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Impact Austin Member Spotlight on Anne Isham

Anne Isham is a fierce competitor. It is hard to catch up with her between cycling, hiking, traveling with her husband Paul, and training for competitions!

You see, Anne is a pole-vaulter…and not just any pole-vaulter, but one who is good enough to fly in the National Senior Games! --But more about that later.

We asked Anne how she heard about Impact Austin.

“I had heard of collective giving organizations in other cities, but didn’t realize Austin had one of the biggest in the country until I ran into my neighbor, Kali’ Rourke, and she told me about Impact Austin. I happily joined the fold and attended my first Discovery Day!” 

What have you done at Impact Austin, so far?

“I served on an FAC my first year and enjoyed it tremendously. I learned so much and was particularly impressed with the process of collective grant making. I signed up for the site visits, as well and found them most interesting and compelling.”

What is your profession?

“Believe it or not, I am a retired chocolatier. I have always loved it, and rather than opening a retail chocolate shop, I developed recipes, wrote about and spoke about the health benefits of chocolate.”

We asked Anne if she was involved with other nonprofits besides Impact Austin.

“Currently, I am a member of Assistance League of Austin. Previously, I served as a board member for Women’s Haven of Tarrant County, and later as a board member for Safe House, in Huntsville, Texas. My first volunteer position was with Center for Battered Women in Austin, now called Safe House.”

Tell us a bit about your family.

“My husband of 36 years is Paul Isham and he is my lifelong partner in adventure! The rest of our family consists of our son, Donald Isham and his wife Amy, our grand children, Darby and Asa and Asa’s wife Heather, and our great-granddaughter Audrey; our daughter Kathryn and grandsons Nicholas and Phillip. In addition, I have ten siblings, their spouses and dozens of nieces, nephews and cousins. We are a riotous bunch.”

What is the most important thing you have learned by being an Impact Austin member and what is your favorite thing you have done with the organization?

“The most important thing I learned is that there are dozens of worthy organizations out there serving our community in myriad ways. The most fun and interesting thing I have done with Impact Austin was the site visits. I can’t wait to go again!”

Tell us about your competitive spirit and what it has done in your life.

“I believe we each have the capacity to do whatever it is we really want to do.”

“I’ve always been drawn to the idea of flying through the air. Watching the Olympics as a child, I believed I was born to pole-vault. Pole-vaulting was not available to girls when I was in high school. About four years ago, I finally found a coach who works with mature athletes.” 

“I started competing in the Texas Senior Games and qualified to compete in pole- vaulting, javelin and race walking (1500 meters) in the National Senior Games, which were held in Minneapolis/St. Paul this July.”

“There’s nothing so inspiring as watching eighty, ninety and hundred-year-old athletes compete. They are fierce competitors!”


Anne tied for second place in Women’s 65-69 pole vaulting, which resulted in a huge silver medal and bragging rights for years! She also came in 5th in the 65-69 1500-meter race walk! Anne said, “The silver medalist in the Men’s 100+ javelin will be 102 next month. His T-shirt says: “Oh, to be 100 AGAIN!”

Congratulations, Anne -You are ageless!


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