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.

We established our first Strategy Fund, Child Care Access Fund, 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.  This was followed in 2017 with our Health Care Access Fund and, in 2020, the Housing Stability Fund. These are successful examples of how our intentional investments in cost-effective, efficient programs produce meaningful change for low and moderate-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. And now, Housing Stability is addressing eviction prevention and housing choice to promote stability for families that sets the stage of intergenerational economic security.

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


Working mothers make up 20% of the Texas workforce and they 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. Since 2014, the Child Care Access Fund has awarded over $4.8 million to programs and policy advocacy efforts in Texas.

  • The median weekly income for Texas women, age 16 and older, working full-time is $772 compared to $954 for men.
  • A week of child care costs an average of $125 to $145 or roughly 16 percent to 19 percent of women’s median income.

Access To Affordable Child Care

The Child Care Access Fund works with systems focus on ways that child care impacts the economic security of both working and student mothers with infants and toddlers as well as the needs of working and student mothers with school-aged children. This includes child care, family child care homes, afterschool programming and policy advocacy. In addition to supporting high-quality, affordable care, the Fund includes support for women-owned small businesses and women who work in the child care arena.

  • One program of the Fund, The Bridge Program, helped XX  families with children in North Texas over six years. And for every $1.00 we invested in the program, it produced a benefit of $14.30 to families and the community.
  • Afterschool projects include support for staffing services that provide living wages and benefits for women in the field along with opportunities for career ladders as they advance their education.
  • New projects are responding to impacts of COVID by focusing on increasing quality at family child care homes and providing virtual education materials.

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

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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.

  • Texas ranks 50th in the United States for health insurance coverage with, 23 percent of women 19 to 64 years old who are uninsured, effectively leaving them out of the health care system and putting their family’s economic security at risk.
  • Even with health insurance, 38 percent of Texas women lack paid sick days; and working mothers are more likely than working fathers to stay home with a sick child, which can reduce income.

Texas women must have the freedom and means to access screenings, contraception, preventive well woman care, and prenatal care — when that access is impaired, their physical and mental health becomes at risk for decline, as does their economic security. That’s why reproductive health is part of our overall
health care funding initiatives; it’s also taken into consideration in our broader focus on economic security, along with the equally important focus areas of housing, education and child care.
Your gift to the Health Care Access Fund supports Texan women having the freedom and access to reproductive health care options.

Learn More Here

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.

  • Since its start in 2017, Texas Women’s Foundation has disbursed more than $1 million in funds 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.


TXWF’s Economic Issues for Women in Texas 2020 research report underscores the continuing and growing needs in child care, education and health care, as well as emerging opportunities for greater intervention and investment in affordable, safe housing and housing stability. One especially acute issue in housing is the high rate of evictions of women with children and inequitable access to housing in high opportunity communities, which disproportionately impacts women of color with children.

National and local eviction moratoriums have protected families, but that protection went away March 30, 2021. The impact was immediate. Dallas County saw 44 evictions filed in April 2020, but 855 were filed in the first half of April 2021. Since March, evictions continue to skyrocket; more than 43,216 evictions were filed between Dallas and Fort Worth.  The Foundation has assembled its first cohort of key community stakeholders in a learning community to address complex issues like housing instability. The nonprofits selected by TXWF make up a diverse, capable cohort of leaders in the housing stability sector.

Providing Affordable Housing

Texas Women’s Foundation addresses the various components that make up this issue through:

  • Direct programming grants: Diversion and preventative eviction programs, landlord mediation and legal support, transitional housing and direct payments to families have been proven to be highly effective ways to prevent the cycle of homelessness.
  • Policy advocacy: Advocating for domestic violence shelters to receive state funding; for the passing of a Tenant Bill of Rights, to allow local communities to prohibit landlords from discriminating against families using Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs); and for other issues that positively impact women and families are our priorities.
  • Education: Women with children, especially women of color, are the most likely demographic to get evicted and the most likely to receive Housing Choice Vouchers. Because landlords and tenants often do not understand the laws surrounding HCVs, there is a huge gap in utilization of this service. By educating both parties, landlords will see a higher level of occupancy and voucher users will be able to move more freely.

The Housing Stability Fund began in fall 2019, with a series of conversations with housing-focused community agencies, legal aid programs, city and HUD contacts, and policy advocates. The first grant was awarded in June 2020 to an agency that was already implementing smart housing stability responses to the COVID-19 situation.  The Foundation has disbursed more than $500,000 to combat the emerging eviction crisis and to support sustainable solutions for housing stability. Over four years, the Housing Stability Fund will invest more than $3.5 million into stable housing for women and families through multi-year grants, policy initiatives and direct investments.  In fiscal year 2022, the Foundation will disburse nearly $1.3 million through the Housing Stability Fund.


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.