History of the Center for Faith-based and Community Initiatives

The Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (CFBCI) was established at USAID by executive order 13280 on December 12, 2002, to create a level playing field for faith and community based organizations to compete for USAID programs.

The CFBCI works to:

  1. Serve as a bridge between faith and community based non-government organizations and government
  2. Increase the capacity of faith & community based non-government organizations or NGOs to better compete for funding opportunities
  3. Eliminate barriers to faith and community based organizations
  4. Increase collaboration among the people and organizations that are trying to address some of the greatest social service needs in our world today.

The CFBCI is designed to increase the access of faith and community based organizations to U.S. Government funding sources. We also work to ensure that faith-based and community organizations are properly informed about the guidelines that they will need to follow to apply and successfully administer federal funding. The CFBCI addresses legal and policy issues and educates USAID staff about the mandate of the CFBCI. We also work to link faith-based and community organizations with capacity building resources that can be helpful to them.

The CFBCI supplies information and training, but it does not make the decisions about which groups will be funded. Those decisions are made through procedures established by each grant program, generally involving a competitive process. No grant funding is set aside for faith-based organizations. Instead, the CFBCI creates a "level-playing field" for faith-based as well as other community organizations to compete so that they can work with the government to meet the needs of communities throughout the developing world.

We have learned that educating USAID and Washington personnel and field staff about the role faith-based and community organizations can play in meeting development objectives is critical, that providing technical assistance for new and potential partners is important for a level playing field, and that communicating regularly with faith-based and community groups about conferences, funding opportunities, and regulations regarding provision of U.S. Government assistance is essential.

Since its creation the CFBCI has encouraged collaboration between groups with similar objectives and goals and empowered faith-based and community organizations to apply for Federal social service grants. To learn more about funding opportunities, click here.