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At Catholic Charities Fort Worth, we pride ourselves on our bold, even unreasonably crazy, goal end poverty for 10,000 families in the next 10 years. People love to be a part of something that’s audacious, something just beyond our fathomable reach. That’s our M.O., that’s our whole meaning…but I have a question.

Is it really that bold?

For starters, I have a hard time believing that it’s unreasonable to practice and support evidence-based solutions. Now more than ever before, we have access to information from more reputable economists, researchers, and the like. Why not lean into it? What organizations can afford not to? When we invite researchers down to evaluate our programs, I don’t consider it bold that we’re wanting to know if what we do works. It is the only way to get better, the only way to solve the problem.

A broken system

And what about the obvious, glaring problems in the current system that trap people in the cycle of poverty? We pretty well know what those are, so why don’t we start tackling them now? Not in a futuristic, idyllic way, but in how we can make real change and move the needle on real metrics at this very moment.

Look at the whole person

Or try this on – the whole concept of people not existing in silos. People are whole people, with a multitude of layers – both strengths and weaknesses. How can we use our ability to rise above the constraints of only thinking in terms of grants or services and instead thinking in terms of people? We cannot expect to fix a problem we cannot see if we are not looking at the whole person. An electric bill payment may help this month, but what about the fact that an individual is caring for an ailing parent, had a flat tire this week that cost them their savings to fix, and is struggling to help try to tutor their child at home on a subject they never studied themselves? Is it really too crazy to take a step back and look at the whole picture? We don’t think so. In fact, I’d argue it’s the only position that makes sense.

So our work in ending poverty, it may sound crazy. I get it. But if you get into the weeds with us, if you see what we’ve learned and do what we do, maybe you’ll agree our kind of work is just what’s needed. – Heather Reynolds, President and CEO of Catholic Charities Fort Worth

Check out our annual report here and see how with your support, ending poverty is not so out of reach after all.