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Member Spotlight

Impact Austin Member Spotlight on Carol Lauder and Carolyn Otey

Carol Lauder and her mother, Carolyn Otey, are one of several “mother-daughter” dynamic duos in Impact Austin’s membership and they are both lovely, articulate women who enjoy making a difference through collective giving.

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Carol Lauder and her mother, Carolyn Otey, are one of several “mother-daughter” dynamic duos in Impact Austin’s membership and they are both lovely, articulate women who enjoy making a difference through collective giving.

How did you hear about Impact Austin and why did you decide to join?

CL: “In 2003, my friend Phylis Donelson (one of the kitchen table six) invited me to lunch to share Rebecca Power’s vision for Impact Austin. I’m not sure it even had its name yet. I feel so blessed to have attended the first “coffee” at Nancy Word’s home. I still recall how moved I was by Rebecca and what she wanted to create. I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”

CO:  “My daughter, Carol Lauder, introduced me to Impact Austin. She was so excited about it that I caught the fever even though I live in Sugar Land!”

How have you been involved in Impact Austin?

CL:  “I served on the first Culture Focus Area Committee (FAC). Most recently I served on the first Catalyst Committee. In the early years, I co-hosted four “coffees” in my home with others, including founding members, Donna Eastman, Joan Yaffe, and my mom. I served as the meeting facilitator for Rebecca Powers’ Grant Review committee. I will serve on the membership committee again this year and I will be working with Marisa Bushee to develop an IA Speakers Bureau. 

CO: “As Carol mentioned; I co-hosted a “coffee” with her some years ago. My favorite thing is to attend the annual meeting, although I haven’t been able to do so in some time.”

What is your profession?

CL: “I have a small consulting business that provides professional and personal coaching, interpersonal communications and meeting facilitation. I retired from the Texas Comptroller’s Office after 33 years of public service where I managed an agency wide business process re-engineering program and spent my final 10 years managing a statewide grant program to keep minors away from tobacco products. I received a Lifetime Achievement Award for my work with minors and tobacco prevention.”

CO: “I am retired from a career in sales.”

Do you work with other nonprofits in your area?

CL: “I am very involved with the not-for-profit women’s leadership organization, Executive Women in Texas Government. I have served on the board as MembershipDirector, President Elect and President. I was selected “EWTG Women of the Year” in 2011. It is an honor I will forever cherish. I served as board nominations committee chair in 2015 and I have done personality types presentations to the new board of EWTG at their board retreat for the past two years.”

“I am a member of the Balcones Country Club Women’s Association, which raises funds for scholarships to high school students, and I’ve so enjoyed delivering Meals on Wheels for over 20 years.”

CO: “I support a small church in Sugar Land; Mt. Mariah Baptist Church. I am Catholic but discovered this organization after their roof was destroyed by hurricane Ike. My mother was a Baptist so I enjoy donating to them in her honor. I served as head Eucharistic Minister and head Lector for St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Port Arthur, Texas.”

Tell us a bit about your family!

CL: “I married the love of my life, Bob in 1995. We spend as much time traveling as possible. We spent New Year’s Eve in London this year and New Year’s Day in Paris. We have three cats that are the sweetest and most loving animals I could hope for.”

CO: “I have three daughters. I live with my oldest, Karen. My daughter Jeni lives in Austin with her husband Michael. They live near her daughter Kim, husband Jamie and my five-year-old great-granddaughter, Kendra. Carol Ann lives in Austin with her husband, Bob. I have outlived three husbands. My first gave me my children, my second brought me closer to the Catholic Church and my third was the love of my life.” 

What is the most important thing you have learned by being an Impact Austin member and what is your favorite thing you have done with the organization?

CL: “My philanthropy used to be comprised of giving small donations to many different organizations. I never felt like those funds were having an impact. Impact Austin has shown me the power in collective giving. I know my contribution, when combined with others, is making a difference. I get to see the impact in the local nonprofit community.” 

“My favorite thing has been to serve on the new Catalyst Grant Committee. I am overjoyed that our founder Rebecca Powers began a process, based on the needs of the nonprofit community, to evaluate how we were funding grants. I’m proud to know that as their needs change we are changing with them.”

CO: “Impact Austin membership has given me an awareness of the needs in the nonprofit community. The hardest thing for me is deciding which nonprofits to help 

each year. My daughter reads me the summaries of each organization in order for me to vote, as I am no longer able to read.”

What else should we know about you?

CL: “I was an actor in Austin theatre in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I did a Madonna look-a-like video to her song “True Blue” that aired on MTV numerous times andhad my national TV debut as the Trivia Dancer on the Kelly and Michael Show in NYC last year. It was a hoot!”

“My favorite pastime is traveling the world with Bob.”

CO: “My life has been a great adventure and although I may not be a “spring chicken,” (I will be 90 on February 14th), I have been told and believe that “I am a tough ole bird.” 

Community Partner Spotlight

Community Partner Spotlight on Colorado River Alliance

We recently caught up with our 2013 Environment Grant Winner, The Colorado River Alliance (CRA). Watch this video that shows what Impact Austin funding helped to create, and what it is doing now!

“It’s very high-def; it’s very realistic…we get a lot of oohs and ahhs!” – Carly Surratt, CRA Program Coordinator

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Community Partner Spotlight: Checking in with Colorado River Alliance

We recently caught up with our 2013 Environment Grant Winner, The Colorado River Alliance (CRA).

Watch this video that shows what Impact Austin funding helped to create, and what it is doing now!

“It’s very high-def; it’s very realistic…we get a lot of oohs and ahhs!” 
– Carly Surratt, CRA Program Coordinator

CRA supports natural science education and outdoor recreation programs that encourage the stewardship, awareness, and protection of the Colorado River, particularly to at-risk youth. The foundation also partners with other organizations to organize clean-ups of the lakes that make up the Colorado River.

The CRA is the only non-profit in Texas dedicated solely to the protection and conservation of the Texas Colorado River. As our population increases, and severe drought conditions persist, water conservation is critical to Austin's future. CRA has partnered with the Austin Independent School District, LCRA and Austin Water to create the Texas Colorado River Mobile Learning Experience, an environmental education program focusing on water conservation, which will reach over 5,000 7th grade students annually. The mobile classroom will use interactive exhibits to enhance learning and reinforce the link between personal behavior and the environment.  Since the classroom is mobile, it is also used at community events, bringing the conservation message to the broader Austin community.

For more information visit www.coloradoriver.org 

Visit the See Our Impact page to learn about all the wonderful work our members have supported over the years.