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  • Impact Austin

Discovery Days 2021: Philanthropy Education

We’re thrilled by the audience engagement with our virtual Discovery Days sessions. Participants have submitted thoughtful questions and comments, bolstering the content that benefits all of us.

If you missed any sessions, find video recordings on our Discovery Days webpage. With so much great educational content shared in each track, you’ll want to hear it all.

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


Increasing Your Impact | TUE, FEB 2 | 7:00 - 8:00 PM [Watch Now]

Geared toward members but open to all, this session will inspire engagement with some of Impact Austin’s most meaningful work. Learn how to join the Board of Directors, including highlights and expectations around service. Various aspects of Advancement will be described: community engagement; sponsorships; annual fund and endowment; grants; and philanthropy education. Finally, the Grant Review process is analyzed, detailing how volunteers manage the work from start to finish.


Moderator: Lorene Phillips - Strategic Advisory Council Committee Co-Chair, Class of 2010, Past IA Board President; Jenny Cotner - Board of Directors Governance Committee, Class of 2018; Lauren Lewis - Advancement Committee, Philanthropy Education Chair, Class of 2020; Connee Sullivan - Co-Grant Review Coordinator, Class of 2017



Corporate Social Responsibility | FRI, FEB 5 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM [Watch Now]

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is defined as the way in which companies manage their relations in society (Jeremy Moon, Oxford Press, 2014). More and more companies are strategically developing programs to maximize impact, whether through sustainability practices, skill-based volunteerism, product expertise, grants, employee donations, or matching gift programs. We will learn from a team of passionate CSR leaders sharing their strategies and commitment to doing the most good - from engaging employees (many now working from home), to identifying the greatest current needs and priorities.


Moderator: Ashley Olinghouse, Corporate Social Responsibility, Software Sales, Business Development, Blackbaud

Ashley is passionate about philanthropy, sustainability, and technology. A few years ago she joined YourCause, a Blackbaud company, affording her the opportunity to combine her experience in each area into her dream career. Ashley partners with companies to connect their employees to the causes they care about through employee giving, volunteering, and corporate philanthropic technology. Ashley’s favorite causes focus on poverty, food insecurity, the environment, and children.

Erika Chan, Director, Corporate Sustainability, Dell

Erika is responsible for the CSR strategy of the Dell Technologies Services organization. This includes identifying opportunities to integrate sustainability practices into business units, mitigating risks, and measuring the positive impacts of sustainability initiatives. She also is involved with advancing Dell’s 2030 sustainability goals. Prior to this role, Erika was in an e-commerce position at Dell, led a regional marketing team at The Nature Conservancy, and practiced international development consulting at Deloitte Emerging Markets Group. She is an alumnus of The University of Texas and resides in Austin.

Julie Fisher, Senior Manager, Global Community Impact, National Instruments

Julie leads the corporate philanthropic strategy for National Instruments (NI). Prior to joining NI, she managed Samsung’s community affairs team for seven and a half years. Through her leadership, Samsung was recognized as an “Outstanding Large Philanthropic Corporation” by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. As an Austin native, she’s passionate about the community that raised her and champions causes including civic engagement, environmental initiatives, and education. Julie is proud to serve on the board of Leadership Austin, Keep Austin Beautiful and Breakthrough Central Texas. She enjoys convening groups of people to give back.

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.

Heather Venard, Communications and

Community Relations Manager, Silicon Labs

Heather leads global philanthropy and internal communications for Silicon Labs. Previously, Heather was the Senior Community Affairs Representative at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), focusing on Austin-area philanthropy initiatives. In addition to her current role as Immediate Past Chair of the Creative Action board, Heather has served on the Clarksville Community Development Corporation and the Austin Celtic Association nonprofit boards. Heather is a proud graduate of the Leadership Austin Emerge Class of 2016. She is also a member of the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce ERG Roundtable.


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

Two Impact Austin Community Partners – Family Independence Initiative and Jeremiah Program – will define how a strengths-based approach works as a method of community investment. They, along with Glimmer Austin and St. David’s Foundation, will share the work each is doing in this space. Topics will include: investment in families, and mothers in particular; why income level should not dictate one’s ability to choose what is best the family; identifying strengths and positive attributes of people and nonprofits; and building a movement to change the way low-income families are perceived and supported nationwide.


Moderator: Lourdes Rodriguez, Senior Program Officer,

St. David’s Foundation

Prior to joining the St. David’s Foundation in 2020, Lourdes served as Associate Professor and Director of Community-Driven Initiatives at the Dell Medical School at UT Austin. Lourdes also worked as Program Officer at the New York State Health Foundation, and from 2004–2012 she co-directed the Urbanism and the Built Environment tracks in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. As a public health practitioner, and in both academic and philanthropic roles, she collaborates, develops, and evaluates initiatives to improve health for people most impacted by health inequities. Lourdes has a Doctor in Public Health from Columbia University, a Master of Public Health from the University of Connecticut, and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Biotechnology from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. Dr. Rodriguez is a member of the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s Roundtable on Population Health Improvement and currently holds an appointment as an Adjunct Faculty with the UT Health School of Public Health Austin Regional Campus.

Salwa Yordi, Programs Manager, Glimmer|Austin Salwa is a Venezuelan immigrant of Middle Eastern descent. She moved to the United States at age 15, not knowing the English language, but graduated with honors from her high school while supporting her family as a cashier and cleaning attendant. Salwa pursued a major in Communications from the University of Texas at San Antonio and later moved to Austin. She created Farandula Texas and became one of the first Spanish-speaking entertainment reporters in the city. Her work includes coverage of some of the most important industry events including Latin Grammy Awards, People en Español, and Latin Billboards. In 2015, Salwa began her journey at A Glimmer of Hope Foundation Austin (Glimmer Austin) in 2015. Salwa oversees programs, grants management, and administration for Glimmer Austin. She works closely with Glimmer’s Partners, recipients of their grants. She is passionate about driving their Partners to success by helping them reach their goals. Whether reporting local events or programs management, she is passionate about sharing hope, opportunities and support for those who are in need and often neglected.

MJ Korpela, Family Services Director, Jeremiah Program Austin

Jeremiah Program is a national two-generation (2Gen) program dismantling systemic poverty through investment in the potential of families and partnership with single mothers working to build the future they choose. Prior to joining Jeremiah Program in May, MJ spent 6 years overseeing trauma-informed programming at Mainspring Schools, an award winning 2Gen program in South Austin. MJ relocated to Austin in 2014 from Minneapolis, MN, where she worked primarily in mental health and crisis response with woman and children, focusing on trauma, attachment, and racial equity. She earned her BA in Psychology from the University of Minnesota and in May will defend her thesis on building attachment centered 2Gen programs to finalize her MA in Counseling Psychology from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. She currently serves on the advisory board at both Mainspring and The Family Independence Initiative Austin and is a 2021 Austin 40 Under 40 Awards nominee.

Ivanna Neri, Partnership Director, Family Independence Initiative

Ivanna joined the Family Independence Initiative in 2018, first as Site Director and then as Partnership Director in April 2020. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition from University of Veracruz, Mexico, and a Master’s in Public Administration from UT San Antonio. Before moving to Austin, Ivanna worked three years with diverse populations in Mexico as a nutritionist for different social organizations and government agencies. She moved to Austin in 2013 and started working as a Community Organizer for Go! Austin, Vamos! Austin, where she was able to organize community leaders on social issues to reduce childhood obesity. Afterward, Ivanna joined Common Threads as a Program Manager to build a network of supporters, community partners and school districts to develop a health portfolio for the whole city that reflected the community needs.


What's Coming Next?

We thank all our registrants, speakers, panelists, moderators, and sponsors for making our

6-week, multi-session Discovery Days a new and successful virtual event. Each track has been previewed on our blog, with bios of our impressive and generous speakers.

On February 23, a recap blog will be posted on this same site.


Register now for Discovery Days,

our signature event reimagined in 2021 for even greater impact!


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