Role of Faith-Based and Community Organizations in Providing Relief and Recovery Services After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Characteristics of FBCOs Providing Services

12/20/2008

In general, the survey respondents reflect a wide range of faith-based and secular organizations in the regionlarge, small, relatively new, and others that have been in their communities for decades.

Geographically, about half (52 percent) of the FBCOs in the survey are located in Louisiana, 41 percent in Mississippi, and 7 percent in the vicinity around the Houston Astrodome. Almost two in five respondents (38 percent) are in the areas hit hardest by the hurricanes; one in three (36 percent) is in an area of secondary impact (that is, partially impacted by the storms or adjacent to areas of direct impact) and one in four (26 percent) is in a tertiary or distant area (that is, all other parishes or counties in Louisiana and Mississippi and around the Houston Astrodome). These distributions mirror the proportional distribution of organizations sampled for the study.

The survey respondents were from both large and small FBCOs. Although many respondents (35 percent) were unable or declined to indicate the size of their operating budgets, of those that answered, the smallest operated on less than $500 annually, while the largest reported budgets of more than $1 million. Faith-based providers in the survey tended to be smaller than their secular counterparts. The median annual budget for faith-based groups was $259,000, while for secular nonprofits, it was $452,000. As seen in Table 1, about 10 percent of the faith-based organizations had operating budgets of more than $1 million, compared with 34 percent of the nonprofits. FBCOs from the primary impact areas had higher median operating budgets ($343,000) than those in the secondary ($275,000) and distant ($317,000) areas.

Table 1.
Size of FBCOs by Type, State, and Distance to Impact Area
Characteristic N Percent of Organizations with Operating Budgets of: Median budget
Less than $5,000 $5.000 to $10,000 $10,000 to $50,000 $50,000 to $100,000 $100,000 to $500,000 $500,000 to $1 million More than $1 million
All respondents 132 3.0 0.8 7.6 12.9 45.5 9.8 20.5 $326,667
                   
Faith-based organization 73 4.1 0.0 6.8 17.8 53.4 8.2 9.6 $258,974
Secular nonprofit 59 1.7 1.7 8.5 6.8 35.6 11.9 33.9 $452,381
                   
Louisiana 69 4.3 0.0 10.1 14.5 44.9 11.6 14.5 $287,097
Mississippi 53 1.9 1.9 0.0 11.3 50.9 9.4 24.5 $374,074
Houston, Texas 10 0.0 0.0 30.0 10.0 20.0 0.0 40.0 $300,000
                   
Primary impact area 50 2.0 0.0 2.0 12.0 56.0 12.0 16.0 $342,857
Adjacent to impact area 49 6.1 2.0 10.2 10.2 40.8 6.1 24.5 $275,000
Farthest from impact area 33 0.0 0.0 12.1 18.2 36.4 12.1 21.2 $316,667
Source: Urban Institute 200708 Survey of FBCOs in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Houston.
Note: Data are missing for 70 respondents.

The median age of FBCOs in the survey is 37 years, but this measure varies widely (Table 2). For example, FBCOs in the vicinity of the Houston Astrodome have the youngest median age (15 years), and no organization in the Houston sample is older than 100 years. In contrast, the median ages of FBCOs in Louisiana and Mississippi are 37 and 42 years, respectively, and about 14 percent of FBCOs in these two states are older than 100. The younger age of Houstons FBCOs may partly reflect the dynamics of demographic and economic growth and change in the Houston region. The sharpest contrast in age is seen between faith-based organizations and secular nonprofits. The median age of faith-based organizations is more than twice that of their secular counterparts55 years versus 25 years. Roughly 20 percent of faith-based organizations in the survey are more than 100 years old. These data suggest the deep roots that religious congregations have in the Gulf Coast region.[12]

Table 2.
Age of FBCOs by Type, State, and Distance to Impact Area
Characteristic N Percent of Organizations with Age of: Mean age Median age
Less than 10 years 10 to 25 years 26 to 50 years 51 to 100 years More than 100 years
All respondents 200 12.0 23.0 27.5 25.0 12.5 51 37
                 
Faith-based organization 118 6.8 16.9 22.9 33.1 20.3 65 55
Secular nonprofit 82 19.5 31.7 34.1 13.4 1.2 30 25
                 
Louisiana 104 12.5 23.1 25.0 26.9 12.5 51 37
Mississippi 82 8.5 20.7 31.7 24.4 14.6 55 42
Houston, TX 14 28.6 35.7 21.4 14.3 0.0 25 15
                 
Primary impact area  76 13.2 25.0 27.6 22.4 11.8 48 36
Adjacent to impact area 73 11.0 17.8 31.5 27.4 12.3 54 40
Farthest from impact area 51 11.8 27.5 21.6 25.5 13.7 51 31
Source: Urban Institute 200708 Survey of FBCOs in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Houston.
Note: Data are missing for two respondents.

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