Catholic Charities: a work in progress

North Texas Catholic
(Dec 19, 2019) Local

Author Oren Cass praised Catholic Charities Fort Worth for assisting clients obtain meaningful work, thus releasing them from dependence on public assistance. (CCFW courtesy photo/Kumiko Murakami Campos/

FORT WORTH — Renowned author and researcher Oren Cass surveyed a room filled with enthusiastic Catholic Charities Fort Worth staff members and supporters and marveled aloud, “What an impressive group we have here, all of you determined to do the hard work of ending poverty.”

“It’s such an honor to meet all of you in person, having written about you in my book,” Cass told those gathered on the evening of Oct. 22 at the Mopac Event Center in Fort Worth.

Cass, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a former domestic policy director for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, and author of the recently published book The Once and Future Worker, was invited to travel to Fort Worth to lead one of CCFW’s regular Thought Leader events. Cass highlighted the work of CCFW in his book, praising the agency for strategically assisting clients to obtain meaningful work, thus releasing themselves from dependence upon public assistance.

During his presentation, Cass outlined his “Working Hypothesis,” a belief that public policy efforts should focus upon supporting a thriving labor market.

“Without work, self-esteem declines and a sense of helplessness increases,” said Cass. “I’m so impressed with what Catholic Charities Fort Worth is doing to help people to become self-sufficient. We need to have a lot more agencies just like it in this country, if we truly want to connect individuals to economic opportunities and to help them to achieve life satisfaction and happiness.”

Cass mentioned an example from his book, in which CCFW temporarily helped a client to pay for childcare so that the mother of a young family could enter the workforce. “More than a year later, she remained steadily employed and her family had achieved self-sufficiency and its three-months-of-savings goal,” wrote Cass.

Michael Grace, CCFW president and CEO, agreed with Cass’s hypothesis that public policy should shift the safety net to help individuals obtain and keep good jobs.

“People who have pride in their work are better parents, spouses, and healthy members of our communities,” said Grace. “Our work here at CCFW incentivizes this reach for our clients. It is also a great pat on our back to remember that Oren wrote about us as an effective agent of change in his book, and we hope to keep inspiring others to see the benefits of our case management model.”

The Stand Together Foundation has named CCFW a Catalyst Partner in their national efforts to fight poverty. The foundation will match donations up to $1,000 to CCFW through the end of 2019. To learn more or to donate, call  817-534-0814 or visit

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