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  • Impact Austin

Celebrating Moms and Daughters Making an Impact Together

Many mothers and daughters share a special bond and often do things together. But these three mom and daughter duos also share something really important in common. They all give back to their community through Impact Austin! In celebration of Mother's Day and Impact Austin, here are the inspiring stories of these mother/daughter members:

Carol Dochen (Mom) and Katie Dochen (Daughter)

Why and how did you get involved in Impact Austin and why do you feel it’s an important part of giving back?

Carol: I believed in the goals of Impact Austin and joined during the organization’s early years. Dochen Realtors was founded on the principles of service to our clients and giving back to our community, and our business has donated a portion of every transaction to local nonprofits since we started selling homes in Austin in 1981. Supporting Impact Austin is an extension of our values, and when Katie recently joined the company, she encouraged us to deepen our involvement by joining as a corporate sponsor.  

Katie: I just joined Impact Austin in 2019 and jumped right in, volunteering to plan the check presentation ceremony at City Hall in June. Prior to joining the family real estate business, I worked in corporate social responsibility for a large consulting firm, where I managed programs and partnerships that aimed to engage millennial employees in philanthropy and volunteerism. The word 'philanthropist' can seem like a stuffy term to people my age—especially young women—and it can feel inaccessible when folks don't think their donation will go very far. I was pleased to learn about Impact Austin's new strategic plan and diversity initiatives, and I'm excited to help promote the concept of a giving circle, so potential donors can understand that they don't need to be rich to be a philanthropist or to make a meaningful impact.

What has been the most meaningful (or surprising) part of your involvement with Impact Austin?

Carol: I have served on the selection committee in past years, interviewing non-profits vying for an Impact Austin grant, through which I have learned so much about the wonderful work happening in our city. 

Katie: At every Impact Austin event I've attended so far, I've been pleasantly surprised at how non-pretentious, open, and welcoming the group is, and I'm looking forward to getting more involved with this dynamic and growing collective of open-minded and committed women. 

What is it like to share the same philanthropic endeavor at Impact Austin with your mom/daughter?

Carol: I feel proud to know that my daughter feels the same way about Impact Austin's mission as I do. I know that the desire to give back comes from within and that encouraging it in others can sometimes be difficult. Katie has always demonstrated a passion for community engagement and philanthropy, and her commitment to looking outside herself and serving others makes me feel like I raised her right. 

Katie: Since moving back to Austin in 1981, my mother has built a reputation as a successful entrepreneur and a committed community donor and volunteer. I am incredibly proud to be following in her footsteps. I think she is a little surprised when I say that she inspires me, but it's true! Thanks, Mom, for leading by example and for always going above and beyond for the causes and charities you're involved with.


Julie Fritz (Mom) and Heather McElhany (Daughter)

Why and how did you get involved in Impact Austin and why do you feel it’s an important part of giving back?

Julie: I had been involved in a collective giving group before, so when I followed Heather and her family to Austin six years ago, I knew that was the quickest way to learn the about community and meet like-minded women? I had already heard of Rebecca Powers (she is a rock star in collective giving circles) so I invited her to have coffee and asked her if I could join! There are many ways to give back to the community, but I have not seen one as efficient and effective as Impact Austin.

Heather: My mom recruited me to join!  Being new to Austin, I did not know the nonprofit landscape, and Impact Austin was a great way to be introduced to all of the amazing work that nonprofits are doing in Austin.  There are several great organizations I never would have known about if not for Impact Austin.

What has been the most meaningful (or surprising) part of your involvement with Impact Austin?

Julie: I have been surprised how, in just the short time I have been part of Impact Austin, the member profile has changed. When I went to my first Annual Meeting, most attendees looked a lot like me. Now we have members of different ages bringing varied life-experiences. I am learning so much from them, and hopefully, they are learning a bit from me!

Heather: The most meaningful part of Impact Austin has been witnessing the power of women coming together for a common cause.  The members of Impact Austin are smart, capable and caring women.  They are passionate about giving back to their community.  Who doesn’t want to surround themselves with people like that?!

What is it like to share the same philanthropic endeavor at Impact Austin with your mom/daughter?

Julie: Any experience you share with a daughter always has a special significance, but participating together in Impact Austin has been fun and fulfilling. Heather chaired the Town Hall meeting last fall, so I got to help her with that. We have teamed up to give coffees. And anytime I have an Impact Austin project and need marketing advice, or IT advice, or what-to-wear advice, she is right there! It is a great opportunity for mothers and daughters to contribute - together!

Heather: As the mother and grandmother of school-age children, I feel like we are always seeing each other in passing as we hand off kids and drive carpools, so it has been a blessing to be able to collaborate on fulfilling work through Impact Austin.  We both have a passion for philanthropy and empowering women, so Impact Austin is the perfect place to focus our energies. 


Mary Koffend (Mom) and Heather Thacker (Daughter)

Why and how did you get involved in Impact Austin and why do you think it is an important part of giving back?

Mary: I knew Rebecca at the time of the founding of Impact Austin and loved the philosophy. I did not join until this year as my husband and I had started an entrepreneurial adventure and then when I had more time I was on the board of AGE who applied for Impact grants and there was no time or conflicts. I recently retired and this was the moment and I could participate with my precious daughter.

Heather: I friend of mine was planning to join and told me about it.  I immediately knew I wanted to be a part of it.  I knew this organization would be right up my mom’s alley, too.  To my surprise when I reached out to tell her,  I discovered she already knew about it and was thinking about getting involved so the timing was perfect. My oldest son and I belong to a service organization and have loved learning about and serving so many of the wonderful philanthropies in Austin.  Impact Austin gives me another avenue to give back to these organizations, as well as, the chance to see the other side of the process. 

What has been the most meaningful part of your involvement in Impact Austin?

Mary: It has been exciting to see the commitment of the leadership of our grant review committee and the other committee members. It is also exciting to see the numbers of organizations that are applying for the grants and the great ideas they have for solving issues in our communities.

Heather:  I love the collective capital this group has, both financially and in experience. The diverse ages, backgrounds, and expertise of the women allow for varied perspectives, ideas, and input.  

What is it like to share the philanthropic endeavor at Impact Austin with your mom/daughter?

Mary: My parents were my role model about making a difference in the world. My religious beliefs encourage this also. It is such a privilege to continue this with my daughter.

Heather:  I love getting to do this with my mom.  While we live in the same city, we don’t see each other as often as you’d think. Giving back was something that was modeled and encouraged growing up and I hope to pass that on to my daughter next year through Girls Giving Grants. It’s a great opportunity to be together and contribute to making our community better. 


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