TANF Faith-Based and Community Organizations Initiative: An Overview
The TANF Faith-Based and Community Organizations Initiative was designed to examine promising partnerships between TANF offices and FBCOs working in their communities. The goal of the initiative was to help low-income participants attain economic self-sufficiency by linking together the unique strengths of faith-based organizations, community-based groups, and intermediary organizations with TANF programs at the state and local levels. The project described some leading practices in partnering organizations nationwide, and makes available a set of on-the-ground tools for interested TANF program leaders and FBCO communities.
There were four primary components of the Initiative:
The initiative’s first phase (2007-08) collected information from 139 grassroots faith-based and community organizations nationwide, resulting in a Compendium of Organizations, which documents core components of 139 local social service organizations. After a careful vetting process, 23 of these organizations with highly promising elements—whether because of their relationship with local TANF agencies, unique approaches to serving clients, existing public support, or evidence of effectiveness—were selected for further study.
The project’s second phase (2008-09) consisted of a refined analysis of the top 23 FBCOs, described in the Snapshots of Success report. The research team followed up systematically with Executive Directors in each of the 23 sites, and using information gleaned from informal phone-based outreach, identified 8 sites that would participate in on-site interviews and analysis.
During the third phase (2009-10), the team conducted two-day site visits with each of the 8 leading FBCO partners, and developed initial case studies about FBCO programs partnering with their local TANF office.
Finally, the initiative’s fourth phase (2010-11) compiled these case studies and other relevant “tools” gathered in the field into an online webpage, for use by a larger number of FBCO or TANF program leaders interested in supporting local public-private partnerships in their communities.