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Toolkit for State Administrators

Faith-based and community organizations (FBCOs) are important partners in addressing the Nation’s food security needs. These organizations can play a critical role in both program delivery and outreach, especially to vulnerable and under-served populations. This toolkit offers a variety of resources to help your State administering agency learn more about how to strengthen and expand partnerships with faith-based and community organizations in USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) programs.

The Faith-Based and Community Initiative (FBCI)


Faith-based and community organizations have a long tradition of helping Americans in need and represent an integral part of our nation’s social service network. Yet, all too often, the Federal government has put in place complicated rules and regulations preventing FBCOs from competing for funds on an equal footing with other organizations to provide vital services. President George W. Bush and the U. S. Department of Agriculture believe that Federal funds should be awarded to the most effective organizations – whether public or private, large or small, faith-based or secular – and all must be allowed to compete on a level playing field. To this end, President Bush created offices for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives within the White House and 11 Federal agencies to leverage the essential work of faith-based and community organizations in a "determined attack on need."

  o President Bush established the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) by executive order on Dec. 12, 2002. USDA works with faith-based and community groups to provide vital assistance through our domestic food and nutrition, rural development, and international food aid programs.
  o USDA Food and Nutrition Service works with a variety of partners, including FBCOs, to serve the elderly, children, and low-income Americans.

Guidance for Working with Faith-Based and Community Organizations


USDA is dedicated to ensuring a level playing field that will allow the most effective organizations and programs -- whether faith-based or secular -- to partner with the federal government to provide the best services to those who are in need. In 2004, USDA issued a final general rule to ensure faith-based organizations will receive equal treatment when competing for federal funding opportunities within the framework of Constitutional church-state guidelines. This policy applies the standards of equal treatment to all federal, state, and local agencies, activities and programs, which are federally funded.


For more information on the guiding policies, please click here.

Partnerships in Program Delivery and Outreach

  o Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  o Summer Food Service Program
  o Child and Adult Care Food Program
  o Woman Infant and Child (WIC) Program
  o The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)


Last modified: 02/10/2012