General Social Services

Story telling leads to fundraising success for Interfaith Family Services

Written by Mindia Whittier

Almost 90% of the organization’s graduates maintain employment after one year.

Interfaith Family Services raised more than $294,000 to empower families in crisis to break the cycle of poverty at an event last month.

More than 300 people attended the 7th Annual Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon at Brook Hollow Golf Club. Organizers note that $48,000 of the amount raised was achieved the day-of the event from attendees moved by the powerful stories of the organization’s impact.

NBC 5’s Meredith Land welcomed guests. Reverend Hannah Buchanan with Highland Park United Methodist Church led the invocation.

For 37 years, Interfaith Family Services has empowered families in crisis to break the cycle of poverty. The organization offers solutions to poverty through both residential and non-residential services. Its Family Empowerment Center houses all programming modeled to eliminate the barriers that keep families in crisis from achieving stability.

Services include rent and utility assistance, GED/ESL and vocational training, extended-hours childcare to clients who are currently unemployed, financial coaching to reduce debt and increase savings, and career coaching to develop clients professionally – all at no cost to families. For families that are homeless, Interfaith Family Services owns 23 fully furnished apartments that provide transitional housing for six to nine months.

Co-chairs of the Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon were Elizabeth Shuford Conroy and Lauren Shuford Laughry. Laughry’s mother, Kathi Shuford, and sister, Adriane Shuford Crosland, served as honorary chairs.

“Just over a third of Dallas families are considered ‘asset poor,’ meaning they don’t have savings to help them through a crisis,” said Kimberly Williams, CEO of Interfaith Family Services. “These families are incredibly vulnerable to both poverty and homelessness.”

Interfaith has a formula that works to help families. Nine out of 10 clients exit with permanent housing, and four out of five exit employed with a livable wage are still employed a year later.

“First, we eliminate barriers that cause instability in the first place, with housing or rental assistance,” said Williams. “Next, we equip parents to overcome poverty, with career and financial coaching. Finally, we educate children to help break the cycle of generational poverty.”

During the event, iInterfaith graduate Jessica Bisor shared her personal story of having an autoimmune disease and dealing with a difficult pregnancy that left her unable to work. After a short time with relatives, Bisor looked for other options and found Interfaith.

“I went in [to Interfaith] ashamed of having to start over as a single mom, but the staff’s encouragement was sincere, and I left with a renewed hope of better days ahead,” said Bisor. Since her son was born, Bisor has started her own business as a notary and a loan signing agent.

Event sponsors included:

Hope Sponsor: Sapphire Foundation, Inc. – Adriane and Andy Crosland

Home Sponsors: The Hegi Family; Katy and Kyle Miller

Hand-Up Sponsors: Benchmark Bank; Jill and Grant Henderson; Sapphire Foundation, Inc. – Sandy Crosland and Ali Treaster; Thornton Family Foundation

Help Sponsors: Susie and John Adams; Susan Baldwin; Allie Beth Allman & Associates; Becky Frey Real Estate Group; Capital Title of Texas-Park Cities; Maura Costello; Margaret Hunt; Lauren and Alex Inman; The Miller Family Foundation; Julie Durham Rado; The Rosewood Foundation; Kathi and Scott Shuford; Kathy Little Shuford; The Stanford C. and Mary Clare Finney Foundation

Guests dressed in colorful spring fashions. They were invited to arrive early to enjoy wine and take photos at the step and repeat.

About the author

Mindia Whittier