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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 5, 2000


Today I am pleased to announce the release of a report by the Interagency Task Force on Nonprofits and Government identifying exemplary partnerships between federal agencies and private nonprofit organizations, highlighting best practices, and providing recommendations for further federal efforts to support and expand these partnerships.

When Vice President Gore and I were elected eight years ago, one of our key priorities was to shape a new model for the federal government, one that neither made government responsible for meeting all of society's needs, nor took a hands-off approach, leaving charitable organizations alone to address the challenges faced in so many communities. Instead, we sought a third way -- a smaller government, committed to giving people the tools they need to make the most of their lives, while working in partnership with its citizens and living within its means.

For this kind of government to work, we must have a strong civil society, with a thriving network of national and community-based nonprofit organizations that can marshal the resources of the American people to meet the challenges before us. We had this in mind when the First Lady and I hosted the first-ever White House Conference on Philanthropy in October 1999. There I named an interagency task force made up of my White House staff and representatives of 19 federal agencies to examine one important facet of the third way: partnerships between the federal government and nonprofit organizations. I directed members of the task force to identify the best examples of these private-public partnerships and evaluate the ways in which they could be improved and replicated.

In thousands of instances large and small, government agencies are working with national, state, community and faith-based nonprofit organizations, and in the process, are redefining the role of government in the 21st century. From AmeriCorps to the Welfare-to-Work Partnership, from environmental protection to national immunization programs, nonprofit partnerships are improving the lives of citizens from Florida to Alaska, Hawaii to Maine.

The role that nonprofit-government partnerships play cannot be overstated: they make government work better and, in turn, nonprofits are strengthened by these relationships. As a result, they are an essential part of our safety net for citizens in need, and when all else fails, nourish and protect the youngest and most vulnerable among us. These partnerships help ensure that the arts and humanities flourish, work to protect our environment and other national treasures, and help foster a community where neighbors can gather and support one another. In these ways, and many more, they strengthen and sustain our civil society.