The FCL study sought to understand better how Charitable Choice and the FBCI were being cultivated through FCLs at the state level using a methodology that had two main components.
The first component was the compilation and analysis of state-specific data from a prior ASPE/MPR survey on Charitable Choice implementation within state agencies (Jacobson, Marsh, and Winston, 2005) and from other sources, designed to examine an array of FCL characteristics and potential measures of effectiveness. The results of that analysis were used to select eight case-study sites where evidence showed effectiveness in increasing partnerships with FBOs, efforts to ensure that they are legal and appropriate, understanding within state agencies of FBO rights and responsibilities under Charitable Choice, and a level of institutional security for the FCL function.
Of the eight case studies selected, six were states with formal FCLs, one was a city, and one was a state with an informal FCL function that nonetheless evidenced active implementation of Charitable Choice. The case study sites reflected diversity along other characteristics as well, including geographic location, source of legal authority, organizational structure, and political environment. The eight sites were: Alabama, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas, and Virginia.
The second component of the study was the collection and analysis of case-study data gathered through site visits, interviews, and document review in each of the selected sites to learn more about policies and practices for advancing implementation and increasing understanding of Charitable Choice. We conducted individual and small group semi-structured interviews across the sites with the FCLs, their key staff, FBO and CBO partners (grantees and others), advisory board members, public agency partners, and other government officials or relevant stakeholders.