April 5, 2001, Grand Rapids, Michigan
The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty made headlines from Washington, DC to Grand Rapids and Detroit Michigan this week by providing a roadmap for continued welfare reform that improves the lives of the poor, provides incentives for charitable giving, and reduces the size of government.
Bush advisor and Acton senior fellow Dr. Marvin Olasky started off the Institute's the effort with an April 2 address to a Grand Rapids audience and a meeting with Michigan non-profit leaders. The following day Acton Institute President Rev. Robert A. Sirico delivered key testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee on the principles of successful and effective programs for the poor. Rev. Sirico continued the week-long push with his April 4 luncheon lecture in Detroit, Michigan.
The Acton Institute promoted productive efforts between federal agencies and local non-profits including charitable tax credits, volunteer tax credits, and "workfare" options that diminish dependency and reward effectiveness. The Institute's work employs the wide recognition of the poor economics and corrupting nature of entitlement plans with the chief end of helping the poor and reducing dependency.
Both Dr. Olasky and Rev. Sirico has been speaking and writing on private charity's effectiveness over governmental programs for over a decade, and each played an instrumental role in the historic work on welfare reform of 1996.
The recent establishment of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives marks an important recognition of the effectiveness of private charity. Since then, debate has raged over the role of religion and faith-based programs in welfare reform.