Economic Stability of Low-Income Families



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.  

We support strategic efforts that enhance the economic security of working families through the North Texas region through the following key initiatives: 

Working Families Success Network of North Texas

The Working Family Success Network of North Texas (WFSNT) is a program that seeks to improve the economic stability of working families by helping the North Texas region understand the issues and challenges this population faces. The network includes nine community-based organizations from the Dallas/Fort Worth region who are committed to helping families achieve lasting economic outcomes, including increased income, improved credit scores, a reduction of debt and the generation of wealth for their clients and their communities.

Dallas/Fort Worth Workforce Benchmarking Collaborative

The Workforce Collaborative is a funding partnership of the CFT, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas (UWMD) and JPMorgan Chase Foundation.  In 2016, 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, 18 agencies also participated in a benchmarking survey that compared their workforce workforce/employment data against national peers. This data has been beneficial, as it provides data into the local agencies’ current strengths as well as opportunities for improvement.

Other Noteworthy Community Impact Grants and Initiatives:

KERA’s One Crisis Away 

KERA’s One Crisis Away project focuses a spotlight on North Texans living on the financial edge. One Crisis’s Away is a nationally recognized multiplatform 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 that recognizes 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. 

WiNGS’ North Texas Coaching Academy

Launched in 2018, with the support of local funders, including CFT, WiNGS Coaching Academy will provide quality, affordable and sustainable financial coaching training to nonprofits and for profit community partners in North Texas.  The academy will serve as a solution for professional, standardized coach training that delivers resources for continuing education and creates a network of support for coaches.   

Data Driven Decision Making (D3) Institute

Known among the competitively selected participating social service agencies as D3, this experience provided agencies’ leadership and program staff with targeted learning opportunities. 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. 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. 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 

“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.”


Goals & Strategy

Working Family Success

D3 sessionsThe Working Families Success model provides a framework for delivering key services and financial supports to low-income families using an integrated approach specifically designed to make it easier for low-income families to obtain critically needed work support services. The model is built on the concept that offering integrated services in an intentional and thoughtful way helps clients overcome barriers and advance economically. The model includes a “bundled” set of three core elements: employment services, income support and financial coaching.

CFT's goal is to support selected nonprofits with knowledge and information to become an established Working Family Success Center—a family-friendly venue that provides bundled services leading to increased economic well-being. Selected agencies are asked to make a multi-year commitment to participate in training, including receiving significant program guidance and training, to be part of a learning cohort, and share best practices and key learnings that can be used to further expand the implementation of this model in the North Texas community.


Who is Eligible?

Agencies currently participating in the WFS cohort/pilot met all of the following criteria:

  • Have a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt designation from the Internal Revenue Service.
  • At least 50% of the total population served by the agency must be residents of either Dallas, Denton, Collin or Tarrant County.
  • Currently serving the "working poor" through agency programs or services, defined by a household (either individual or family) earning less than 200% of the federal poverty line -- $21,600 for an individual or $44,100 for a family of four with two children -- and in which a member of the household has spent at least 27 weeks in the previous 12 months in the labor force either working or looking for work.
  • Currently providing at least two or more of the core services (employment services, financial counseling/coaching and income supports/asset building).
  • Willingness to make a multi-year commitment to the program and to actively participate in cohort training sessions.


What is the deadline to apply?

At this time, CFT is not accepting new applications for the Working Families Success cohort. Please check back periodically for updates.


At this time, CFT is not accepting new applications for the Working Families Success cohort. Please check back periodically for updates.


Q. How much funding does CFT have to invest in initiatives around the economic security for working families each year?

A. We have approximately $1 million available annually for grantmaking to support the focus area of economic security for low income, working families. We are currently focusing our limited resources on the Working Family Success Model, which is designed to provide organizations that offer programs and services for low-income working families the power to accelerate their development of solutions to the social and economic problems facing this population.

Q. How long will economic security for working families be a focus area for CFT?

A.Our trustees have not set a definite time frame for re-evaluating the foundation’s Community Impact focus areas. It is likely that we will continue to make significant investments to support this focus area for the next 3-5 years.

Q. Does CFT plan to open up grant opportunities for programs that directly serve low income families?

A.There are no new grant application opportunities at this time. Please check back periodically for updates.


Donate to our initiative to increase the economic security of low income families. 

Wende Burton
Community Philanthropy Director

45% of Dallas households could not survive for three months above the poverty level if they lost their job today.

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