ronna huckaby

Democratizing and Scaling the PADUA Program in Tarrant County

Ronna Huckaby, Chief Service Officer, Catholic Charities Fort Worth
Ronna Huckaby is a licensed professional counselor and an executive coach. She received her M.Ed. from The University of North Texas She has spent her career working in the fields of domestic violence, families in poverty, and people suffering from substance abuse addiction. She is a published author on her experience of adoption. She is a dynamic leader and speaker.

Project Description:

We design programs to effectively help families move themselves beyond poverty. Since 2016, Catholic Charities Fort Worth has partnered with the University of Notre Dame Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities to explore, identify, and evaluate how to truly end poverty as we know it. With more than 700 families enrolled in our randomized control trial, we have learned a lot about what does and does not work when trying to move the needle on poverty. Padua is designed as an individualized, holistic, long- term approach. Padua is a financial coaching model that develops clients’ ability to cope and to plan. All components of Padua, from how we coach & train our staff to how we use financial assistance with our clients, are designed to help clients’ continued development of this emotional resiliency.

We are ready to bring together decision makers from our community to explore what we call a shared philosophy behind the best practices of client services. To this end, we have introduced our first Local Learning Community in Tarrant County in 2022. And in 2023, we will conduct a cross agency training for members’ frontline staff. We have also developed a curriculum for agency partners interested in replicating Padua in its entirety. Our hope is to open a second LLC focused on replication in 2023/24.

Who is involved?

• Community Enrichment center
• Live in my Shoes
• Mission Central
• 6 Stones
• CAP – Cornerstone Assistance Network.

Project Goals:

The goal of this project is to scale Padua across the metroplex and to share our learnings to advocate for the most effective methods in helping families move beyond poverty.
1) Finalize the Padua Replication Curriculum and all tools needed to market to other agencies
2) Identify local providers that could replicate Padua
3) Secure funding to provide coaching to front line staff at 3 agencies working with clients in poverty
4) Develop and implement a Local Learning Community for those agencies interested in replicating Padua in its entirety
5) Continue the Shared Philosophy Mindset trainings currently developed for the existing Local Learning Community and open a second LLC to share the Mindset trainings by year end
6) Develop research and evaluation for agencies to show clients’ progress with the Padua approach

Project metrics:

1) Train 3-5 agencies on the Shared Philosophy/Mindset (scarcity mindset approach) to case management
2) 100 new clients enrolled in replicated Padua program(s)
3) Participants in the program successfully promoted self-sufficiency 24 months after entering the program.
4) Agencies agreeing to replicate Padua and families/individuals served in these programs
5) Agencies involved in and supporting the Replication Local Learning Community in DFW

If you want more information or would like to volunteer, please contact our volunteer team lead, Ronna Huckaby at