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Newsworthy

Impact Austin Grants Empower Area Nonprofits

Watch the Time Warner Cable News spot with Heather Bellino from Texas Advocacy Project!

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AUSTIN -- Impact Austin is one of the largest women’s philanthropy organizations in the United States. 

This month, the group announced the recipients of its $50,000 Catalyst Grant and four $94,000 high-impact program grants. The funds went to LifeWorks, Capital IDEA, Partnerships for Children, The Arc and TreeFolks.

Texas Advocacy Project was Impact Austin’s first Catalyst Grant recipient in 2015. The nonprofit provides free legal services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. 

One year later, Texas Advocacy Project’s executive director tells us how the $50,000 grant helped meet the critical needs of their clients.

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Member Spotlight

Impact Austin Member Spotlight on Dubravka Romano

Dubravka Romano is a woman with an exotic name, an amazing life story, and a down-to-earth attitude that fits right in with the members of Impact Austin!

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Dubravka Romano is a woman with an exotic name, an amazing life story, and a down-to-earth attitude that fits right in with the members of Impact Austin!

Dubravka, how did you hear about Impact Austin and why did you decide to join?
My friend and work colleague Krista Fergason told me about Impact Austin about 7 or 8 years ago, and invited me to attend an Impact Austin coffee. I met and heard Rebecca Powers there and I was hooked. Who can say no to Rebecca?

How have you supported Impact Austin?
One of the things I love about Impact Austin is that it has allowed me to be a member and contribute to the organization’s mission by simply writing a check and recognizing that for some members, that is all they can do. As my other obligations are ending, I look forward to becoming more active.

What do you do professionally?
I am the Associate Executive Director for Risk Management Services for the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). TASB is the association of all the public school districts in Texas. My job is to run a not-for-profit insurance program for Texas school districts. It’s a wonderful opportunity to blend my desire to do something for the greater good and still have a financially rewarding career.

Do you work with other nonprofits in the area?
I have been involved with the Texas Book Festival, People’s Community Clinic, Partners in Education, and what feels like every volunteer gig possible while my son was going through Bryker Woods Elementary, O. Henry Middle School and Austin High School. I also serve as president of the Alpha Chi Omega alumna group in Austin and through that group we volunteer with, and support SafePlace.

Tell us about your family!
I have been married to my wonderful husband Terry Frakes for 14 years. (We dated for NINE years before taking the plunge!) I have a 28-year-old son who blessed me last July with a wonderful daughter-in-law, Lauren. And there is of course my four-legged child--our 8-year-old, yellow lab Mira!

What is the most important knowledge you have gained by being an Impact Austin member?
I recently heard a quote that, “Compounded interest is the most powerful force in the world.” To me, that sums up Impact Austin perfectly! A donation of $1,250 probably can’t make a huge impact for any organization. But 500 and more women each donating $1,250 makes a HUGE impact! The power of compounded interest! And my favorite thing is to watch the grant finalists make their pitches. The passion these individuals have for their causes never fails to inspire me!

What would people find surprising to learn about you?
First - I was born and raised in Croatia (then the former Yugoslavia) and moved with my family to Houston when I was in sixth grade. My father was an oncologist in Croatia and received a grant to continue his research on Hodgkin’s disease from M.D. Anderson, so we all packed up and moved to Houston. Can you spell culture shock?

Second - I am a total city girl turned weekend Longhorn rancher! When I met my husband it turned out to be a case of “love me, love my ranch.” We own a small ranch in Goldthwaite, located about 100 miles Northwest of Austin where we raise a small herd of registered Longhorn cattle. People who knew me when, can’t quite believe the woman who loved her manicures, massages and lattes now spends her weekends ranching and shoveling cow poop!