USC Dornsife College Of Letters Arts and Sciences

University of Southern California

Government agencies are increasingly interested in reaching out to and partnering with faith communities to address the needs of local communities. The push for partnerships between government and religion began with the Charitable Choice provision in President Clinton’s Welfare Reform legislation in 1996. The George W. Bush administration organized these efforts under the Office of Faith-based Initiatives, which then became the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships under the Obama administration.

Washington’s emphasis on empowering local faith community efforts has increased at the same time that government budgets for social services and the safety net have dwindled. This means that government initiatives can lack the resources to ensure that their work moves from outreach to partnership. CRCC researches and consults with both faith groups and government agencies in order to understand how to facilitate meaningful collaboration on some of the nation’s most pressing social problems.

Photo Credit: Harshil Shah

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“On the ground, we’ve seen that even when public officials are willing to work with these groups, the law often gets in the way of the aspirations and plans of these congregations and organizations to contribute more to the welfare of their communities.”

—Brie Loskota and Richard Flory
“Do Government Regulations Get in the Way of Doing Good After a Disaster?”