There are literally thousands of charity organizations and non-profits in this country. Only a small number of them provide financial support, and of those that do, some charities focus on a certain religion or faith. However the majority even such as the Christian faith Salvation Army, help anyone who is low income and/or struggling. Whether you think this is right or wrong, it is a fact.
That being said, the vast majority of charity organizations help people regardless of their religion. They will not discriminate when it comes to age, race, religion, gender, or any other factor. There are also some programs that can only support an individual due to government regulations, and one that comes to mid is Christian Heath Share which is somewhat regulated by Obamacare. So there may very well be reasons for some restrictions. But other groups just decide to help people of some religions.
In addition, their may be local restrictions as well. One example is the Jewish Federation. The national groups is advocating for the poor, religious rights, and the like. However there may be some centers in which they restrict some programs (namely financial) to those of the Jewish Faith only. The point being each organization is different with their own by laws.
So you may ask why do some charities have restrictions in place? A big driver is where do their funds come from. And how many resources do they have. Any charity that receives public funding (whether from the federal government or a state), by law these charities can’t restrict their services based on religion. They need to help anyone that qualifies by non-religious tests, such as income.
The Salvation army is one charity with very few restrictions. They generally have volunteers and funds from many people in the community. Christians including Catholics may volunteer or donate, but so well may Protestants, Muslims, those of Jewish faith, and others. So they provide help to people of all religions, and their thrift stores sell items to anyone in the public.
Each organization has their own source of funding. They need to make difficult decisions as to where it comes from. If they do go down the government path, then the programs are more widely available. However if they use other sources (such as private donations), then maybe the criteria of those donors is they want to only help individuals of that same faith. The terms are often set in the charities purpose document, or instrument.
For example, if Mr. and Mrs. Smith donate 10 million dollars to a charity, maybe the Smith’s indicate that only members of that religion can get help. So in many cases a charity does not make the decision themselves on where the money goes, but rather the donors sort of drive that.
Another reason that so called “discrimination” can exist is do to the federal quality Act 2010. This is a national law that allows charities to have religious and/or sexual orientation tests in place. The law allows some restrictions to premises, membership restrictions, and more. So this can in effect prevent someone from a different religion of accessing all of the group’s social services.
Which charities are not faith based
As we indicated above, the majority of charities help struggling people no matter their faith. So there are way too many to list here. But some of the biggest, arguably most well known ones including the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities do not have a religious test. Anyone that meets their other criteria can apply for help. Saint Vincent de Paul also assists people of all religions. There are many others that are open to anyone in need, and find charitable assistance programs.
There is a thought out there that services from charities may, over time, replace the so called “welfare state” that many nations have, including the United States. This means that the social services, financial support, advice, etc. will help the poor and struggling. Now this can’t be faith based if it is to be successful. Therefore anyone that ever needs assistance should always try to give back to the charity at some point. Volunteer, donate “time” or do anything else. As we all want these non-faith based charities to exceed. As it can do the country good!