- Press Release: Obama Announces White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships
- Video: Working with Faith Organizations
- Executive Order: Amendments to Executive Order 13199 and Establishment of the President's Advisory Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Analysis of New White House OFBNP
Several people have called and emailed the Here-4-You Consulting office and asked me for my opinion or analysis on the new office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, what President Obama has changed from the President Bush established program, and how I think it will effect faith-based organizations who wish to accept federal grant funding.
First, and most significantly, President Obama did NOT strike out the Bush Executive Order allowing religious organizations to consider religious belief and affiliation in their hiring practices even when using federal monies. He did not exactly endorse the policy, but rather said that the issue would be considered on a case by case basis and may be revisited if it seems that the Justice Department is finding ongoing concerns.
Second, President Obama did not change much else about the program either! He changed some language, and he added in some sections to make it clear that there must remain no establishment or endorsement of religion. But this language was already in place. President Obama just made it more prominent.
With the structure and organization remaining fairly consistent, what should faith-based groups be looking for in the re-launch of the faith-based initiatives?
Look for changes in implementation. The signature program of the Bush program was the Compassion Capital Mini-Grant Program which awarded $50,000 grants to small nonprofits specifically for "capacity building." I am expecting that this program will either be cut or significantly modified to focus more on direct services. I believe the office may focus more on the Communities Empowering Youth and the Demonstration Grants. These are larger grants given to larger organizations.
Look for a change in focus. The Bush program focused mostly on organization and building up organizations so that they would then have a greater capacity to be able to serve more youth, families, and individuals. I expect President Obama to focus more on direct services to youth and to require that more of the funding g toward direct services rather than administrative or capacity building activities.
Look for a change in emphasis. President Obama has made it clear that a priority concern will be to support women, to address teen pregnancy, and to reduce the need for abortion. He has also stated an emphasis on getting young men into well-paying jobs and encouraging responsible fatherhood. This will likely come about through a focus on job training programs, pregnancy centers, and fatherhood initiatives. But do not expect many abstinence-only programs to secure funding!
About the Author:
Jeffrey J. Rodman is the founder, President, and CEO of Here-4-You Consulting and Grant Writing providing consultation for grant writing and funding development nationally and internationally to Christian ministries and Churches. Mr. Rodman has a Master Degree in Education, is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), and is a Certified Grants Specialist (CGS). He is an experienced grant writer, nonprofit executive, and public speaker. Mr. Rodman has written hundreds of proposal to both government and private sources, has secured millions as a consultant, and has an 80% success rate in securing grants.