The Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, has a long-standing relationship with faith-based organizations. HRSA wants small and new organizations to apply for its grants, and this is encouraging, especially for those faith initiatives that reach out broadly to their communities. All HRSA grants are competitive. No specific funds are allocated for faith-based organizations, and all applications are made in a response to program announcements or Request for Proposals (RFP) published in the Federal Register or the HRSA Preview.
Despite arguments to the contrary, the federal government does not preclude faith-based organizations from pursuing such funds provided that the applicant meets the criteria established in the funding announcement. Awards are decided on merit: the degree of competency, capacity, and actions of the provider, not on whether it is a faith-based or secular provider. It should be noted, however, that no faith based organization can discriminate “in its delivery of a federally-funded program against a client or potential client on the basis of religion or religious belief.”
Interested faith based organizations submitting applications to HRSA must register with the federal government to secure any federal funding. The process can be somewhat arduous, but funding in several areas includes: HIV/AIDS, Maternal and Child Health, Rural Health Initiatives, and Organ Donations and Transplantation.
Faith-based organizations involved in crime prevention, assisting prisoners and
ex-offenders, and women of domestic violence can access grant information from the Department of Justice.
Many foundations support faith-based organization, and churches. Faith based organizations generally need a 501(c)3 designation from the Internal Revenue Service to access funds from foundations. Many ministries throughout the United States do, in fact, have such a status, and therefore are able to provide essential services not only for their churches, but the communities they serve. Foundation funding for churches is made available for church development and discipleship, and training for church leaders. Other foundations support mission-based ministries whose congregations are actively involved in community service. Some congregational community
services are: operating food shelves, ensuring school supplies for children, assisting the homeless, organizing “gang strike forces” in cooperation with local police departments, ministering to addicts and prostitutes…some of these community services, actually ministries, are actively involved in stopping human trafficking.
Some states provide faith-based grants to non profit organizations and churches. But research is essential, here. Determine eligibility and program requirements. And be prepared to write a comprehensive grant that answers all pertinent questions including but not limited to measurable outcomes. While good intentions are wonderful, state funding is generally allocated from the United States Federal Government, and with all federal funding strident rules apply. Yet, the City of Orlando, Florida, announced its Mayor’s Matching Grant Program. These grants help faith based organizations, schools and other agencies provide youth programs that improve academic achievement, reduce youth crime, and re-invest in creating safe
Faith-based grants are not only accessible, but essential in providing services, because they establish vital initiatives that help people and communities.