top of page
  • Impact Austin

Discovery Days 2022: Thriving Together Through Change - Funding Landscape in Central Texas

Session 3: Funding Landscape in Central Texas | FRI, FEB 18 | 12:00 - 1:30 PM

Our final session of Discovery Days 2022 will feature an expert panel representing Central Texas funders. We will discuss funding priorities in the four counties that Impact Austin serves: Bastrop, Hays, Travis, and Williamson. How might we learn from our peers in philanthropy and collaborate to support our region?

During this session, the following topics and more will be addressed:
  • What are current needs across our region, and how do/will these organizations respond?

  • How do our peers in philanthropy approach their giving? How does each of the organizations represented today fit into the broader funding landscape in Central Texas? How might they collaborate with other funders?

  • Do the organizations represented have discrete areas for funding? If so, how were these determined?

  • Do others incorporate trust-based philanthropy principles into their funding? How?

  • Is there anything that our panelists wish grant-seekers knew?

  • When Impact Austin members sit on GRCs (grant review committees) they often feel overwhelmed by the worthiness of so many causes and organizations applying for our limited number of grants. How do these organizations manage this, and what advice might they offer our members who are soon to be sitting on GRCs?

Presenters and Panelists

Central Texas Issues Overview Speaker:

Courtney Bailey, Director of Issues and Engagement,

Leadership Austin and member of Impact Austin's Strategic Advisory Council

As Director of Issues & Engagement at Leadership Austin, Courtney Bailey leads Engage (a 10-month panel series in partnership with Austin -PBS), and Essential (a nine-month civic leadership program for established leaders). Courtney’s main focus is to connect people, ideas, and actions, in order to inspire change and improve the civic health of the Greater Austin region. Courtney gives back to her community through various volunteer roles on boards, advisory councils, and committees. She is also a registered trauma-informed wellness facilitator, with an emphasis on racial trauma, internalized racism, historical and transgenerational trauma, and mental health in Black and Latinx communities. Courtney’s workshops and trainings have been featured in Greater Austin, California, the District of Columbia, Colorado, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. As a facilitator, Courtney strives to cultivate a restorative space for others to unmask and bring their authentic selves, lived experiences, and differences, as well as problem solving skills, into the shared environment.

Courtney received a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and completed the unique interdisciplinary minor in Community Development at Howard University, a historically black university in Washington, DC.

Moderator: Ami Kane, MPA, CRFE, Chief Development Officer, Girls Empowerment Network and member of Impact Austin

​Ami joined the Girls Empowerment Network staff in 2010 and held a few different roles before becoming the agency’s first Chief Development Officer in 2018. As CDO, Ami oversees all of the fundraising and external community mobilizing activities needed to fuel the agency’s mission to ignite the power in girls. Ami is from the Indianapolis area, which is where her passion for girl services began. This interest was sparked through volunteerism and her undergraduate political science and gender studies programs, in which she was honored as the Servant Leadership award winner in 2007. Ami's commitment to philanthropy was further inspired by years of work with Girls Incorporated of Greater Indianapolis, during which time she also received her Master’s. After arriving in Austin in late 2009, Ami worked briefly with Foundation Communities before going back to her girl service roots.

Ami is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), and the Leadership Austin Emerge class of 2014. From 2010-2018 Ami helped lead Impact Austin's Girls Giving Grants initiative and she became an Impact Austin member in 2014. She currently sits on the Advancement and DEIB Committees and is also a frequent volunteer for Texas Fair Defense Project and AFP. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Psychology, and Gender Studies from Butler University and a Master of Public Affairs in Nonprofit Management from Indiana University-Purdue University.


Abena Asante, MHA, Senior Program Officer,

At St. David's Foundation, Abena Asante leads efforts to facilitate the building of knowledge to catalyze community action around issues and opportunities that align with the Foundation’s goal of strengthening rural communities. Abena joined the Foundation in 2016 and has led the strategy development and investment approach for several large portfolio areas, including safety net clinics and specialty care. She currently leads the Thriving Rural Communities portfolio at the Foundation. Abena's strong belief in the power of rural communities to create their own transformative solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of residents has led to innovative funding solutions that build rural community capacity, invest in young rural leaders, and catalyze resident-led networks to address the health and well-being of vulnerable, isolated, and under resourced rural populations. The Foundation’s rural strategy is a model investment approach for philanthropy and is noteworthy for centering racial and health equity, engaging and empowering marginalized voices, and targeting capacity building resources and support at the community level.

Abena is a board member of Texas Rural Funders, a diverse network of funders that brings attention and resources to rural Texas, leverages local assets for success, and addresses systemic challenges for impact no single organization could achieve alone. She holds a Master of Health Care Administration degree from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health Education from the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Felicia Peña, Public Affairs Manager, H-E-B Central Texas Region

Felicia Peña is a public affairs professional working in brand engagement and corporate social responsibility. As a Public Affairs Manager for H-E-B in the Central Texas Region, Felicia’s responsibilities include media relations, social impact strategy, sponsorship fulfillment, and nonprofit charitable efforts on behalf of H-E-B.

Felicia worked as a Campaign Associate for United Way for Greater Austin and also worked with the Central Texas Food Bank, departing as the Director of Community Engagement. Felicia currently serves as a board member at large of the Shoal Creek Conservancy, Austin Ed Fund, and Communities In Schools of Central Texas. She was a participant in the 2013 class of Leadership Austin Emerge and completed the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Hispanic Austin Leadership program in May 2020. Felicia graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology degree with a certificate in Social Entrepreneurship and Nonprofits. She is currently pursuing an MA in Strategic Communication from American University.

Suzy Pukys, VP of Strategic Philanthropy,

Suzy Pukys came to Georgetown Health Foundation (GHF) as its first Director of Community Resources in 2012, focused on defining and expanding the organization’s philanthropic programs. Suzy opened the Foundation’s formerly-closed annual grants process in 2013. She has subsequently led GHF to grow its grants portfolio to include public-private partnerships with local government entities, strategic multi-year and general operating grants, and capacity building funding designed to strengthen key organizations that are critical to this community’s health and human service system. Suzy worked with GHF’s board and staff to grow GHF’s grantmaking from 8 community grants totaling approximately $250,000 in 2012 to 28 grants totaling over $1.6 million in 2019. Through strategies informed by research partnerships, she has guided GHF to work toward improving the quality of life for Georgetown residents by addressing social determinants of health.

Suzy has also served as a leader on several government and nonprofit boards centering on poverty, housing, public transportation, mental health, education, domestic violence, and youth. Suzy holds an MA in English from the University of Delaware and a BA in English and History from Hiram College.


For more detail about 2022 Discovery Days topics, speakers, and sponsors, see Events

Session One: Real People, Real Experiences

Blog recap [Learn More]

Video [Watch Now]

Central Texas demographics are changing rapidly. These shifts are more than just numbers – real lives and communities are affected every day. What are the human stories of critical and urgent needs we all need to hear?

Session Two: Building Trusted Partnerships

Blog recap [Learn More]

Video [Watch Now]

Impact Austin’s community partnerships are expanding and thriving. As we increasingly embrace trust-based practices into grantmaking, we also endeavor to learn from our grantees and strategic advisors to advance equity together.


Recent Posts

bottom of page