Manual: Use of government funds

Article 7 of the Foundation Principles of The Covenant Partnership Agreement states:

The Fuller Center does not seek and will not accept government funds for the construction of houses. The Fuller Center welcomes partnerships with governments that include accepting funds to help set the stage for construction, provided that doing so does not limit our ability to proclaim our Christian witness and does not create dependency or undue control on the Covenant Partner. Setting the stage means the donation of land and/or houses for rehabilitation, providing infrastructure for streets, walks and utilities, and assistance with administrative expenses. These limitations do not apply to government funds coming from third parties who have sole discretion over their use.

We are sometimes asked why we would adopt this policy when government funds could potentially expand the work that we do. There are a number of reasons:

  • Government funds sometimes come with restrictions that conflict with our foundational principles, e.g. limiting our Christian witness or prohibiting repayment of the construction costs.

  • The Fuller Center seeks to be a blessing to both the recipients of our programs and the donors who provide the funds. Such donations are given freely, often as an expression of Christian love. Government funds come from taxpayers who may or may not agree with how they’re distributed and may or may not be giving joyfully.

  • Accepting government funds can adversely affect other fundraising efforts as donors may feel that they have already given by paying their taxes.

  • Government funds are fickle and organizations that depend on them are at the mercy of the governing party or unelected bureaucrats. Observers of tax policy have found that non-entitlement social program funding is among the most unpredictable of all government budgeting.

  • Government has a role to play in helping those in need who don’t meet The Fuller Center’s criteria—those who are unwilling to be true partners or whose circumstances prevent them from repaying the construction costs.


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