Many faith-based organizations (FBOs) support the social safety net in vulnerable communities. Research by the Bridgespan group has found that FBOs spend two of every five dollars on vital services in six sample US cities.
The role of FBOs in communities, while supported by government agencies, does not garner the same support from large institutional funders. While FBOs deliver 40% of vital services, they receive only 12% of safety net funding from the 15 largest institutional funders in the US.
This is attributed to “personal experiences [of large institutional philanthropic entities] and a complicated historical relationship between faith traditions and many areas of social justice” including gender equity, reproductive health, and LGBTQIA rights. All while faith groups have taken part in other social movements such as women’s suffrage and civil rights.
Bridespan’s research supports dispelling myths funders associated with religious life.
Myth: Secularism is the dominant grame for America
Reality: Nearly three out of every four American remains religiously affiliated
Faith-inspired organizations are a small portion of the social sector
Religious giving accounts for nearly ⅓ of giving in the US and 40% of international non-governmental organizations are faith-inspired
Faith-inspired organizations are stodgy and lack innovation
Many faith-inspired organizations are innovate to deliver services to the communities they serve
There are also three recommendations on building “bridges across secular-anchored funding and faith-inspired impact”.
Check out the results of Bridgespan Group’s research here.