Our History

The seed for our women’s philanthropy group was planted on January 21, 2003, when Rebecca Powers read an article in PEOPLE Magazine about a group of women in Cincinnati, Ohio, who pooled their individual $1000 donations and gave $123,000 to a dental clinic for the homeless. That article sparked the idea that developed into a successful movement we later named Impact Austin.

We cultivate the collective wisdom and strength of women to transform ourselves and our communities through philanthropy. -Our Mission

The founding board, lovingly referred to as the ‘Kitchen Table Six’, had the perfect mix of women with the necessary business acumen to launch a start-up…albeit a nonprofit. Founder Rebecca Powers explains, “We exploited our talents, and what we didn’t know, we researched. We asked experts in the community and got really sound advice. We held a profound belief that ‘ordinary women’ can make an ‘extraordinary impact’ by pooling their financial resources.” The board built the Impact Austin model by incorporating the ‘six C’s’ of women’s giving, common to other philanthropy groups. Create. Change. Connect. Commit. Collaborate. Celebrate. Rebecca describes our organization’s first five years as “focused on explosive growth in membership, coupled with structured grant application and review processes that garnered the respect of funders and non-profits alike. By encouraging our members to participate on committees to review grant applications, and thereby learn more about needs in the community, we developed a reputation for being an ‘army of informed philanthropists’ who had changed the face of giving in Austin.”

Rebecca’s daughter Claire Powers helped launch our youth initiative Girls Giving Grants (g3) in 2006. The g3 girls built the organization themselves, from naming and branding to creating their web pages and learning about the grantwriting process. The slogan for Girls Giving Grants is "Changing the Face of Giving." (READ MORE)

In 2008, Impact Austin received the Outstanding Philanthropic Organization award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). Later that same year, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce honored us with its Community Advocate Award in the Nonprofit Category. In 2013, Impact Austin received the Ethics in Business Award in the Nonprofit Category from RecognizeGood. We were named Outstanding Philanthropic Organization again in 2016, thanks to the Austin Chapter of the AFP. These honors are important indications of our contribution to the community, and it is our members who deserve the credit. As a volunteer-powered organization, we rely on their collective talents to carry out our mission.

In 2011, Rebecca Powers stepped away from day-to-day leadership of Impact Austin and passed the torch to the first paid executive director. In 2018, Impact Austin hired Christina Gorczynski as Impact Austin’s newest leader. (READ MORE)

Our organization continues to evolve both responsively and proactively - to community needs, organizational growth, and members’ aspirations. In 2018, a new Mission, Vision and Strategic Plan announced a bold future for Impact Austin.

We hope you’ll be inspired to join Impact Austin. As philanthropists, we’re stronger together!