Economic Security Initiative

Our goal: Improve the lives of women and girls statewide.

Economic security means being financially independent: having enough money to pay the bills with some left over to enjoy life and plan for the future. In Texas, women and girls lack economic security and leadership opportunities to reach their full potential. Investing in women and girls drives positive change to build better communities for all.

Our Economic Security Initiative

Providing women and girls with access to critical life and work supports such as education, childcare, health care and housing is essential to women’s economic security. Our Economic Security Initiative supports programs hosts gatherings that help to move women and girls from surviving to thriving, giving them control of their lives and their families We have committed more than $10 million to fund the most effective programs and increase public awareness around the issue of economic security for women, girls, and their families. Our approach has been honed over 35 years as a community foundation. We use our Statewide Research and advocacy to identify and invest in both proven strategies and new, innovative ideas – all with a sharp focus on helping to improve the economic stability of women, girls and families.

Impact and Reach

To date, our Economic Security Initiative has impacted more than 62,244 Texans, including 40,581 women and girls from diverse ethnic and socio-economic communities.

Strategy Funds

Texas Women’s Foundation invests for the long-term in sustained programming that moves women and girls from surviving to thriving, and gives them control of their lives and their families’ futures.

Two Strategy Funds were established in 2014 after we released our Economic Issues for Women in Texas research that examined the four key building blocks of women’s economic security – education, child care, health care and housing.  Our Child Care Access Fund and Health Care Access Fund are successful examples of how our intentional investments in cost-effective, efficient programs produce meaningful change for low-income women and their families.

Through the Strategy Funds, we partner with established and proven providers of programs and services.  The Child Care Access Fund collaborates with early childhood and after-school educational programs, seeking to increase access to quality, affordable and reliable child care for women and families to sustain employment or continue their education. The Health Care Access Fund collaborates with community health clinics to provide medical homes and much-needed services to low-income and under-resourced women and their families.

Our collaborations and targeted grantmaking through the Strategy Funds are providing women and girls with greater access to child care and health care – two critical life and work supports that are essential to women’s economic security.


Working mothers spend a significant percentage of their income on child care. This issue is the most challenging for women in lower-wage jobs whose economic security is at the greatest risk.

  • The median annual income for Texas women, age 16 and older, working full-time is $37,400, or 79.6 cents on the dollar compared with men.
  • Full-time child care in Texas costs an average of $7,000-$9,000 a year per child or roughly 19 percent to 24 percent of women’s median income.

Access To Affordable Child Care

The Child Care Access Fund provides bridge funding to assist eligible mothers while they are on the waitlist for state child care subsidy. The program covers the cost of child care, allowing women to work or attend school knowing their children are cared for in a safe and enriching child care environment. The Child Care Access Fund also supports Dallas Afterschool, an online search tool powered by Texas Women’s Foundation, to help families identify quality, affordable afterschool and summer programs for their children.

  • Since 2014, the Child Care Access Fund has awarded over $2.5 million to programs and policy advocacy efforts in North Texas.
  • One program of the Fund, The Bridge Program, has helped 529 families with 842 children in North Texas during first three years. And for every $1.00 we have invested in the program, it has produced a benefit of $14.30 to families we have helped.

Your gift to the Child Care Access Fund supports an innovative solution that strengthens women’s economic security by ensuring access to quality child care in low-income neighborhoods across North Texas.

Help us do more — Make a gift today


Access to affordable health care is one of the single most prominent factors threatening the economic security of women and their families. The high cost of care, access to affordable health insurance, and potential income loss or possibility of overwhelming debt due to illness or injury all diminish women’s financial stability.

  • In Texas, 2.2 million women and girls (16 percent) are uninsured, effectively leaving them out of the health care system and putting their family’s economic security at risk.
  • Even with health insurance, 45 percent of all Texas workers lack paid sick days; and working mothers are more likely than working fathers to stay home with a sick child, which can reduce income.

Providing Essential Health Care

The Health Care Access Fund provides essential funding to support community clinics, specialized programs and health services that serve low-income women and girls – protecting families from financial hardship or catastrophe due to medical costs. The Fund makes quality health care available to address the health care needs of women, including everything from annual exams and mammograms, to prenatal care, mental health services and more.

In addition to enhancing community health by making immediate and critical relief available to underserved and uninsured women and their families, these collaborative solutions also relieve or reduce the burden on government and communities to fund these services.

  • To date, the Health Care Access Fund has awarded $255,000 to provide health care serves for women and girls.

Your gift to the Health Care Access Fund is an investment in the health of women, their families and our communities.


Women and girls – across all ages, ethnicities, incomes and geographies – face similar challenges related to:

  • Education, employment and leadership opportunities
  • Health care, including mental health services
  • Child care
  • Housing
  • Personal safety

Targeted, Timely Gender Matters® Research

Texas Women’s Foundation is a transformational catalyst for social and economic change. We produce groundbreaking research on issues that affect women and girls statewide and demonstrate the fundamental benefits of women’s equality and leadership to our economy and future – including our signature series of targeted, timely GENDER MATTERS® Research, produced by Texas Women’s Foundation, to focus on key issues.

Our research explores the gendered reality in our state, and informs our strategic investments in advancing economic security of women and girls and their families, and opportunities for women and girls to lead in every sector.

We have strong statewide relationships with women’s funds and related organizations through co-convenings for presentations of our research. We are valued for providing a credible, objective, collaborative knowledge resource to help donors, grantees, lawmakers and community leaders come together around a common understanding of the issues, and raise our collective voice for women, girls and their families.  Our partners across the state represent many communities and regions, including:

  • Economic Issues for Women in Texas 2014: Amarillo, Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, McAllen, San Antonio, Tyler
  • Economic Issues for Women in Texas 2017: Amarillo, Austin, Dallas, Houston
  • Status of Women in Texas and Status of Women in Collin, Dallas, Denton & Tarrant Counties 2018: Frisco, Dallas, Fort Worth, statewide media webinar
  • Economic Issues for Women in Texas 2020


Real progress for women and girls will come when we create equitable opportunities to strengthen their economic security so they can build stronger families and better communities for all.

The Economic Status of Texas Women, 2018, 2019 are studies produced by Texas Women’s Foundation with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

The studies provide comprehensive insights into trends and the progress of women in employment, earnings, health insurance, education, poverty and leadership opportunity.

Key findings in the 2018 report conclude that despite some positive trends, Texas still needs improvement:

  • Texas women will not achieve equal pay until 2049.
  • Women in Texas ages 16 and older who work full-time have median annual earnings of $37,400, or 79.6 cents on the dollar compared with men.
  • If Texas women were paid the same as men, their average annual earnings would increase by $7,300 and their poverty rate would be reduced by 51 percent.


Strong women help to make a better world. Our research provides corporations, community partners, local officials and non-profit organizations with authoritative information to help solve women’s economic issues in the community and across the state

Economic Issues for Women is a study published every three years by Texas Women’s Foundation with the Center for Public Policy Priorities. It looks at policies and practices and the state level, and identifies areas of opportunity where innovation and investment can help strengthen women and their families.

The report focuses on four key issues that are interwoven in the fabric of economic security for women, girls and their families: child care, education, health insurance and housing.

More Reports Available



When you give to Texas Women’s Foundation, you are directly contributing to the economic stability and future of Texas.