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Data Driven Decision-Making (D3) Institute

Goals & Strategy

The picture of Dallas that emerged from a study released in the winter of 2012 debunked the prevailing thought that the city and its surrounding North Texas region were filled with people earning comfortable incomes. The study, called the Dallas Assets & Opportunity Profile and produced by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), revealed that 39 percent of the city’s households were living in asset poverty with even more at risk. Asset Poverty is the measurement of poverty defined as not having the financial means to support a household for three months at the federal poverty level (i.e., $4,632 for a family of three) should they lose their main source of income. Not only does financial insecurity destabilize families, it also jeopardizes the long-term vitality of cities and local economies.

With the study’s findings in hand, Communities Foundation of Texas set out to improve the financial stability of working families by bringing together the social service agencies who serve them to learn about the contemporary issues facing this population, as well as to develop the capacity within these agencies to use data strategically. And so, the Data-Driven Decision Making Institute (D3) was born.

Known among the competitively selected participating social service agencies as D3, this experience provided the agencies’ leadership and program staff with targeted learning opportunities. 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. Selected agencies participated in monthly classroom-style workshops, received one-on-one coaching and built relationships with each other to enhance services. 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

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. “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.”

Click here to view the D3 Yearbook


2012-2013 Class

2013-2014 Class

2014-2015 Class


Builders of Hope CDC

Catholic Charities of Dallas


Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity

Genesis Women’s Shelter

Healing Hands Ministries

H.I.S. BridgeBuilders

Interfaith Housing Coalition

Jewish Family Services

Literacy Instruction For Texas (LIFT)

NETWORK of Community Ministries

North Dallas Shared Ministries

The Senior Source

Vickery Meadow Learning Center (VMLC)

WiNGS (formerly YWCA of Metropolitan Dallas)

Bryan’s House

Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County

Cornerstone Assistance Network

Crossroads Community Services

Galaxy Counseling Center

Grapevine Relief and Community Exchange (GRACE)

International Rescue Committee

Irving Cares

The Ladder Alliance

The Richardson Adult Literacy Center (RALC)

SafeHaven of Tarrant County

Sharing Life Community Outreach

Vogel Alcove

Volunteers of America Texas

Wilkinson Center

YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas

Arlington Life Shelter

Center for Transforming Lives (formerly YWCA of Fort Worth & Tarrant County)

Community Enrichment Center

Community Lifeline

Dallas Leadership Foundation

Family Pathfinders of Tarrant County

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Garland

Housing Crisis Center

Interfaith Ministries of Denton


Services of Hope

Transformance (formerly Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas)

Voice of Hope

Wisdom's Hope

Watch the following video to learn about the impact CFT has made through the Data Driven Decision-Making (D3) Institute in supporting Low-Income Communities and the agencies who serve them.

What are nonprofits saying about CFT's D3 Institute? from Communities Foundation of Texas on Vimeo.

In 2016, Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT), the Commit! Partnership, and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas organized and supported a fourth Data Driven Decision-Making (D3) Institute for 2016/2017. This D3 Institute was designed to provide education-focused nonprofits that serve the needs of youth (ages 0-18), their educators, and/or their families the power to accelerate development of enduring service solutions that have greatest impact on students’ academic and social-emotional wellbeing. To learn more, click here.

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