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Research Reports

Working Faith: How Religious Organizations Provide Welfare-to-Work Services

Stephen V. Monsma & Carolyn M. Mounts


One acquires debts of gratitude in the process of conducting a study of the magnitude reported on here. First, I need to thank the hundreds of welfare-to-work programs in four cities that took the time to respond to our questionnaire. Almost without exception they did so carefully and thoughtfully.Without their willing cooperation there could be no study. I also wish to thank the directors, staffs, and clients of 46 welfare-to-work programs who agreed to the intrusive process site visits and being interviewed in person.

I also wish to thank the Smith Richardson Foundation for its generous financial support of this project. Its grant made possible the study whose findings are reported here. Pepperdine University—and especially the Social Science Division and the Davenport Institute for Public Policy—played a key role in supporting this project with resources, giving me time off from my normal teaching duties, and helping in the publication of this report. Deserving of special mention are Christopher Soper, the chair of the Social Science Division, and Jonathan Kemp, the director of the Davenport Institute.My colleague, Khanh Bui, provided invaluable help in the statistical analysis of the data. The Calvin College Social Research Center and its assistant director, Ann Annis, played a vital role in conducting the mailed questionnaire portion of the study. Also providing crucial help in the production and distribution of this report are the Center for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society (CRRUCS), its director Byron Johnson, and the Manhattan Institute.

Finally, I owe a special debt of gratitude to Carolyn Mounts, who brought dedication, skill, experience, and a delightfully even temperament to her role as the associate researcher in this study. Although I wrote this report and am solely responsible for its contents, she was involved at every stage of the research and her comments on successive drafts of this report notably improved it.

I also wish to point out that this report is the precursor of a more complete, book-length treatment of this study. Hopefully, it will be available in 2003. Also, I am developing further the Los Angeles portion of this study in an attempt to shed more light on the vital question of what types of welfare-to-work programs are more effective in achieving their goal of assisting welfare recipients to move from welfare dependence to economic self-sufficiency.

Stephen V. Monsma