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White House Conference Highlights Impact of President's Faith-Based and Community Initiative

President Bush discusses Initiative's reach and results in delivering aid to millions in need


Contact: Rebecca Neale, The White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, 202-456-7348


WASHINGTON, June 26 /Christian Newswire/ -- President Bush today addressed the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives "Innovations in Effective Compassion" National Conference in Washington, D.C., celebrating the achievements of nonprofits from across the country who have partnered with the Initiative to serve millions in need across the country and around the world.


"…[T]he administration has upheld its promise to treat community and faith-based organizations as trusted partners.  We've held your organizations to high standard and insisted on clear results.  And your organizations have delivered on those results.  You've helped revolutionize the way government addresses the greatest challenges facing our society.  I truly believe the Faith-Based Initiative is one of the most important initiatives of this administration."

Kicking off a two-day snapshot of the Initiative's progress, with participation from senior Administration officials, policymakers and over 1,000 public- and private-sector leaders, the President underscored the accomplishments of the Faith-Based and Community Initiative since its launch during his first days in office.  The Initiative has transformed government to place local nonprofits at the center of government's responses to pressing human needs.  This work has leveled the playing field for faith-based groups and greatly expanded partnerships with grassroots charities to solve deep-rooted community problems from addiction and homelessness to HIV/AIDS.  

During his remarks, the President applauded the "armies of compassion," who have leveraged Federal training and innovative Federal partnerships created under this landmark initiative to positively impact millions of lives.  They have enabled 200,000 Americans to move from addiction toward recovery, matched nearly 90,000 children of prisoners with caring mentors, helped reduce chronic homelessness across the U.S. by nearly 12 percent in one year, delivered compassionate care to 6.3 million impacted by HIV/AIDS worldwide, and much more. 

The President also expressed confidence that the Initiative progress will continue, noting that the Faith-Based and Community Initiative movement, which began as a campaign promise and became his first Executive Order as President, is now bigger than politics or party -- with 35 Governors and more than 70 mayors instituting their own faith-based and community initiatives to complement the offices at 11 Federal agencies.

During today's conference, plenary speakers including Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Steve Preston, Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul and White House Office of National Drug Control Policy John Walters discussed the impact of the Initiative in reshaping the way their agencies engage human need and what the future holds now that this foundation has been laid.

Over the past seven years, the Initiative has achieved real, measurable results on behalf of the needy through innovative problem solving and partnerships with frontline "armies of compassion."  Today's Conference spotlighted new data indicating the impact of the Initiative through partnerships with faith-based and community organizations and in every major city across the U.S. 

In FY 2007, the total Federal competitive award funding to faith-based and secular nonprofit organizations increased from $14.7 billion in FY 2006 to $15.3 billion in FY 2007, a 3.9 percent increase.  This included more than 19,400 competitive awards, totaling more than $13.1 billion to secular nonprofits and more than $2.2 billion to faith-based nonprofits.  Since beginning the data collection in 2002, the Faith-Based and Community Initiative has collected information on Federal grants showing awards of more than $10.6 billion to faith-based nonprofits.

Also featured at today's Conference were winners of the Initiative's Portraits of Compassion video contest.  The awardees and runners up include:

Director's Choice: The Next Door, Inc.; Nashville, TN.
1st Place for Domestic Service: Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago - St. Leo Campus for Veterans; Chicago, IL.    
1st Place for International Service: Free Wheelchair Mission; Irvine, CA
Runners Up for Domestic Service:
Sheltering Wings; Indianapolis, IN    
Hospice & Community Care; Rock Hill, SC    
Iskashitaa Refugee Harvesting Network; Tucson, AZ 
Habitat for Humanity of Orange County: Santa Ana, CA
Runners Up for International Service:
FreshMinistries; Jacksonville, FL
Shared Hope International; Vancouver, WA
Ripples International; Meru, Kenya  
HEART - Health Education Africa Resource Team; Auburn, CA 

For more information on the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, visit: www.fbci.gov.

To view President Bush's remarks, visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/06/20080626-20.html.