• Impact Austin

Biennial Report for FY20 and FY21: Letter from the President

Dear Impact Austin Members, Community Partners, Nonprofit Colleagues, and Friends:


Impact Austin’s Biennial Report covers two years that challenged all communities and the nonprofit organizations serving them. Amid a global pandemic and national movements for equity and justice, Impact Austin stayed true to our mission, members, and the Central Texas region. At the same time, we considered the broader landscape and how we should respond to the challenges of 2020 and 2021.


A two-year retrospective could take multiple pages. But our website houses numerous resources. Blog and News reflects on member activities, grantmaking, and organizational changes. Past Events links to webinars on philanthropy and membership education, Signature Events, community issues, and more. See Our Impact shares current and past Community Partners and the outcomes of Impact Austin grants totaling $7.64 million as of June 30, 2021.


COMMUNITY, PARTNERS, AND GRANTMAKING

In FY20 and FY21, the female philanthropists of Impact Austin and Girls Giving Grants (g3) awarded $764,100 to 17 Community Partners serving Bastrop, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties. The numbers tell only part of our story.

  • When Christina Gorczynski joined as Impact Austin’s Executive Director in August 2018, she forged relationships that became invaluable in the pandemic’s earliest months. Learn more.

  • In March 2020, Grants leadership quickly modified our practices to maximize support to strained nonprofits. For the first time, all grant finalists were funded; grants were unrestricted and paid in one lump sum; and reapplication was opened immediately. A streamlined process continues.

  • In November 2019, we awarded our first Social Innovation Grant (SIG), the culmination of a two-year Impact Incubator pilot with a mission to support women and girls of color. The 2019 award supported The Innocence Initiative, and the 2020 grant went to Black Mamas ATX. With the success of the SIG, and in alignment with our mission, the Social Innovation Grant became a new grant focus area in Spring 2021. The Equity Grant is now awarded each fall.

  • Girls Giving Grants (g3) is Impact Austin’s youth initiative, engaging girls in grades 8-12 with community needs, grant review, and leadership. Since g3’s founding in 2006, total giving was $98,000 as of June 2021.

  • Impact Austin continues to shine a light on current and past Community Partners in blogs, newsletters, and social media; through our Women Leaders webinars and Signature Events; and in 2020’s Giving Tuesday Now campaign.

  • Together in Service videos in 2020 and 2021 highlight the work of our Community Partners during two challenging years.

PHILANTHROPY EDUCATION

As a learning organization, we are committed to exploring trends in philanthropy, the mechanics of giving generously, Central Texas issues to support, and how to cultivate our members’ philanthropic journeys. The pivot to virtual programming proved a positive, creating free events that we opened to the wider community. Topics included:


OUR COMMITMENT TO DEIB VALUES

Giving circles like Impact Austin grow organically in their earliest years. But our organic growth has shifted to strategic growth so that membership and practices better reflect community diversity. The DEIB commitment that our Board of Directors adopted in 2018 continued to develop in FY20 and FY21, and DEIB values are woven through every part of our Strategic Plan.

  • Our 2020 member survey underscored existing membership composition and opportunities for diversification.

  • We strive to make membership more inclusive and attainable with a rolling membership year, monthly payments, immediate member benefits and voting rights upon first payment, sponsored membership, a Community Partner member category, and more. Additional Membership Task Force recommendations are under evaluation.

  • The new Strategic Advisory Council launched in 2021 with multiple goals, including community feedback on our work processes and guidance for diversifying membership and grantmaking.

  • Conversations on bias, implicit bias, and anti-racism are woven into training for Impact Austin leaders and grant review committees.

  • Webinars, blogs, and Discovery Days sessions explored topics on equity and DEIB education, including but not limited to: race and racism in Central Texas; DEIB within nonprofits; and equity around ableness, generational bias, and LGBTQ+ issues.

  • “We are in this together” declared Impact Austin’s solidarity with the Black community, especially our Community Partners. A statement of support to AAPI members and friends included local resources for further education. The Ripple Reads family book club and event with Austin Child Guidance Clinic addressed conversations about racism with our children.

IMPACT AUSTIN STARTS AND ENDS WITH OUR MEMBERS

Our community impact has been built by 2,747 female philanthropists of all ages. Without our members, Impact Austin would not exist. In the midst of a global pandemic, member recruitment and engagement have presented challenges - but also opportunities.

  • The pivot to virtual meetings and events meant we could engage frequently, albeit electronically. Our Zones team crafted creative Zoom social activities and later added in-person volunteer events with nonprofits. Past Events and blogs share all of these.

  • We took the time to bolster our digital presence with a redesigned website; prolific blog; growing YouTube channel, four other social media channels - Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter; and a new Member Portal.

  • Volunteer and leadership positions were organized and clarified during FY20 and FY21.

  • In May 2021, Impact Austin Founder Rebecca Powers launched her book, Trust Your Cape. Proceeds from its sales will benefit our endowment fund named for Rebecca, who continues to inspire and mentor fledgling giving circles across the country.

At the close of FY21, the Board expanded and welcomed six Directors to launch FY22 with new Board President Katherine Mudge. New opportunities to serve Central Texas await us! Join Impact Austin!


Susan Palombo

President, Board of Directors, FY20 and FY21


 

Read the entire Biennial Report here, and find all Impact Austin reports and publications here.