WASHINGTON: Conservative financiers have established an advocacy
group devoted exclusively to generating support - and cash - for
President Bush's faith-based initiatives program.
Capital City Partners, a consulting firm led by conservatives Jeff Bell,
Ralph Benko, Bob Heckman and Frank Cannon, provided support for the
Calling itself Americans for Community and Faith-Centered Enterprises
(ACFE), the group plans to spend "millions of dollars" to advance
pro-community and faith-based policies and encourage more private-sector
support for such groups.
President Bush made his faith-based initiatives a centerpiece of his
campaign, though they have met with considerable resistance during his
first months in office. The plan calls for government funding of
religious organizations' charitable and civic efforts.
ACFE will be a lobbying organization based in Washington. A companion
research and education group, the Foundation for Community and
Faith-Centered Enterprise, will be based in Phoenix, AZ.
"We hope to call to the attention of the private-sector areas of
opportunity in the faith-based community," said Michael Joyce, incoming
president and CEO of the two organizations, who currently leads the
conservative, grant-making Bradley Foundation.
Joyce's goal is a tough one. President Bush recently pointed out that
"currently, six of the largest 10 corporate givers in America explicitly
rule out or restrict donations to faith-based groups."