Data-Driven Decision Making (D3) Institute

The picture of Dallas that emerged from a study released in the winter of 2012 debunked the prevailing thought that the city and its surrounding North Texas region were filled with people earning comfortable incomes. The study, called the Dallas Assets & Opportunity Profile and produced by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), revealed that 39 percent of the city’s households were living in asset poverty with even more at risk. Asset Poverty is the measurement of poverty defined as not having the financial means to support a household for three months at the federal poverty level (i.e., $4,632 for a family of three) should they lose their main source of income. Not only does financial insecurity destabilize families, it also jeopardizes the long-term vitality of cities and local economies.

With the study’s findings in hand, Communities Foundation of Texas set out to improve the financial stability of working families by bringing together the social service agencies who serve them to learn about the contemporary issues facing this population, as well as to develop the capacity within these agencies to use data strategically. And so, the Data-Driven Decision Making Institute (D3) was born.

Known among the competitively selected participating social service agencies as D3, this experience provided the agencies’ leadership and program staff with targeted learning opportunities. The D3 Institute was designed to provide organizations that offered programs and services for low-income working families the power to accelerate their development of enduring solutions to the social and economic problems facing this population. Selected agencies participated in monthly classroom-style workshops, received one-on-one coaching and built relationships with each other to enhance services. The Institute provided a unique opportunity for organizations to:

  • develop a shared understanding of the current issues and areas of need for the working poor based on currently available data
  • implement and/or expand use of data as part of program development and in strategic decision-making
  • expand network of resources and support, including sharing best practices through participation in a learning community

Since its inception in 2012 until its conclusion in 2015, 46 nonprofits participated in the D3. Leaders of many of the participating organizations have called it a game-changing experience. “It made a change in my life, and it made me more valuable as a team member,” said Jane Waters, director of operations for Healing Hands, a community-based medical and dental clinic and a member of the D3 class of 2013. “I’m so truly grateful.”

Click here to view the D3 Yearbook

D3 Class of 2014-2015

Data-Driven Decision Making 2014-2015 Class

2012-2013 Class                                

2013-2014 Class

2014-2015 Class

Builders of Hope CDC
Catholic Charities of Dallas
Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity
Genesis Women’s Shelter
Healing Hands Ministries
H.I.S. BridgeBuilders
Interfaith Housing Coalition
Jewish Family Services
Literacy Instruction For Texas (LIFT)
NETWORK of Community Ministries
North Dallas Shared Ministries
The Senior Source
Vickery Meadow Learning Center (VMLC)
WiNGS (formerly YWCA of Metropolitan Dallas)

Bryan’s House
Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County
Cornerstone Assistance Network
Crossroads Community Services
Galaxy Counseling Center
Grapevine Relief and Community Exchange (GRACE)
International Rescue Committee
Irving Cares
The Ladder Alliance
The Richardson Adult Literacy Center (RALC)
SafeHaven of Tarrant County
Sharing Life Community Outreach
Vogel Alcove
Volunteers of America Texas
Wilkinson Center
YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas

Arlington Life Shelter
Center for Transforming Lives (formerly YWCA of Fort Worth & Tarrant County)
Community Enrichment Center
Community Lifeline
Dallas Leadership Foundation
Family Pathfinders of Tarrant County
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Garland
Housing Crisis Center
Interfaith Ministries of Denton
Services of Hope
Transformance (formerly Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas)
Voice of Hope
Wisdom's Hope


Watch the following video to learn about the impact CFT has made through the Data Driven Decision-Making (D3) Institute in supporting Low-Income Communities and the agencies who serve them.

What are nonprofits saying about CFT's D3 Institute? from Communities Foundation of Texas on Vimeo.

In 2016, Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT), the Commit! Partnership, and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas will be organizing and supporting a fourth Data Driven Decision-Making (D3) Institute for 2016/2017. This D3 Institute is designed to provide education-focused nonprofits that serve the needs of youth (ages 0-18), their educators, and/or their families the power to accelerate development of enduring service solutions that have greatest impact on students’ academic and social-emotional wellbeing. To learn more, click here.

Wende Burton
Community Philanthropy Director

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