A Montgomery County Pennsylvania State Senator has introduced legislation to establish the Pennsylvania Office of Faith-Based and Non-Profit Organizations within the office of the governor. Republican Stewart Greenleaf says his measure will create more opportunities for all volunteer organizations to partner with government entities to help deliver vital services in the communities. Greenleaf says the director of the office will be the liaison for government departments and the faith-based and community organizations "to reach out to an army of extremely motivated and very qualified volunteers and community activists to help government solve some of their social issues."
The senator says the legislation would help identify any barriers that might exist to fair competition for government funding and propose and changes that would level the playing field for faith-based and non-profit organizations, which would enable state government to "choose the most effective partner to provide public services, maximizing taxpayer dollars."
Greenleaf says the concept is obviously not new. During the Clinton Administration, the Charitable Choice provision of welfare reform encouraged states to involve faith-based and other non-profit groups in federally funded services. In 2001, President George W. Bush created the Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives.
Greenleaf says any concerns about government mixing with faith-based groups have been alleviated because "it's done in an impartial way under certain guidelines the groups have to follow.