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Should Christian Groups Accept Government Grant Funding

Of course, this is a decision each Christian organization will need to make based on their mission, vision, calling, and leading.  There is no single answer or right answer for all Christian organizations.
The decision, in my opinion, should also not be any different under the Obama administration than it was under the Bush administration.
There were a number of organizations that got into legal trouble under the Bush administration because they either had poor policies and procedures, or they did not follow the effective policies and procedures that they did have in place.
Three main factors you will want to consider before pursuing Government grants:
  1. Are you a Brownie or a Salad?  With a Brownie, once you mix the ingredients together (education, prayer, mentoring, scripture memory, etc.) and bake the batter, you can't separate the ingredients?  With a Salad, you can pick separate the different ingredients and place them onto different parts of your plate and eat them at different times (or choose not to eat them at all).  An organization that is more like a Brownie should NOT seek government funding but a well-organized ministry that is more like a salad should be able to seek government funding with little difficulty.
  2. Are you well organized?  Do you have a Conflict of Interest Policy, a Personnel Manual, and effective policies and procedures that govern your organization’s operations?  This is ALWAYS important but is even more important for an organization that accepts government funding.  You will want to have very specific policies, procedures, forms, and documents for hiring and terminating staff.  You will want to ensure that you have updated By-Laws with a Dissolution of Assets Clause, a Whistleblowers Policy, and a Document Retention Policy (See our February Newsletter).  It is okay if you do NOT have this in place right now, most nonprofits not founded in the last year or two will need to develop these policies and have them added to the organizations governing documents.
  3. Are you willing to police yourself?  The organizations that encountered legal difficulties under the Bush administration failed to monitor their own behavior and use of funds or they failed to correct problems once identified.  Christian organizations accepting government funds should be vigilant in self-policing to ensure that they are always operating well within the bounds of what is legally required.  If they are ever in doubt, they should check with their Program Manager BEFORE starting an activity.
Christian organizations have a long history or providing social and human services through government funding.  I know of NO secular group that will leave a government check on the table and I do not feel that Christian organizations should shy away from the funding either.  More money left on the table by Christian organizations means more money going to secular groups that are often in direct opposition to our values and beliefs.
Whether writing government grants, foundation grants, or just helping your organization to develop an effective Grant Strategy for future success, Here-4-You Consulting & Grant Writing is ready to serve you.
Tell us what you think.
Here-4-You Consulting & Grant Writing
Jeffrey J. Rodman, CFRE, CGS, M.Ed.
President & CEO
Phone: 1-866-HERE-4-U-1