The Women’s Resource helps women and girls make choices toward becoming independent, productive and financially stable.
The Owning Our Destiny campaign will raise $1.5 million to expand our services for the next three years to deliver more of our mission: to help more women and girls become financially secure.
Coaches work with women one-on-one to help them gain confidence and achieve their career goals.
Our mission is to help women and girls make choices toward becoming independent, productive, and financially stable, ultimately resulting in a stronger community and a brighter future.
In 1990, a group of visionary women established The Women’s Resource (TWR) on the founding belief that a woman who controls her finances controls her destiny. Initially, the organization focused on commissioning research and issuing grants to benefit Houston’s women and girls. Over the years, TWR’s programs have evolved to expand its reach and impact while maintaining the organization’s founding vision to empower women and girls to become independent, productive, and financially stable. Today, TWR is one of the leading providers of free financial education and coaching in the Houston area and is the only nonprofit organization in the city with a focus on financial education for low to moderate-income women and girls.
Through our signature YourLife Finance programs, TWR offers a range of opportunities for classes and coaching that are tailored to meet women’s unique circumstances. Our target audience is women outside of the financial mainstream and we collaborate with more than 40 nonprofit partners to reach women who are most in need—those who are fleeing violence, in substance abuse recovery programs, veterans, or seeking emergency rental or utility assistance. YourLife clients are 84% minority and tend to be low-wage workers with limited benefits and without resources. Forty percent of adult clients report a monthly income of less than $600 and 19% of clients are over 50.
Our RISE! Program for high school girls is implemented in partnership with Houston ISD, Spring Branch ISD and YES Prep in schools where, on average, 81% of students are economically disadvantaged. Seventy percent of our RISE! students will also be the first in their families to go on to college.
Last year, TWR served 1,375 women and girls from 36 zip codes across the Greater Houston area.
The Women’s Resource benefits from a highly-qualified, diverse staff driven to achieve our mission.
Christine Powell serves as Executive Director and is a passionate advocate for social equality, devoting her career for two decades to lifting up the underserved. Christine received her Master in Public Health from the University of Texas. The Board of Directors come from diverse backgrounds, talents and expertise and provide informed strategic direction, solid fiduciary oversight and stewardship of our resources. We are putting together our campaign leadership committee at this time.
The Owning Our Destiny campaign will raise $1,500,000 in cash and pledges in 2023 for expanded services for the next three years to deliver more of our mission: to help more women and girls become financially secure.
The Texas Women’s Institute recently released its 2022 report on Economic Issues for Women in Texas (Home – Economic Issues for Women in Texas (txwfecoissues.org). These statistics are alarming:
· Between July and October of 2021, 37% of Texas women in rental units reporting lack of confidence in paying next month’s rent. Sixty-three percent in arrears said they were “somewhat” or “very” likely to be evicted soon
· One in five Black women and one in 12 Latinas report having been evicted at least once as adults, compared to one in 15 Anglo women. Women with children are the most likely to receive eviction judgments.
· Texas women’s debt-to-income ratio is 13% higher than men
· For a Texas woman making the median income of $41,687, year-round full-time infant care takes up 21% of her earnings
· The average cost for year-round, full-time licensed/ registered care increased by 16% from 2018 to 2021
And the report points out the economic challenges for women as a result of the pandemic:
· Over 60% of Texas women were in households that experienced difficulty paying their usual household expenses during the pandemic. In 2021, one out of four women in Texas households did not have their regular source of income from before the pandemic
· Before the pandemic, 60% of Texas mothers were breadwinners, with women of color and low-income mothers more likely to be the sole breadwinners. However, the pandemic has led to an increase in women leaving the workforce to care for their children.
Given these economic trends, TWR’s work is needed now more than ever. Yet, with our current staff, program expansion is limited. Through the Owning Our Destiny campaign, TWR will increase staffing over the next three years to serve more women and girls.
A. Grow Financial Coaching Staff from two to four.
Through its signature YourLife Finance programs, TWR offers coaching that is tailored to meet women’s unique circumstances. Whether a woman is fleeing a violent home, reentering the workforce after incarceration, overcoming addiction, or dealing with systemic barriers to success, she will find knowledge, hope and possibilities at TWR. Financial Coaches offer free and confidential guidance to help clients manage their money and improve their financial futures
B. Launch Career Coaching Staff.
TWR recently established the YourLife Career Coaching program. It has proven so successful that the organization is committed to its growth. Career Coaches work with women on a one-to-one basis to help them achieve their career goals. Some are entering the workforce for the first time. Others are looking for higher-paying jobs or vying for promotions to advance their careers. Through coaching, these women gain the confidence and skills to crush it in the workplace.
C. Hire a RISE! Coordinator to support program growth.
RISE (Road to Independence, Success, and Empowerment) is a school-based program for high school girls that equips them to make sound financial choices. Participants stay with the program for all four years of high school and meet weekly with their group, which is led by a TWR facilitator. Having a coordinator for the program will support its growth so that more girls receive financial education before they enter the adult world where it is so easy to make bad financial decisions.
D. Strengthen the Admin Team.
Additional support staff is needed manage administrative functions that are needed to maintain efficiency for direct service providers. A Development Associate will also be added to build TWR’s capacity for raising additional funding to sustain expanded programming well into the future.
TWR IMPLEMENTS TWO CORE PROGRAMS:
YourLife Finance Programs: TWR offers the only financial stability services in Houston that focus on providing financial education and guidance to historically underserved women outside of the financial mainstream. Our suite of adult programs includes four unique programs that cater to a variety of common needs barriers women face as they navigate their financial situations. These include one-on-one and group financial coaching sessions, a six-week financial education course, and one-on-one career coaching.
RISE! (Road to Independence, Success, and Empowerment): This financial education and leadership development program for high school girls helps them learn to make responsible financial choices before they find themselves in critical financial situations. The program is comprised of peer groups who stay together throughout their high schools with a female role model who facilitates weekly sessions on-site during school hours.
TWR has developed a successful program model in collaboration with 40 community partners that include other local non-profits, community centers, colleges, schools, shelters, transitional living centers, and the county jail. While these organizations provide critical services for women and girls, few have the resources or expertise to offer financial education programs. These partners recognize the importance of TWR’s programs in helping to determine the future success of their clients.
Most clients are referred from TWR partners, though some clients come to us through our online and community presence. Programming is offered at our partners’ sites to reduce transportation and childcare barriers. Virtual options are also available as needed. There are no limitations to how many classes or coaching sessions each client pursues.
The annual average cost per client is $207. All services are provided free of charge.
TWR relies upon the philanthropic community to ensure that we can offer our transformative programming free of charge.
Over the past seven years, with the leadership of the current Executive Director, TWR has more than doubled its operating revenue by strengthening relationships with corporations, becoming a United Way agency, building an even stronger case for support based on impact numbers and maintaining a strategically invested endowment. Revenue comes from a well-balanced mix of the following sources: Individual, Corporate and Foundation Contributions (30%), Special Events (26%), Investment Income (19%), Government Aid (15%) and United Way (10%). Given this successful pattern of growth and corresponding program expansion, TWR is committed to increasing revenue by 20% over the next five years.
TWR has developed a plan for increasing staff resources incrementally over the next 3 years. This plan includes doubling the number of financial coaches, launching the career coaching program, hiring a coordinator for the RISE! program and growing the administrative team with an Operations Director and Development Associate. With these resources in place and a guiding strategic plan, TWR will be well-positioned to continue its pattern of revenue growth well into the future.
The Governance Committee of the Board of Directors has oversight of succession and board development. A succession plan is in place for both short and long-term situations. We recently invested in a new Director of Operations position to ensure continuity of the key areas of human resources and finance and continue to grow the organization so that each department has employees they can develop into their role. We also have operating manuals and KPI’s for all leadership positions and a strong strategic plan that outlines the organizations goals for the next three years and a roadmap to achieve those goals. In our 32 years, we have only transitioned leadership three times.
Board terms are 2 years long and we also have a succession plan for the board based on a board matrix that highlights strengths in gaps in the areas of expertise, influence, and demographic make-up. We have a board of 21 and each year we roll off 2-3 board members giving us an opportunity to recruit for our identified deficiencies. Over the past two years we have been keenly focused on broadening the racial and ethnic representation of our board members and have reached our goal of 50% minority representation.
TWR’s founding members recognized the value of establishing an endowment for the ongoing financial health of the organization. Hence, they raised $500,000 in the 1990’s, which has grown to $1.5 million currently and generates approximately $150,000 annually to help cover operating expenses.
The fund is managed by Edelman Financial Engines with an investment policy created by TWR with oversight provided by the Finance Committee. TWR can use up to 7% of an 18-month trailing average of investment earnings to reinvest in the operations of the organization or for special projects.
TWR embarked upon a 5-year strategic plan in January 2020, which was guided by a task force comprised of board and staff. This plan is guiding the current initiative to increase staffing and expand programming.
TWR does not currently receive government funding, with the exception of a PPP grant during COVID to invest in technology for providing our services virtually. With the addition of career coaching to our roster of programs, we will seek potential government funding focused on workforce development.
TWR has received clean audits annually since its inception.
TWR relies heavily on volunteers to fulfill our mission and we simply could not meet the needs of our clients without them. In 2022, 159 volunteers provided 330 hours of their time as class instructors, volunteer coaches, career panelists, and administrative support. Volunteers are recruited through social media, our website and email campaigns, as well as through partnerships with corporations, including many banks and financial institutions.
© 2020 The Women's Resource of Greater Houston. All rights reserved.