The following resources are provided to help individuals and organizations develop best practices and gain knowledge. Serve Indiana connects organizations to resources to help equip them to meet the needs of our community. Many of the resources provided below were not created by Serve Indiana. They are meant to be a starting point and not as a definitive set of instructions. Please use with caution and make sure you research the most up to date applicable laws and regulations for your organization. Please utilize the resources below to find answers to your questions, but if you get stuck, contact us and we will try to point you in the right direction.
Boards & Governance
For Nonprofit Employers
Online Training Courses
Churches and other faith-based institutions in Indiana are receiving funding from state and federal agencies in a variety of ways, all with the goal of improving the lives of the citizens of Indiana.
Voucher Programs - These programs distribute vouchers to aid recipients, which can be spent with an approved provider. The best known of these is the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) administered through the Family and Social Services Agency.
Direct Grant Recipients - An organization directly contracts with a state or federal agency to provide social services. Subgrantee Recipients - A faith-based organization is selected as a subcontractor by another non-profit or an agency with a government contract.
Reimbursement - Many church based schools participate in the school lunch program through the State Department of Education, Division of School and Community Nutrition Programs.
Tax Credits - The Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) of the Indiana Housing and Community Development Agency provides $2.5 million in tax credits to Hoosier non-profits to facilitate the provision of needed services. Of the 67 receiving organizations this year, at least 22 are faith-based.
Non-cash assistance - Programs such as Rx for Indiana are a great resource for churches, but don't involve the exchange of contracts or funds.
USA Freedom Corps Participants - Churches and other faith-based organizations are eligible to be service sites for programs of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), one of three programs administered by USA Freedom Corps.
• Government funds may never be used for inherently religious activities such as Bible studies, evangelism, or preaching.This is a rapidly evolving area of law. The best suggestion is to develop a clear policy for your organization and have it reviewed on a regular basis.
• Any inherently religious activity must be separate in time or place from a government funded activity.
• Government funded programs must be open to all, without any faith test.
• You do not have to remove religious symbols, or hide your faith. You must respect the boundary of church/state separation, but you don't need to deny who you are.
How do I start a nonprofit organization?
Please utilize the resources above and identify trainings and workshops to help you in the process of starting a nonprofit organization. Serve Indiana is not the place where you will register to become a nonprofit. Please use the information above to learn more about the process and visit our about Serve Indiana page to learn more about our role.
Does the government use federal funding to support religious activities?
No. However, faith-based and community organizations are eligible to compete with other organizations for government grants and contracts. State and federal programs often have different eligibility requirements for their programs, which you should consult before applying. Please pay careful attention to the allowable and prohibited activities for each federal grant program you in which you wish to apply. The fact that your organization is faith-based will not exclude you from participation in these programs as long as the prohibited activities do not occur.