What is this Initiative?

What is the Texas Faith-Based & Community Initiative?

The social sector includes organizations that share a public mission with government to address and reduce the effect of social problems, thereby improving people's quality of life. In Texas, this sector is made up of both faith-based and secular nonprofit organizations that possess unique strengths in serving those in need that government cannot duplicate. In order to meet the growing need for social services, it is critical that individuals, private business, government and particularly faith-based and community organizations are positioned to work together as committed and effective partners. Texas has long been a leader in reducing the obstacles that faith-based and community groups face when seeking to collaborate with each other and with state and federal government to better serve our communities. Building on this legacy, OneStar leads the Governor's Faith-Based and Community Initiative. The initiative is focused on:

  • Encouraging cross-sector collaborations between government, faith-based and community groups and other entities, such as private sector businesses,
  • Ensuring that faith-based and community groups are ready to succeed in their partnerships by strengthening their organizational capacity and their work together to achieve common goals,
  • Encouraging research and evaluation to measure the impact of these partnerships in effectively serving Texans in need.

In 2009, the Texas Legislature passed and the Governor signed legislation creating, among other important provisions, an Interagency Coordinating Group (ICG) of State Agency Liaisons charged with improving the working relationship between faith-based and community organizations and the State Government. This legislation was the first of its kind, and is another example of how Texas is leading the nation in recognizing how critical it is for government and nonprofits, including faith-based groups, to work side-by-side as true partners in addressing our social problems.  Additional legislation in 2011 created a citizen Task Force on Improving Relations with Nonprofits.  The 8 member Task Force, representing a wide range of nonprofit services, is to assist the ICG in performing its stated duties. In 2013, the Governor signed S.B. 993 establishing a Texas Nonprofit Council to help direct the Interagency Coordinating Group in carrying out the group's duties.  View bill summaries and ICG and Task Force Reports to the Legislature below. 

 

S.B. 993 (83R)

Texas Nonprofit Council Report December 2014

 

H.B. 1965 (82R)

Interagency Coordinating Group Report December 2016

Interagency Coordinating Group Report December 2015

Interagency Coordinating Group Report December 2014

Interagency Coordinating Group Report December 2013

Interagency Coordinating Group Report December 2012

Interagency Coordinating Group Report December 2011

Task Force Report: Improving Relations with Nonprofits 2012


H.B. 492 (81R)

Interagency Coordinating Group Report December 2010

Task Force Report: Texas Nonprofit Support Infrastructure Study November 2011


For more information please see "Partnering with State Agencies".

 

What are Faith-Based and Community Organizations?

The term “faith-based and community organizations” is sometimes used to describe nonprofit organizations with the intent of being inclusive of both religious and secular organizations.  Regardless of religion, most, if not all, Texas nonprofits are typically engaged in some sort of effort to improve our communities, whether it involves directly improving the community by providing services to clients or indirectly improving the community by advocating for changes to social policies; therefore, the term “community organizations” could be considered inclusive of all Texas nonprofits.  However, because some religiously-affiliated organizations do not recognize they are part of the larger nonprofit sector in Texas, OneStar believes it is important to specifically identify “faith-based organizations” as part of our Initiative.  We want to be clear that both religious and secular organizations play important roles in our sector.

What makes an organization faith-based?

There is not a common definition used to designate an organization as “faith-based,” so most often this term refers to nonprofit organizations that self-identify themselves as being motivated by religious faith or affiliated with a religious institution.   There is no doubt that faith plays an important role in many individual’s decisions to volunteer or work for nonprofits, but the term “faith-based” is generally used to describe the organization as a whole and not any individual staff member or volunteer’s religious motivations.  The Texas Faith-Based and Community Initiative recognizes nonprofit organizations that self-identify as faith-based to be important players in our efforts to solve community problems.  While we are making a concerted effort to ensure faith-based organizations know they are included in our Initiative, our goal is not to encourage favoritism towards any particular religion or religious organizations; instead, our goal is to encourage the equal treatment of both faith-based and secular organizations.  By working with both faith-based and other secular community organizations, our Initiative seeks to provide a level playing field by strengthening everyone’s efforts to collaborate with each other and with state and federal government to better serve our communities.


How does OneStar Partner with Faith-Based & Community Organizations?

By working with both faith-based and other secular community organizations, our Initiative seeks to provide a level playing field by strengthening efforts for nonprofits to collaborate with each other and with State and Federal government to better serve our communities. The initiative is focused on:

  • Encouraging cross-sector collaborations between government, faith-based and community groups and other entities, such as private sector businesses,
  • Ensuring that faith-based and community groups are ready to succeed in their partnerships by strengthening their organizational capacity and their work together to achieve common goals,
  • Encouraging research and evaluation to measure the impact of these partnerships in effectively serving Texans in need.

Here are some specific ways we partner with Faith-Based and Community Organizations:

Training and Resources:

  • Organizational Assessment Program
  • Interagency Coordinating Group of State Agency Faith and Community-Based Liaisons
  • Referrals to Nonprofit Management Alliance of Texas partners
  • Research and reports on the nonprofit sector
  • Texas Connector statewide geo-mapping tool
  • Texas Nonprofit Summit

Grant Funding:

  • AmeriCorps*Texas Grant Program
  • Grants for Nonprofit Capacity Building (based on availability of funding)

Supporting Volunteerism:

  • Governor’s Volunteer Awards
  • Referrals to Texas Association of Volunteer Centers partners