On September 20, the Task Force submitted a letter to legislators describing the progress the Task Force and the ICG have made so far this year:
September 20, 2012
Dear Senator Deuell, Representative Kolkhorst and Representative Zerwas,
We are the co-chairs of the Task Force on Improving Nonprofit Relationships established in HB 1965. As the authors and sponsors of HB 1965 and HB 492, which established and expanded Texas’ Faith and Community-Based Initiative, we want to update you on implementation of that legislation and in particular to acknowledge the great work being done by a number of state agencies in building a strong framework for public-nonprofit partnership in Texas.
Texas’ Faith and Community-Based Initiative is a legislatively driven effort to build robust partnerships between state agencies and programs and local faith and community-based organizations. The goal of the initiative is to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of state programs and services by leveraging the wisdom, resources and connections of the nonprofit sector, and to reduce barriers that discourage nonprofits from partnering with the state.
HB 492 (2009) established the Interagency Coordinating Group (ICG), Texas’ national model approach to coordinating state agency partnerships with faith and community-based groups. HB 1965 (2011) expanded the ICG and established the Task Force on Improving Nonprofit Partnerships to assist the ICG in its work. The ICG now includes liaisons from 24 state agencies, and the Task Force includes representatives from many parts of the faith and community-based sector. HB 1965 designated the OneStar Foundation as the convener of both groups.
The ICG and Task Force meet jointly three times a year. In addition, members of the ICG and the Task Force work together on teams with the help of OneStar staff to tackle specific aspects of nonprofit partnership.
This year, the ICG and Task Force are working on the following projects:
- Simplifying and standardizing state grant and contract processes to make them more accessible to faith and community-based groups.
- Creating training modules for state agency and nonprofit employees on “equal treatment” laws that allow faith-based groups to contract with agencies of government.
- Establishing a web portal, to be hosted on OneStar’s website, that links nonprofits to partnership opportunities in state government.
- Implementing specific pieces of legislation that envision state-nonprofit partnership. We are focusing on HB 2610 (the “Navigators” program for community-based SNAP and Medicaid enrollment); SB89 (increased nonprofit participation in TDA’s Summer Meals program); and two existing but under-utilized programs at DFPS—“Adoption Awareness Month” and transitional centers for youth aging out of foster care.
These projects are all substantive, and they represent significant commitment on the part of the state agencies participating in the ICG. It can be tempting to write off “coordination” as a qualitative activity with nebulous results, but the agencies represented on the ICG are committing to quantifiable goals that are aligned with their performance objectives.
This exciting work is as successful as it is so far because state agency heads are making it a priority and allowing key staff to devote time and energy to it. Attached is a list of the agency heads and staff members who are helping to advance faith and community-based partnership through the ICG.
We are excited about the progress we are making and look forward to presenting you with our annual report later this year. In the meantime, you can follow our work on our Task Force website, https://1965taskforce.wordpress.com/
Thanks for your support for nonprofit partnerships, and for all you do for Texas!
Bee Moorhead Barry Silverberg
Cc: Hon. Rick Perry
Hon. David Dewhurst
Hon. Joe Straus
Members of the House and Senate