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Most institutional religious groups offer various forms of service to members of their own communities as well as to their local community and, in many cases, the wider world. These services may include food banks, tutoring programs, housing support, environmental engagement, and political advocacy as well as financial support for service organizations within and outside their religious tradition. Some institutional religious groups extend their service to the community through formal projects and programs in separate organizations, often referred to as faith-based organizations (FBOs), that may be located in facilities that are separate from the primary worship site, such as schools, food pantries, child or elder care centers, health care centers, employment programs, international aid organizations, etc. 

Institutional religious service sites may be funded and otherwise supported by one religious congregation (for example, Sacred Heart Community Service); by a group of communities under the auspices of regional or national organization such as a denomination, diocese, synod (for example, Jewish Silicon Valley or Santa Maria Urban Ministry); through multi-faith collaborations (for example, PACT: People Acting in Community Together); and by nonreligious service organizations (for example, Beyond Belief Network and local affiliates such as the Atheist Community of San Jose).