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Health, Wealth, Living, and Learning

At Communities Foundation of Texas, our grantmaking and programs are key to our vision of building thriving communities for all. We believe that a thriving community is one in which all people feel cared for, invested in, nourished and valued, and have an equitable opportunity to contribute to the well-being and growth of themselves, their families and their communities.

We take a 360° approach to supporting the needs of individuals and their communities through four intersectional pillars of thriving: Health, Wealth, Living, and Learning. At the heart, what we’re striving to achieve through attention to these areas is equity, connectedness, and belonging for all.


• Physical health
• Mental health
• Healthy behaviors
• Healthful environment
• Responsive, quality health care
• Basic needs
• Human/animal connections

• Quality jobs
• Asset creation
• Financial coaching
• Access to credit


• Affordable housing
• Access to fresh food
• Parks and green space
• Transportation
• Arts and culture
• Public Safety
• Re-entry programs
• Safe, integrated, and connected neighborhoods


• Early childhood, K-12, and post-secondary education
• Out-of-school time experiences
• Workforce readiness
• Work-based learning


Health is a holistic concept engaging the biological, psychological, and behavioral dimensions of life. What affects a person’s health encompasses everything from their local environmental conditions, access to things like grocery stores and parks, pets as companions, transportation, preventative medicine resources and education. To move the needle on health, interventions must move upstream and engage the choices people make and the environments in which they live.

Health Staff Experts


Dimple Sureka, M.D.

Natural Environment

Celeste Arista Glover

Kaci Thane

Human-Animal Connections

Galen Smith


Wealth is defined as financial security, which is significantly impacted by employment opportunities for individuals and economic development within communities. While the majority of people living in poverty have jobs, millions of adults live paycheck to paycheck, unable to cover a surprise expense - demonstrating that employment is not enough to ensure financial security. We must aim for financial resilience in the face of economic shocks, pathways to progressively improving opportunities, and the state of prosperity in which people have enough money to fulfill their needs and many of their wants.

Wealth Staff Experts

Economic Opportunity & Stability

Wende Burton

Ashley McIver


Living - Zip code can be more predictive than genetic code when it comes to life outcomes. Decisions surrounding planning, community engagement and design; access to arts, culture and parks; as well as the presence of crime prevention strategies and justice system processes, can have a significant impact on the physical, social and mental health of community members and their ability to thrive today and across generations.

Living Staff Experts


Celeste Arista Glover

Katie Kuehl

Housing & Neighborhoods

Ashley McIver

Restorative Justice, Diversion & Reentry

Nadine Dechausay


Learning - Education has the power to change a life. Educating our youth to maximize their potential also provides the foundation to power the workforce of tomorrow. The pursuit of a certification or post-secondary degree significantly impacts the earning potential for an individual, impacting the community they live in and the legacy of their future generations. Training and skills growth also provides individuals an opportunity to reinvent themselves as circumstances change throughout their lifetime. 

Learning Staff Experts


Wende Burton

Nadine Dechausay

Katie Kuehl


Thriving Communities for All - We understand that, in the ever-evolving complexities of the systems in which we live, the pillars of Health, Wealth, Living and Learning are not stand-alone categories.  They overlap, intersect, and are deeply intertwined with many other factors and issues that ultimately affect all of us. Only with the strong support and collaboration of individuals and organizations across the community working together can we achieve truly thriving communities for all.  We look forward to being engaged in this work with you.

Thriving Communities for All Staff Experts

Equity, Connectedness & Belonging

Celeste Arista Glover

Sarah Cotton Nelson

Nadine Dechausay

We care about your learnings & insights

We also care about what works, what doesn’t, and what we (and you!) would do differently next time. We understand that not everything we fund always works out the way it was originally envisioned. Sometimes things are wildly successful beyond what could have been imagined, while at other times, things don't goes as planned, such as the unexpected era of COVID-19.

CFT's Philanthropy staff strives to use data as a flashlight rather than a hammer to learn from the experiences of those in the field, and to share learnings with others to inform better ways of planning and/or doing things differently the next time around.

Have questions about the Philanthropy Department’s approach to evaluation, learning & insights? Contact Nadine Dechausay, Director of Learning and Insights.

Are you an individual, family, foundation or company interested in philanthropic advising in any of the above areas? If so, contact Galen Smith, Senior Officer, Community Philanthropy.