To all those of you who proclaimed the California Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Dead on Arrival in it’s first committee; I am happy to inform you that you were wrong!
The office of Assemblyman Tim Leslie (My Boss!) issued the following statement this afternoon:
ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE APPROVES OFFICE OF FAITH-BASED AND COMMUNITY INITIATIVES
Leslies measure to aide California non-profits one step closer to being a reality
(SACRAMENTO) – In bi-partisan fashion, the Assembly Business and professions committee past Assemblyman Tim Leslie’s (R-Tahoe City) AB 2704 without a single no vote. “Republicans and Democrats alike can support the idea of helping those, who help California’s most needy citizens” stated Leslie. “I believe that members on both sides of the isle proved that to be true today.”
In fact, Assemblyman Juan Vargas (D- San Diego) went as far as to offer his appreciation to Leslie for his efforts. “I would like to thank Assemblyman Leslie for introducing this legislation to aide California’s non-profits.”
AB 2704 would establish the Governor’s office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI), which would be tasked with assisting California non-profit organizations in navigating the often complicated government grant process. While some expected the often contentious debate that often surrounds the term “Faith-Based”, discussion focused mainly how all California Non-Profits would benefit from an OFBCI.
“The establishment of a Governor’s office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives will greatly improve the-nonprofit communities ability to stay in touch with the myriad of granting entities and available resources” stated, Derrell Roberts, Founder of the Roberts Family Development Center, a non-religious community-based organization located in Sacramento in a letter he submitted to the committee. “The amount of time we have we have to search for grant opportunities will be better utilized serving those families we have committed to serving.”
Efforts were also made to clarify that faith-based organizations would still be required to comply with state and federal laws related to separation of church and state. “AB 2704 does not exempt faith-based organizations from having to comply with state and federal law regarding separation of church and state.” Pointed out Leslie, “It will actually provide faith-based groups with clear guidance as to what they must to do comply with these laws.”
Specifically, AB 2704 would establish the OFBCI to:
• Serve as a clearinghouse of information on federal, state, and local funding for charitable services performed by organizations;
• Encourage organizations to seek public funding for their charitable services;
• Act as a liaison between state agencies and organizations;
• Increasing dialogue between non-profits organizations and the government to more effectively work together to serve California’s neediest communities.
• Partner with the California Service Corps to develop events and communications that foster public support for non-profit organizations and honor their work.
AB 2704 will next be heard in Assembly Appropriations Committee.
The Battle is far from over. But this is a good start!