Creating a new way of thinking about a social challenge or promoting an innovative approach takes time to germinate. That development time is called "field-building." The Annie E. Casey Foundation nurtured its Center for Working Families (CWF) model through trial, error and partnerships while intentionally moving this “one-stop shopping” idea forward and encouraging a national approach to take shape, now known as the Working Families Success Network. That creation of a new philanthropic field, in all its iterations, is the subject of this report.
Field-building takes timing, partners, strategies and more
Findings & Stats
Jobs Fall Short
For many families, a job alone won’t achieve financial stability and success.
Many Facets to Wealth
Households trying to build financial security must include employment and education, access to work supports and asset building.
Less Money, More Need
There are fewer philanthropic dollars available and more people in need.
The CWF approach provides three core services: 1) workforce education and training; 2) access to public supports; 3) asset-building services.
Bundling for Success
Participants who received these bundled services were up to four times more likely to achieve a major economic success such as buying a car or getting out of debt.
Statements & Quotations
The [CWF] approach was compelling to our community partners. As soon as we brought the idea back to Chicago, 14 of our lead agencies said, ‘I want one of those. ’ It was very compelling because they knew that a job alone was not enough.
– Ricki Lowitz, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Chicago’s director of economic opportunities.
The Foundation began saying this integrated-services approach would, within 20 years, be the normal way of doing business for workforce organizations across the country. Casey’s plan had several key components and included field-building strategies… Importantly, the long-term plan signaled a more deliberate strategy and ambition for engaging partners in building the field.
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