COMMUNITIES FOUNDATION of TEXAS
2014 Impact Report
key issues. Given that these three things happened organically in both a fairly immediate and sustained way—and continue as of this report’s print date—the strategic decision was made to not yet fund additional research. CFT’s time and money were assessed to be better spent in the short term invested in “live and thriving” local convening and education activities (such as the D3 Institute and the NTFF) as long as good data are available elsewhere to direct the foundation’s efforts and learnings. This strategy will be revisited regularly as factors change.
Use Data to Identify Working Poor Program Areas for CFT Grantmaking One of the critical objectives for the working poor program area is to directly fund programs and activities that will support working families and help them move toward financial independence. The selection of what to fund needed to be based on evidence and data that showed that the programs were having their intended impact. As stated previously, it was a key assumption of the D3 Institute that through this process, CFT would be able to identify potential programs and services for funding consideration or that the projects created would yield funding opportunities. Though these were possibilities, CFT also recognized the need to look at best practices in similar communities. Since 2012, CFT staff has been actively engaged in reviewing research and data from other communities, including attending conferences and seminars. As a result, the recommendations for CFT’s funding approach has been formed. One of the best practices that emerged was the model for Integrated Service Delivery, based on work developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation as the Center for Working Families model in the early 2000s. This model has since been implemented in more than 70 locations and 30 cities across the nation. CFT staff first learned of this model in 2012 at the Asset Funders Network and CFED conferences. In early 2013, CFT staff furthered their understanding of the model by visiting Cincinnati and Houston to tour multiple sites that have successfully implemented the Casey model. In late 2013, the Center for Working Families Success Network was established as a national network of funders, providers, and intermediaries to support widespread implementation of integrated service delivery as an approach to assisting low-income families. The network hosted its first national conference in Detroit, which CFT staff both attended and funded three local nonprofit providers to attend. At this conference, CFT toured a Detroit site and met with providers and funders that have been supporting this work in their communities. The model for integrated service delivery that CFT will pilot in 2014 provides a framework for delivering key services and financial support to low-income families by using an integrated approach specifically designed to make it easy for low-income families to obtain critically needed work and support services. The model is built on the concept that offering integrated services in an intentional and thoughtful way will maximize clients’ ability to overcome barriers and advance economically. The model includes a “bundled” set of three core services (see box on previous page), with a goal of helping clients overcome barriers and advance economically. The model is not a stand-alone program; rather, it is an approach that is overlaid on a provider’s existing programs, staffing structure, and client base. Services are bundled and sequenced rather than being offered as one component in isolation. Providers must intentionally integrate these three key areas in a seamless way for clients and must develop strong long-term relationships with clients. Coaching, which is provided as an integral component, is used to help clients set goals, develop plans, and change behavior. Data on clients and their outcomes are routinely collected and analyzed and are used regularly to make decisions about improving performance and adjusting operations to further support clients in maintaining long-term success. The evidence for this model is very promising, as documented in the Working Family Success Network’s A Successful Strategy for Promoting Financial Stability. One study found that participants who received integrated services were three to four times more likely to achieve major economic outcomes—getting out of debt, purchasing a car, getting a job, completing training or certification—than those whose services were not bundled. Participants with the