February 12, 2019 - Member Spotlight, Volunteering
Impact Austin member and State Representative Vikki Goodwin believes we all have an obligation to serve our communities. And serve she does! Besides her involvement with Impact Austin, Vikki’s service now extends to the Texas Capital, where she just began her first term serving her constituents in House District 47. Read on for her inspiring perspective on service.
Why do you choose to serve your community and what are the ways you give back?
The expression, “It takes a village” really resonates with me. My parents brought me up to give back to my community and they set a good example to follow, which is what I do for my children. I have been involved in my kids’ schools as they were growing up, and have also served on a number of Boards and Committees. For example, I served on: the Strategic Plan Task Force for AISD in 2008, the Board of my neighborhood HOA, the South Austin Civic Club board, the Oak Hill Association of Neighborhoods board, and on various committees with the Austin Board of Realtors. As a Realtor, I help people buy homes, and I also serve those who can’t buy homes by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and Foundation Communities. Finally, I’m a member of Impact Austin. I joined Impact Austin because I heard it’s a way to learn more about all the nonprofit organizations that are serving our community. It’s amazing the amount of work that gets done, and this really exemplifies the phrase, “It takes a village.” I love helping others, and learning from others.
Why did you decide to run for state representative and what do you hope to accomplish for the community you represent?
As my kids were growing up, and I was involved in their schools, I continually heard about the difficulty AISD faced with their budget due to the current school finance system. The formulas haven’t been updated in decades, and every year AISD sends over $100 million more to the state than the year before, while enrollment has been declining. That’s an unsustainable model. As more and more school districts become “property wealthy” districts and have to send dollars to the state, more and more districts are seeing how the system is broken. There was an unprecedented cry for fixing the school finance system in this recent election, and now it is the top priority for the Legislature. That’s why I ran, first and foremost. I also felt that my involvement in my community over the last 25 years and my background as a small business owner would make me an ideal representative for this district. As a residential real estate broker, I have shown and sold homes in many neighborhoods in this district, so I know the issues and character of the different neighborhoods. I am a good listener and a good negotiator, so I feel I can accomplish what the residents of this district want. Besides school finance reform, residents want the state to improve transportation, work on water issues so we can better manage future droughts and floods, increase access to and decrease the cost of health care, and generally spend the taxpayers’ dollars wisely. While the overarching issue this session is school finance reform, the overarching issue next session will be redistricting, and many of us ran on the idea of setting up an independent redistricting committee, or at the very least, setting up some guidelines that would put an end to the partisan gerrymandering we have today.
When and why did you first join Impact Austin and in what capacity have you been involved?
I joined Impact Austin in 2016 and was on the Grant Review Committee (GRC) for Health and Wellbeing in 2017. I learned about Impact Austin from Jacqueline Rixen, who I know from the Metropolitan Breakfast Club. She described the organization and invited us to come and learn more, which I did. I really enjoyed being on the GRC, which gave me a deep understanding of how Impact Austin members choose the nonprofit organizations that they support through donations. The process is thorough and allowed me to learn about over 40 different nonprofits here in Central Texas. I have also attended a number of events that Impact Austin has held, and again have learned a great deal about the community I live in.
What has your experience volunteering with Impact Austin been like?
I have really enjoyed being a member of Impact Austin. I’ve met many incredible women by attending meetings and events, and I’ve learned about a wide variety of issues faced by people in Central Texas. I particularly enjoyed the site visit to SAFE, which was the recipient of one of Impact Austin’s grants. I’ve also enjoyed the larger meetings in January and June, the social events, the committee work, and the speaker series. Women who are looking to network and socialize with other creative, innovative and smart women should come to an event and join Impact Austin. We are stronger together, and it takes a village!