Faith-Based Organizations and Community Foundations: Should They Develop a Closer Partnership

Sider, Ronald J. “Faith-Based Organizations and Community Foundations: Should They Develop a Closer Partnership.” Presentation to the Annual Meeting of Larger Community Foundations, Scottsdale, Arizona, January 28, 2000.

Ron Sider’s paper, “Faith-Based Organizations and Community Foundations,” explores three questions related to today’s newly-expanded partnerships between faith-based providers and non-religious organizations, like community foundations, for fighting poverty and urban social decay: (1) Why the increased interest in faith-based service providers? (2) What problems are emerging for community foundations and how can they be solved?, and (3) How can the capacity of faith-based providers be maximized? <p> Sider cites a number of reasons faith-based organizations (FBO) are drawing increased attention, including evidence that past solutions to social problems do not work, indications that FBOs do work, and an increased awareness that social problems have moral and religious as well socio-economic roots. The most difficult problem facing community foundations is deciding whether to fund holistic social programs that encourage the adoption of a specific religious faith. Sider calls on the non-discriminatory funding of both secular and religious providers as well as the support of sociological studies able to prove which types of organizations are most successful in providing needed services. Maximizing the role of FBOs requires attention paid to the numbers and training of individuals involved in FBOs, analysis and evaluation of FBOs, educating other sectors of society about faith-based providers, increasing their resources, and defining public policy related to FBOs.