WILMINGTON, DE-The Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award will continue to pursue federal funding for the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP).

Last Wednesday, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science voted to deny funding for the program for fiscal year 2012. Historically, federal funding has been joined by funds from the Foundation, along with application fees and the service of nearly 1,000 volunteers. The federal funding is a small portion of the total amount of hours, funds and value contributed to the Baldrige Program. The Program’s $9.6 million federal budget represents a little less than 19% of the Baldrige Enterprise's $51 million total annual resources.

The Baldrige Program provides improvement practices, principles and methodologies to strengthen U.S. organizations, enhancing their competitiveness, quality and productivity.

“The Baldrige program is a model public-private partnership, it is not just an award program as it has been represented,” says Debbie J. Collard, chair of the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. “Indeed, this is the only U.S. public-private partnership dedicated to improving U.S. organizations so they can compete globally. Baldrige helps American companies increase job growth, innovation, and organizational excellence in business, education, healthcare, and nonprofit organizations. In short, this program helps America stay competitive.”

The Baldrige Program was created during a recession, in 1987 when the United States was faced with economic challenges similar to current ones. In 1998, Congress expanded the program to include healthcare and education, providing success stories such as Poudre Valley Health System in Colorado, and Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland. In 2004, Congress expanded the program to include the not-for-profit sector so that government agencies, such as VA Cooperative Studies Program Clinical Research Pharmacy Coordinating Center in New Mexico, and the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) in New Jersey, plus state and local governments, such as Coral Springs, Florida, could could benefit from the program.

An independent economic study of the Baldrige program conservatively estimated a 207-to-1 return on the government’s investment, providing nearly $25 billion in benefits to the economy.

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform report and legislative language has suggested that companies don’t need the Baldrige program to do better. The language for Baldrige comes from an old report that predates any of the category expansions (i.e. healthcare, education, non-profit) and speaks to manufacturing quality, rather than organizational quality.

Baldrige award recipients that used the program methodology for six continuous years showed a median growth of 57 percent, revenue growth of 93 percent, and job growth of 63 percent. (In comparison, industries from matched industries and time periods had 3.2 percent of job growth.)

The 83 Baldrige applicants in 2010 represented 277,700 jobs, 1,500 work locations, more than $38.5 billion in revenues/budgets and more than 80 million customers served.

Foundation members will continue to pursue support for Baldrige, meeting with Subcommittee members, as well as House and Senate committees where the Baldrige funding levels are further considered before appropriations are legislated.

Other supporters of the Baldrige program who have called for continued federal funding include ASQ, the State Alliance for Performance Excellence, and other major associations such as American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), American Hospital Association (AHA), the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), the National School Boards Association (NSBA), and the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).