Disparity of Targeted Funding in the Black Urban Community
There are many ways to get funding for different types of projects, no matter where a person or organization is located. Some of the areas most in need of funding for projects are in black, urban communities (Barnes, 2005; Day, 2002; Haight, 1998; Patillo-McCoy, 1998). Money is often scarce there, and without funding there are few programs that can help people who really need it. This puts these residents at a distinct disadvantage, and makes it more difficult for them to get out of poverty and build better lives for themselves. No matter what types of programs need funding and financial help, there are different ways in which getting that funding can be considered.
Church congregations often help raise money for community projects, but there are other ways in which these congregations can help those in need (Billingsley, 1999; Brown & Brown, 2003; Wood, 2002). One of those ways is through voting in local elections. That allows more support to be given to officials who are interested in funding those projects that are deemed important by the community (Calhoun-Brown, 1996; Cavendish, 2000; Chaves & Higgins, 1992).
The individuals who hold elected office are the ones who generally control what programs receive targeted funding in various communities (Wood, 2002). With that in mind, it is possible to focus on voting in order to elect people who are more interested in funding causes that are deemed important to the people of the church, who often represent a large segment of those who live and work in the community (Chaves & Higgins, 1992; Harris, 1999). This paper will explore the disparity of targeted funding in the black urban community, and how the black churches within that community can use their strong congregational influence to vote for elected officials who will fund the projects that are considered important to the church and the surrounding area.
Targeted funding is that which is specific to something, instead of being used for a broad range of issues (McClerking & McDaniel, 2005). For example, providing $50,000 to build a community playground would be targeted funding, where providing that same amount of money to the community to use as it saw fit would not be targeted. Both types of funding are important and can be significant for a community, but they are used for very different purposes (Barnes, 2005). When a community has something that matters strongly to a majority of its residents, the focus can become how to find targeted funding that will allow it to move forward with that project (Lincoln & Mamiya, 1990).
There are also a number of ways in which targeted funding can be acquired by communities that really need it. One of these is through grants, because getting a grant can really help a community move in the right direction. With a good action plan, leaders in the community can apply for a grant for a very specific thing, and they may be more likely to receive that money than they would if they were only interested in being given a grant to spend however, they like (Patillo-McCoy, 1998).
While grants are very important ways to get funding for community projects, another way to get those projects funded is through the money that the elected officials have in the budget (Smith, 1996; Wood, 2002). A lot of money goes to targeted projects every year, and the officials are the people who determine which projects get the money and which are denied (Chaves & Higgins, 1992).
If officials have strong opinions about certain projects or communities, whether those opinions are good or bad, this will generally affect whether or not the projects receive funding so they can move forward. If too many people in the community remain dissatisfied with the funding being provided through elected officials, there are ways to correct the problem. The most common way is to vote out the current officials and elect new ones who will be more interested in providing the community with funding for projects that are significantly important to its residents (Wood, 2002).
The Black Urban Community
When considering targeted funding issues, it is important to analyze the black urban community. This is a community that often struggles for the basics, and that recognizes the need for help with many different aspects of life (Chaves & Higgins, 1992; McClerking & McDaniel, 2005; McRoberts, 1999). It is not so much a racial issue as it is a poverty issue (Wood, 2002). Statistics show that black urban communities and neighborhoods generally have less money per resident than communities with a higher proportion of white residents (Barnes, 2005; McClerking & McDaniel, 2005).
With this in mind, the black urban community must become aware of its plight and look for ways to improve upon the issues with which it deals (Barnes, 2005; Billingsley, 1999). Without working for improvement, there can be little the community can do in order to provide its residents with the help and hope they need in order to become more successful. Unfortunately, the culture of the black urban community does not always make working for something better a trait or skill to be applauded. There is a great deal of diversity within the community itself, and some of it is, unfortunately, geared toward the reinforcement of negative stereotypes.
As the black urban community moves toward improvement for its residents, there are a number of things it can do. Neighborhood watches and other anti-crime programs are popular, but there is also money needed (Cavendish, 2000). Targeted funding is an excellent way for these kinds of communities to see more success and to help their residents work their way out of poverty and into something better (Barnes, 2005). This kind of funding can take the form of scholarships for education, or it can be used to improve recreation areas, libraries, and other places where the entire community can gather and where everyone can benefit from the proceeds of the funding (Barnes, 2005; Patillo-McCoy, 1998). That is one of the best ways to help the black urban community.
Black Church Congregations
Among the activities that are commonly seen in a large number of residents of the black urban community is church attendance (Barnes, 2005; Chaves & Higgins, 1992). Many black churches have large congregations that are very dedicated to improving the community as a whole and bringing more people to the love of God. As they work to convert people to their faith, they also spend time in the community doing good works and helping others as much as possible (Barnes, 2005). This desire to help others can be used to the advantage of everyone in the community when it comes to targeted funding in black urban areas (McClerking & McDaniel, 2005).
Church congregations are often mobilized to help others as a group or a cohesive unit, and the ways in which they do that can become very political in nature (Calhoun-Brown, 1996; Lincoln & Mamiya, 1990). Because large groups of dedicated people can get things done, the church is a logical place to bring information about what can and should be done in the community (Wood, 2002). A number of black churches are dedicated to community improvement, and this is seen as more of a duty or mission in those churches than would typically be seen with white congregations (McClerking & McDaniel, 2005; Patillo-McCoy, 1998).
With black churches, there are two main schools of thought that address community and political activism. One of these is a more hands-off approach where issues are addressed but there is no direct encouragement to change voting habits (Barnes, 2005). This passive way of getting things done may not work as well, however, because not everyone will be moved to change anything based on it. Many black churches, though, take a hands-on approach to more than just worship (McRoberts, 1999; Wood, 2002). They believe that part of their religious duty is to improve the world around them, and they want to see things get done that will further their community (Brown & Brown, 2003; Day, 2002). They are tight-knit groups, and they are committed to the people in their congregation and their neighborhood (Haight, 1998). With that in mind, they know they need to keep pushing leaders to make changes if they are going to get anything done that will benefit those around them.
Because black churches in larger urban areas often have significant numbers of people in their congregations, there are large groups of people who are focused on the changes they see as important. This can make a difference at the grass-roots level, but there is more to the issue than that (Harris, 1999). These congregations often start programs to help people in need, and they may also provide food and shelter to homeless people or those who do not have enough money to eat properly (Wood, 2002). They plant community gardens, clean up parks and green spaces, and work to…