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Toolkit for Private Funders



Toolkit for Private Funders

This toolkit provides a valuable “conversation” useful for both private funders and faith-based organizations to understand better how each perceives the other and what can be done to partner together most effectively. Bottom line: What have we learned to date about collaboration?

Tools for Giving to FBOs

Charity Navigator

This non-profit reviewed the financial history of more than 2,800 charitable organizations, including faith-based charities, so that givers can see how efficiently a charity will potentially use their support.  Charity Navigator rates charities by evaluating two broad areas of financial health: their organizational efficiency and their organizational capacity.

Generous Giving Marketplace

The Generous Giving Marketplaceis the world’s largest database of faith-based funding opportunities for Christian churches and nonprofit ministries.  This serves as a resource for both those interested in giving and those interested in receiving.

The BBB Wise Giving Alliance Standards for Charity Accountability

The BBB Wise Giving Alliance Standards for Charity Accountability were developed to assist donors in making sound giving decisions and to foster public confidence in charitable organizations. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance is a merger of the National Charities Information Bureau and the Council of Better Business Bureaus' Foundation and its Philanthropic Advisory Service.

For additional support material, visit

Profiles of Effective Collaboration

A CORPORATE FOUNDATION PARTNERSHIP: JPMorganChase Partnership            

Faith-based organizations have partnered with corporate foundations, community foundations, private foundations, and individuals in order to further the mission of the FBO’s.  JPMorganChase is an example of a partnership between corporate foundations and the faith-based community. Although this resource does not give much detail on the results of the partnership, it does provide a thumbnail sketch of how a corporate foundation is specifically addressing the needs of the faith-based community. 

COMMUNITY FOUNDATION PARTNERSHIPS: Local California Foundations Show that Faith Works

Another type of partnership pairs the faith-based community with community foundations. The paper Faith Works: Religious Communities Building Neighborhoods, by Grace Roberts Dyrness and Andrea E. Dyrness highlights the work between The FAITHS Initiative of the San Francisco Bay Area, supported by the San Francisco Foundation, and the Faith Initiative of South Santa Barbara, supported by the Santa Barbara Foundation. It shows how this work is solving problems and changing the ways that people think about the religious community.

Both initiatives have demonstrated that collaboration between the faith community and community foundations can produce the following results:

·         connecting people, forming new relationships and networks for collective action;

·         building the capacity of religious institutions by providing technical assistance, mentoring, professional development, and aiding racial understanding;

·         providing small grants and/or training and connections to leverage additional funds;

·         implementing a successful youth empowerment program in the San Francisco Bay Area.


The Skillman Foundation’s Call to Service

The paper “The Role of Faith-Based Organizations in the Social Welfare System:  Lessons Learned from the Skillman Foundation ‘A Call to Service Faith-Based Initiative’” looks at the Skillman Foundation’s commitment to donate up to $5 million a year over five years to the faith-based area.  This paper, presented by John Wallace (Universityof Michigan), Robert Thornton (The Skillman Foundation), and Kourtney Rice (Universityof Michigan), scans the environment and highlights key evaluation results from the first year of the initiative. 

Faith Partners Transform Communities

While small faith-based groups struggle to stay alive, several foundations have stepped in and offered innovative ways to partner. The Annie E. Casey Foundation, for example, has implemented its “Faith into Action” initiative using media outreach in 22 communities across the country. The Skillman Foundation’s “Call to Service” strategy in Detroitworks with clusters of churches to provide after school programs. Here, you will also read comments from a Detroitclergyman who has observed faith-based initiatives in his city.

Philanthropy and Faith: An Introduction

“Throughout the United States, faith-based organizations offer community services of all kinds. This monograph profiles several partnerships between private funders and faith-based communities, including an initiative addressing juvenile crime in Boston. Interviews with foundation executives and faith-based organizations in other cities provide additional insights.


Faith and Philanthropy

In addition to corporate, community, and private foundation partnerships, individuals have also supported faith-based organizations.  Faith and Philanthropy: The Connection Between Charitable Behavior and Giving to Religion is a special report by Independent Sector.   The study finds that Americans who give to or volunteer with religious congregations give more time and money than those only involved in secular charitable activities.  The beliefs, values, attitudes, and commitments of those who contribute to religion translate into high levels of generosity to other causes as well.  Undoubtedly, there are a number of other factors that influence levels of giving, including income and home ownership, but religious belief is without question one of the most important factors independent of economic status.

Hot Topics

Are Private Sector Foundations Contributing to Faith-Based Organizations?

The Roundtable on Social Welfare Policy released a research paper on Private-Sector Contributions to Faith-Based Social Service.  In his report, author Jason Scott examined the role of private and community foundations in supporting the social services provided by FBOs.  The analysis found that most foundations do not have general restrictions that would exclude religiously affiliated social service providers.  Among those foundations, that had published limitations on religious grantees, the most common restrictions limited the funding of sectarian or expressly religious activity. Click here for the full report.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Faith Based Social Services

Julie Sulc, Ph.D., Religion Program Officer at The Pew Charitable Trusts, hosted a lively and informative roundtable discussion at the Philanthropy Roundtable’s 2003 annual conference with three leading practitioners—coming from three unique perspectives concerned about the effectiveness of faith-based initiatives. These panelists include Ms. Carole Thompson, Program Officer of the Annie E. Casey Foundation; Ms. Betty Alvarez-Ham, President of City Impact, which has worked with 2,500 at-risk children in collaboration with churches, and Calvin W. Edwards, CEO of Calvin Edwards & Co., who counsels high income individuals on giving.

Equipping the Saints: A Guide to Giving to Faith-based Organizations

In this tool, we hear from Barbara J. Elliott, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, who has written an important, new handbook outlining ways people of faith can give most wisely to faith-based organizations.

Related Articles
Are Private Sector Foundations Contributing to Faith-Based Organizations?

Toolkit for Government-FBO Collaboration

Related Books
Philanthropy & Faith: An Introduction

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