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Making Tomorrow Better: CFT Launches Community Impact Grantmaking in 2012

CFT trustees recently selected two focus areas for the foundation’s community impact grantmaking over the next few years:

  1. Enhancing the economic security of the working poor, and
  2. Improving high school retention and graduation rates by investing in at-risk middle school youth.

This and future newsletters will highlight CFT’s progress in addressing these two areas of community need.

WHO ARE THE “WORKING POOR”?

A household (individual or family):

  1. Where at least one member has spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force working or looking for work in the last year.
    AND
  2. Earns less than 200% of the federal poverty line ($21,660/year for an individual or $44,100/year for a family of four with two kids).

IN DALLAS, THE WORKING POOR POPULATION is growing due to a weaker economy and fewer job and training opportunities.

As a first step to better understand the economic security needs of the working poor, also referred to as the “hidden poor,” CFT met with nonprofit leaders from organizations including the YWAcciónCitySquare and United Way. “There has not been data available to understand the unique needs and challenges facing the working poor in Dallas in many years,” says Sarah Cotton Nelson, chief philanthropy officer at CFT. “Step one was to gather more recent information, which is why we commissioned the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) to produce an Asset and Opportunity Profile for Dallas.” See key report statistics below.

In order to help local nonprofits effectively use the CFED data, CFT will soon accept applications from organizations that serve the working poor and are interested in participating in a year-long institute to support the strategic use of data in their decision-making and programs. Learn more March 29 at CFT’s nonprofit workshop.

WHO ARE “AT-RISK YOUTH”?

“At-risk youth” are those more likely to encounter difficulties in their academic, family or social lives, engage in drug or alcohol abuse, leave home or commit crimes and become incarcerated.

AT-RISK MIDDLE SCHOOL YOUTH

Improving High School Retention and Graduation Rates

THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY 75,000 AT-RISK MIDDLE SCHOOL YOUTH in the Dallas area.

To begin our work in the area of at-risk middle school youth, CFT trustees and staff are reviewing proposals from DFW area nonprofits outlining their efforts to positively impact two goals:

  1. Increasing the pipeline of new, high-quality middle school teachers and school leaders, and
  2. Improving the quality of teachers and school leaders currently serving in local high-need middle schools so they are better equipped to improve student achievement.

Grant recipients will be announced in June 2012.

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