Role of State Faith Community Liaisons in Charitable Choice Implementation. Capacity-Building Training and Technical Assistance


In order to facilitate the most effective involvement of FBCO boots on the ground, the FCLs almost universally said they worked to improve the organizational and/or service capacity of FBCOs. The need for capacity building within the sector was seen as tremendous, especially among small FBOs and CBOs. Table IV.2 describes some of the sites major efforts in this area. They included carefully designed, multi-day, relatively well-funded courses or seminars with progression through key topics such as board and staff development, establishment of a 501(c)(3), strategic planning, grant writing, and financial management. Sites also offered one-time, several-hour 101 courses that focused on the basics of organizational development and provided extensive one-on-one technical assistance.

Table IV.2.
FCLs Capacity-Building and Technical Assistance Activities
State Main Activities
AL Quarterly workshops, individual technical assistance (TA), 2008 Faith Based and Community Summit, referrals to intermediaries. Workshop materials, newsletter information on TA, other TA opportunities.
DC Annual Public-Private Partnerships Conference, Strengthening Partners Initiative and Effi Barry HIV/AIDS Capacity-Building Initiative. Referrals to pro bono consultants.
FL Compassion Florida Roundtables and Workshops, small grants. Individual capacity-building TA. Workshop materials. Referrals to experts and experienced FBCO peers.
IL Fostering linkages among FBCOs to share resources and increase capacity. Individual TA, referrals to IDHS Office of Grants Administration.
NJ TA and small grants program focused on fledgling organizations, intermediaries, direct service. Training Institutes and individual TA. Workshop materials. Referrals to partner intermediaries.
NM Individual TA, courses through Center for Nonprofit Excellence, FBCO conference on accessing federal discretionary grants. Online assessment tools. Small FBCOs matched to nonprofit mentors. Referrals to consultants, intermediaries.
TX Small grant programs with training and customized TA. Workshops and symposia adapted to specific regions. Partnerships to sponsor/facilitate nonprofit Strategic Management Institutes. Conference on evaluation of faith-based social service models; other conferences. Education of government and private funders about capacity building. Individual capacity building/TA. Scholarships for FBCOs to attend events. Referrals to consultant partners and management support agencies. Resources on website and in event materials.
VA Individual TA. Presentations at local, state, national events. Technical Assistance Handbook. Online assessment tools and TA resource information. Referrals to federal and independent sources.

Several sites (Florida, New Jersey, and Texas) coupled capacity-building training and technical assistance with relatively small grants to assist FBCOs organizational development. Compassion Florida, that states CCF demonstration project, included a two-tiered structure with a series of one-day workshops addressing broad 101 themes for large audiences, followed by a series of five regional roundtables that addressed specific organizational development issues in-depth for a small cohort of grant applicants. In New Jersey, the OFBI has used a CCF-like model of grant-making since 2004, incorporating both training and technical assistance, and small grants using state funding that require FBCOs to partner with each other and/or public agencies (see Practice Model 7). The 2006-2007 Texas Demonstration Project, also funded by a CCF demonstration grant, constituted a major component of OneStars recent capacity building efforts. It was developed in partnership with a faith-based intermediary, the Cornerstone Assistance Network (CAN), and other partners, and combined capacity-building training for any interested FBCO with a small grants competition and intensive assessment and support for grantees (see Practice Model 8).

Practice Model 7.
Complementary Grants to Build Sector Capacity
The New Jersey OFBI draws on dedicated state funding for grant-making to build organizational capacity. Three types of grants addressed diverse types of organizations as well as partnerships with and assistance from intermediary organizations. Organizational Infrastructure Development (OID) grants are awarded to emerging organizations (with annual budgets of less than $150,000). OID grants are typically about $20,000 and are used to help small FBCOs develop organizationally, with TA and other assistance. Direct Service grants are awarded to organizations that have concrete plans to collaborate with other organizations in service delivery, a minimum level of capacity, and at least some diversity in funding. Awards range from $20,000 to $50,000 and have typically focused on five programmatic areas: youth, homeless, seniors, English language, and substance abuse treatment and prevention. Finally, Intermediary Grants are awarded each year to a selection of organizations to assist FBCOs throughout the state to develop their capacity, particularly for partnering with public entities. In 2008, five grants were awarded to both faith-based and secular intermediaries.
Practice Model 8.
A Three-Phase Approach to Capacity Building
The Texas Demonstration Project (TDP) entailed broad outreach and focused capacity-building for small FBCOs in four major urban counties. It was funded by a 2005 Compassion Capital Fund (CCF) demonstration grant awarded to the OneStar Foundation. OneStar worked with a faith-based intermediary, the Cornerstone Assistance Network (CAN), and other partners such as Baylor University, the Urban Alternative, Venture CD (a technology provider), and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, to develop and implement TDP in 2006 and 2007. TDP used a three-phase model adapted from CANs prior capacity-building work. First, OneStar and its partners reached out to FBCOs, offering a series of six broad capacity-building symposia followed by focused workshops in each of the counties (for a total of 24 events). The events were open to all and addressed topics including organizational development, leadership, collaborations, funding, and service delivery. One workshop addressed the rights and responsibilities of FBOs under Charitable Choice. Second, OneStar held a grants competition, with the prerequisite that applicants had participated in at least four of the six sessions offered in their county. Twenty-five organizations received grants ranging from $8,000 to $30,000. Third, CAN staff, consultants, and intermediaries provided intensive assessment, individualized TA, and consulting services for grantees, with a one-year follow-up retreat. Grantees were asked to account for the funds they had received, note additional money they had brought in, and identify best practices they had developed as a result of the grants and services. FCL and CAN facilitators highlighted the benefits of using organizational assessments to help FBCOs identify and rank their capacity-building needs and stressed the importance of determining organizations readiness to change so that TA could be tailored most effectively. TDP ended in 2007.

Other sites employed elements of the CCF model. While the Alabama GFBCI did not offer small grants specifically for organizational development, the offices quarterly workshops provided capacity-building information and sought to spur organizations to think about board development, management, and financial accountability, among other critical topics. The District of Columbias Strengthening Partners Initiative (SPI) is a one-year development program for emerging FBCOs (see Practice Model 9). Some sites (Alabama and New Jersey) referred FBCOs to partner intermediary organizations for more advanced or targeted assistance. Others (New Mexico and Virginia) largely conducted one-on-one TA and capacity building and periodically offered training at their own or other organizations conferences or events. Several sites provided materials focused on organizational assessment and capacity building, both on-line and to people or groups making inquiries to the FCLs office.

Practice Model 9.
Strengthening Partners Initiative: Leadership Development for FBCO Executives
Funded through the District of Columbia Mayors Office of Partnerships and Grants Services, the Strengthening Partners Initiative (SPI) is a one-year comprehensive training program for leaders of emerging FBCOs in the District. The program is designed to strengthen participants executive leadership skills, build their organizational capacity, and improve their access to funding. The program began in 2002 and serves about 20 FBCO leaders each year, who are selected through a competitive application process. For the first six months, the program offers biweekly capacity-building instruction on core topics such as fundraising, financial management, and board development. It also provides several months of individual coaching with professionals from local nonprofits, businesses, and government. At the end of the program, participants are required to present a project demonstrating how they plan to use the tools gained from SPI to improve their organizations. All participants who successfully complete the program are eligible for a mini-grant to support additional capacity-building efforts. Participants from organizations providing a wide range of services have participated in SPI, and the cohort structure of the program supports on-going relationships and even the development of formal partnerships between participants. The FCL, who is the administrator of SPI, has worked to increase the number of FBO participants from just a few in early cohorts to about half the total in recent cohorts. Former SPI participants reported that the relationships they formed in the program  with the FCL, consultants, and other FBCO executives  were among the most valuable assets they gained from the program. The District also collaborates with the DC Department of Health to offer the Effi Barry HIV/AIDS Capacity Building Initiative, an executive training program modeled on SPI and designed specifically for leaders from FBCOs working on HIV/AIDS issues.

While FCL efforts often emphasized smaller organizations (those with annual budgets of $500,000 or less), in some cases they extended to the nonprofit sector more broadly. In Texas, the Governors Nonprofit Leadership Conference and OneStar partnerships with the University of Texas on three Strategic Management Institutes sought to reach out and address development for a wide range of organizations across the nonprofit sector. Similarly, New Jerseys Expos, DCs annual Public-Private Partnership Conference, and Alabamas annual Governors Volunteer Leadership Conference all included a range of nonprofit organizations.

By and large, the sites did not differentiate significantly between CBOs and FBOs in their capacity-building activities. Instead, they tended to approach most small faith-based or community organizations as emerging organizations that could benefit from assistance in improving their capacity to deliver services and (if they chose to pursue this) to meet the requirements of government grants or contracts.

One offshoot of this focus on capacity was the fact that many FCLs (and some of their intermediaries) said they encouraged FBOs as well as CBOs to gain 501(c)(3) tax status, despite the fact that FBOs are not required to do so under federal Charitable Choice law.[14] While FCLs and their staff seemed fully aware that the 501(c)(3) status is not necessary under Charitable Choice, they generally viewed having this status as a wise option. In one state that has strongly emphasized implementation of Charitable Choice, the FCL noted that the majority of FBCOs already have 501(c)(3) status if they are going to compete for private foundation or public money. I do recommend it, she said, because she sees it as a good business practice, to help ensure appropriate separation of church and state and to protect against liability. In another location with a strong emphasis on implementing Charitable Choice and equal treatment principles, FCL staff said they encouraged small organizations first to back up and build their basic capacity and understanding of the complexity of federal requirements before pursuing federal grants. Staff and leadership indicated that they generally encourage FBCOs to gain 501(c)(3) tax status if they are going to participate in public funding, both because it indicates a level of capacity and for the organizations own protection.

View full report


"report.pdf" (pdf, 837.11Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®