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  • Impact Austin

Discovery Days 2021: Discovering Central Texas Issues

Our new format and engaging sessions are receiving rave reviews!

If you missed the first few Discovery Days events, you’re in luck. Each one is recorded and available to watch on the Discovery Days page . With so much great educational content shared in each track, you’ll want to be sure to go back and watch any sessions you miss.

Here’s what you have to look forward to next!


Impact Austin 101 | TUE, JAN 19 | 7:00 - 8:00 PM [Watch Now]

New and returning members will learn about how to become active within Impact Austin, including opportunities for social engagement, networking, and service on committees. Grant Review Committees (GRCs) will be discussed in detail, specifically the trust-based practices adopted for 2021. We'll also learn more about our re-designed website and how to follow our social media platforms.


Moderator: Lorene Phillips - Strategic Advisory Council Committee Co-Chair, Class of 2010, Past IA Board President; Becky Austen - Chair of Grants and Strategic Partnerships, Strategic Advisory Council Committee Co-Chair, Class of 2010; Robin Krumme - New Member Engagement Chair, Class of 2017; Nicole Genovese - Impact Austin Office Manager



Issues Facing Central Texas Women | FRI, JAN 22 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM [Watch Now]

Hear Texas Women’s Foundation’s research on economic issues facing Texas women of all ages, ethnicities, incomes and geographies in a moderated session with Q&A.

Texas Women’s Foundation publishes a research study every three years titled, "Economic Issues for Women in Texas.” This study takes a comprehensive look at the four building blocks fundamental to the financial security of a woman and her family: child care, housing, education, and health care. Using a lens that includes the intersection of gender and race, the study reveals how dramatic changes in our state’s demographics create challenges and opportunities to create a more equitable society.

In this session we will dive into those four key building blocks essential for the financial security of women in Texas. We'll hear how gender and race create unique challenges and opportunities for women in Central Texas.


Dena L. Jackson, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer,

Texas Women’s Foundation

In her role as COO at the Texas Women’s Foundation, Dr. Jackson oversees the effective business operations, ensuring a strong and capable team is in place to transform the lives of women, girls, and their families across Texas while also driving the Foundation’s research initiatives. She has worked in the nonprofit arena since 2001, starting with the Susan G. Komen Foundation, training staff and volunteers around the U.S. to develop, manage, and evaluate local breast cancer programs. Later, Dr. Jackson opened both the Foundation Relations and Research Development offices at the University of Texas at Dallas during five years as Assistant VP of Research Development. A native Texan, Dr. Jackson earned her doctoral degree in Health Studies at Texas Women’s University.

Moderator: Kaisha Morton, User Experience Design Recruiter, Google

Kaisha has a passion for advocating for equity. She's worked in talent acquisition for six years. Prior to joining Google, she taught 6th grade reading in Houston as a Teach For America Corps member, fought to end the school-to-prison pipeline in D.C. as a community organizer, and developed an inclusive hiring process for five charter schools in D.C. as an early childhood recruiter. For Kaisha, giving back to her community is extremely important. She serves as a Social Impact Co-Lead for Google’s Employee Resource Group called Women@Google and as the co-chair of the United Way For Greater Austin's Emerging Leaders Board.


Building a Resilient Austin | FRI, JAN 29 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM [Watch Now]

In the midst of the pandemic - and going forward - how can we support boots-on-the-ground nonprofit partners to build long-term health, economic wellness, and resilience for the most vulnerable in our community? What help is needed - from funders like Impact Austin, from corporations, and from individual volunteers and philanthropists? In this session we'll hear unique perspectives from nonprofit leaders: what they have seen, what their clients have experienced, and how pandemic and socio-economic forces have magnified issues and challenged their resilience.


Moderator: Estevan Delgado, Program Manager,

Hispanic Impact Fund, Austin Community Foundation

Estevan is a social justice advocate and policy professional dedicated to securing racial equity for our Latinx communities. He oversees operations of the Hispanic Impact Fund, which supports the economic security and advancement of Hispanic Central Texans through building race-forward community partnerships and collective impact investing. The son of autoworkers, Estevan grew up in Middle Tennessee and is a first-generation college graduate from Rice University. Eager to explore a career in healthcare out of college, He spent his time before graduate school working in quality & process improvement for community health clinics and non-profit hospitals. After becoming increasingly aware that only so much can be done for Black and brown families when we focus on people’s immediate health needs, and not the conditions that cause them, Estevan personally saw a need to pivot to a career in public policy and dreamed of pursuing a career in DC. However, Estevan’s time at the LBJ School of Public Affairs culminated with the 2016 election, which resulted in increased open hostility towards immigrant families and people of color in the South, bringing the fight back home for Estevan.

Raul Alvarez, Executive Director,

Community Advancement Network (CAN)

CAN’s Executive Director since 2015, Raul was an Austin City Council member from 2000-2006. He was the City Council representative on CAN’s board during that time, becoming chair in 2004. After serving on the City Council, Raul was elected to the ACC Board of Trustees. He also has served on the Capital Metro Board, the Electric Utility Commission, as Chair of the Early Childhood Council, as Co-Chair of the Anti-Displacement Task Force, and as Co-Chair of the MBK Scholars Program. He is the board president of the East Austin Conservancy, an organization working to address displacement of residents in Central East Austin. Prior to CAN, Raul worked for AISD as an administrative supervisor in the Office of Teaching and Learning. Raul holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and a M.S. in Community/Regional Planning from the University of Texas.

Dan Leal, Executive Director, Seedling;

Chair, One Voice/Central Texas

With over 20 years of nonprofit management experience, Dan became Seedling’s Executive Director in August 2017. He helped the board of directors develop a strategic plan that will continue to grow the number of mentored children impacted by parental incarceration and increase the depth of services and resources for children of incarcerated parents. Dan also currently serves as Chair of One Voice Central Texas, a membership organization of over 120 nonprofit executives and organizations that seeks to support executive directors and increase local resources for health and human services nonprofits. Dan served as the Executive Director of the Children’s Advocacy Center in Denton County for 15 years, leading an organization of 29 staff members and 37 partner agencies to provide justice, safety, and healing for abused children. He collaborated with Jenna Quinn and State Rep. Tan Parker on the passing of Jenna’s Law, which served as the catalyst for Children’s Advocacy Centers in Texas to add education to their service delivery and became a federal law in 2020. Prior to joining the Advocacy Center, Dan served as the Human Services Coordinator for the City of Denton and was named Public Health Advocate of the Year by the Denton County Health Department. He has also been honored by the Denton County Alliance for the mentally ill and been a recipient of the David Fitch Humanitarian Award from the University of North Texas.

Carmen Llanes Pulido, Executive Director,

Go Austin / Vamos Austin

A native of Austin and second-generation community organizer, Carmen is the founding Executive Director of Go Austin/Vamos Austin (GAVA), and has worked with neighborhoods and organizations in Austin’s Eastern Crescent for the last 15 years. After receiving an interdisciplinary B.A. at the University of Chicago in Environmental Studies with a focus on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its impact on Mexican communities and international food systems, she returned to Austin to work as an environmental justice researcher and organizer for People Organized in Defense of Earth and her Resources (PODER) in East Austin. She later ran the Wellness Team Initiative at Marathon Kids, which engaged parents and teachers at 18 elementary schools in Austin’s Eastern Crescent to increase fitness and nutrition opportunities in their communities. This program was the catalyst for GAVA's early start in these communities. Carmen cares deeply about community relationships and intergenerational organizing, and participates in public health, anti-racist, and anti-displacement networks in Central Texas and across the country. She chaired the City of Austin’s Hispanic/Latino Quality of Life Commission until July 2019 when she joined the city’s Planning Commission during a once-in-a-generation Land Development Code rewrite, and is an inaugural member of Austin’s first Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, which created single-member city council districts in 2014. Carmen was also part of the inaugural Community Strategy Team at the Department of Population Health at the University of Texas-Dell Medical School, and is a 2019-20 Fulcrum Fellow with the Center for Community Investment at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Nakeenya Wilson, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Huston-Tillotson University

A native of Fort Worth, Nakeenya has lived in the Austin area for over 20 years. Currently, she serves as the Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Huston-Tillotson University, Austin’s oldest institution of higher education and only historically Black university. Prior to her leadership role at Huston Tillotson, she served as the first full-time director of Black Mamas ATX, a local nonprofit working to ensure that Black women survive and thrive before, during, and after childbirth. Black Mamas ATX is the recipient of Impact Austin's 2020 Social Innovation Grant. Nakeenya received her B.S. in Communication Studies from The University of Texas and her M.A. in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation from Abilene Christian University. She is a 2015 Leadership Austin Emerge graduate. Nakeenya is fiercely dedicated to equity and social justice and was recently recognized by the Target Storytellers promotion in partnership with The Texas Conference for Women for her contributions to the community.


What's Coming Next?


Increase Your Impact | TUE, FEB 2 | 7:00 - 8:00 PM

Learn more about volunteering, grant review, leadership development, and board service. How can these roles increase YOUR impact?


Corporate Social Responsibility Panel | FRI, FEB 5 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM

Local corporate leaders share their CSR expertise, outlining their best strategies to create impactful programs. They will also share their learnings from 2020 and how these will reshape plans moving forward.

Strengths-Based Investments in Low Income Communities | FRI, FEB 12 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM

Local nonprofit leaders discuss a strength-based approach to empower our neighbors through economic hardship and life challenges.


Register now for Discovery Days,

our signature event reimagined in 2021 for even greater impact!


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