In September 1996 Family Pathfinders was created by John Sharp, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts in response to welfare reform. The program goal was to enlist community support for welfare reform efforts by partnering with faith and civic groups to form mentoring teams to work with families on their journey to self-sufficiency. Over the years, they have expanded their mentoring program to serve additional low-income clients and the reentry population and broadened their programming to include job readiness and financial literacy.
In October 2014 Family Pathfinders was named a Top-Rated 2014 Nonprofit by GreatNonprofits and awarded a spot on the GreatNonprofits Hall of Fame.
Mentors join hands with an individual or family for one year, helping them make the very difficult transition to financial stability. Each mentor provides a broad range of support including budgeting, job preparation, decision making, emotional support, parenting advice and goal setting. Mentors support a family by helping them set goals and create plans to attain those goals. In addition, mentors provide assistance with problem solving, connection to community resources, decision making, money management, parenting issues, and emotional support. They are closely involved in the lives of their clients.
Financial Literacy: classes help students identify ways to better manage their money, reduce expenses, save for emergencies and improve their self-advocacy skills in a fun and interactive setting. Using the FDIC “Money Smart” curriculum and class role play activities, the students learn basic steps for creating a household budget, choosing and using banking resources, identifying borrowing risks and benefits, improving credit and saving for financial goals. All students receive a “budget box” which is a portable file with tools to help them create a budget and manage their financial records and bills.
Financial Coaching: Pathfinders provides financial coaching to help low and moderate income people attain financial stability. Financial Coaching builds on financial (education/management) skills to address personal needs for improving financial behaviors. Each client-driven session is led by a volunteer Coach with training in budgeting, banking and borrowing, and credit.