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Building the Economic Security of Low-Income Working Families

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We believe all Texans deserve the opportunity to engage in meaningful work and to acquire assets that help their families support themselves and advance economically. 

Yet, North Texas’ poverty is higher than the national average — two out of five households couldn’t stay above the federal poverty level for three full months should they lose their main source of income. Unfortunately, financial insecurity not only destabilizes families, but also erodes the vitality of our region.

The overall mission of the Economic Security for Low-Income Families focus at CFT is to improve the economic security of working families in the North Texas area by:

  • Promoting community understanding of the current issues and challenges facing low-income and working families (building awareness through data and convening people);
  • Convening and aligning service providers (capacity building, training and convening)
  • Investing in programs and services that will drive families and individuals in achieving and sustaining economic security (investing in best practices and collaborative funding.)
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CURRENT KEY INITIATIVES:

Working Families Success

The Working Families Success (WFS) model provides a framework for nonprofits to deliver key services and financial support to low-income families using an integrated approach of services specifically designed to make it easier for families to obtain critically needed support. 

WFS is built on the concept that nonprofits offering integrated services in an intentional and thoughtful way helps clients overcome barriers and advance economically.

Research shows that organizations whose services are intentionally integrated around three core elements — employment, income support and financial coaching — make a positive difference in the financial stability and mobility of individuals. Consistent one-on-one coaching is provided as an integral component of service delivery and is used to help clients set goals, develop plans and change behavior over time, requiring agencies to develop strong, long-term relationships with clients versus the traditional one-time, transactional client experience. 

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DFW's Workforce Collaborative

Nonprofit agencies that provide workforce/employment services across DFW were brought together to learn best practices, such as employer engagement and data tracking, to improve employment outcomes.

In addition to the training, more than 20 agencies also participated in a benchmarking survey that compared their workforce/employment data against national peers. This data has been beneficial, as it provides insight into the local agencies’ current strengths as well as opportunities for improvement. 

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KERA’s One Crisis Away

KERA’s One Crisis Away is a nationally recognized multiplatform media series that puts a human face on asset poverty and the financial struggles of North Texans by investigating the lives of real people.

Since its launch in 2014, KERA has received multiple awards, including the station’s first national Edward R. Murrow Award recognizing outstanding work produced by radio, television and digital news organization. Additionally, KERA received the first-ever Excellence in Consumer Financial Reporting Award from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI) and the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), a national award that aims to promote coverage of consumer personnel finance. KERA continues to expand on the stories and content through continued engagement with community partners.

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WiNGS Coaching Institute

Unlike financial literacy, financial capability programs — when done well — can help people change financial behaviors, work toward financial goals and truly improve their financial well-being.

Successful coaches help working poor families move from surviving to thriving and are an integral component of their success. Launched in July of 2018, the WiNGS Coaching Institute is designed to support a growing field of practice that facilitates greater financial capability and economic success among targeted populations, by providing robust training and support for coaches. Through classroom training, coaching huddles and learning labs, participants have an opportunity to receive up to 61 hours of training and education per year. Additionally, the Coaching Institute offers ongoing learning and continuing education year-round.

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Dollars for College Child Savings Accounts

Kids who grow up with even a small college savings amount are 3 times more likely to go to college and 4 times more likely to graduate.

Dollars for College is a children’s savings account (CSA) program that is designed to provide low income families with a safe, easy to access, trusted, and low-cost opportunity to build savings for their child’s future post-secondary education, developed in a partnership between Communities Foundation of Texas and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. The goal for Dollars for College is to ensure that every student can achieve their dreams beyond high school, which is best realized through completing post-secondary education.

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“Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Where you are at this point in your life is not the end of our story. It’s not where you’re always going to be, so ask for help so that you can move forward.”

- Client from Catholic Charities of Fort Worth
RESOURCES
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Dallas Economic Opportunity Assessment

In April 2018, Communities Foundation of Texas commissioned the Dallas Economic Opportunity Assessment of Dallas County, a comprehensive analysis of the region's economic opportunity.

Download the full report

Assets and Opportunity in Dallas, TX

Assets & Opportunity Profile for Dallas

The 2018 Dallas Assets & Opportunity Profile provides an updated financial snapshot of Dallas, Dallas County and North Texas, examining trends in the financial security of residents over the past six years.

Download the full report

Want to learn more about CFT’s focus on Economic Security?

At Communities Foundation of Texas, we are deeply committed to making a profound and measurable impact in the economic success across the North Texas community. If you have questions on our work, or would like to learn how you could get involved, please contact us.

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