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    Grand Rapids, Mich. (June 22, 2005) — A new Web-based resource providing detailed information and evaluation of more than 200 nonprofit organizations in the United States is now available for use by charity managers, philanthropists and the public. The Samaritan Guide, developed by the Acton Institute's Center for Effective Compassion, is a searchable database composed of applicants for the annual Samaritan Award and has organized the directory according to location and area of service.

    The guide focuses exclusively on U.S. charities that accept little or no government funding and are geared toward serving individuals. These organizations are rated on program results and how they are achieved, with detailed examinations of such things as the integration of faith into services and programs.

    The Samaritan Guide is intended both as an information tool and an improvement program for charities rather than just a simple rating system, said Karen Woods, Director of the Center for Effective Compassion. “Poverty and neighborhood needs are complex issues requiring a multidimensional approach,” she said. “Another unusual aspect of the guide is that it provides a level playing field for charities of all sizes. Charities with $10,000 annual budgets that serve two people are just as able to receive strong ratings as charities with multi-million dollar budgets, serving thousands.”

    Each year, the Acton Institute selects one of the charities in the guide to receive the Center for Effective Compassion's Samaritan Award. This annual award identifies programs that exemplify the main principles found in Dr. Marvin Olasky's Tragedy of American Compassion, the work that Acton draws on to formulate the criteria for the charities listed in the Guide.

    In November, The Boston-based Emmanuel Gospel Center won the 2004 Samaritan Award. Its commendable work includes economic development and community-based lending for the poor. The Center received a cash prize of $10,000, and nine honorees also received recognition for their work. For further information on effective charities like Emmanuel Gospel Center, visit

    The Center for Effective Compassion is accepting applications for the 2005 Samaritan Award through June 30, 2005. All applicants are entered into the online Samaritan Guide. More information can also be found at .

    About the Acton Institute

    With its commitment to pursue a society that is free and virtuous, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is a leading voice in the national environmental and social policy debate. The Acton Institute is uniquely positioned to comment on the sound economic and moral foundations necessary to sustain humane environmental and social policies.

    The Acton Institute is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Institute works internationally to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles."

    Interviews with Institute staff may be arranged by contacting Eric Kohn at (616) 454-3080 or at [email protected]