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  • Impact Austin

Impact Incubator Begins!

By Robin Loving, Leadership Austin Fellow

Wow! When I aimed to work with women, philanthropy, and legacy giving, I could not have imagined a better fit than Impact Austin. Impact Austin women universally seek to tackle big issues in new ways by leveraging collective resources, thought leadership, and data-driven grantmaking.

Since I began working in March to make the Impact Incubator Social Innovation Grant (SIG) pilot a reality, I have drawn on the many impactful learnings I have acquired in the US and abroad in communications, leadership, and philanthropy. The SIG team and I are conducting extensive research to focus this grantmaking on women of color. Women of color may be defined as Asian, Black, Latina and Native American.

Based on our preliminary research, this significant population is currently being left behind even with all that Impact Austin and our partners have done and are continuing to do. The most startling statistics uncovered so far are:

Austin Community Foundation (2019)

The poverty rate for Hispanics is three times the poverty rate for whites in Travis   County.

The disparity in poverty rates is even more dramatic for the child population: 35% of Hispanic children live below the federal poverty level, compared to 6% of white children.

And, more than half of Black and Latino households are living in liquid asset       poverty, meaning that they are not able to cover basic expenses over the course of three months in the event of a financial crisis.

CLASP – Center for Law and Social Policy (2018)

CLASP performed focus groups with young women of color, learning that they encounter structural barriers in daily life. This prompted CLASP to coin the term "unjustice."

CLASP concluded that to undo unjustice, we need to remove structural barriers, which are systemic challenges embedded in our culture, economy and institutions.

National Women’s Law Center (2017)

Women in all racial and ethnic groups were more likely than white, non-Hispanic men to be in poverty.

Produced by systems of power, barriers require large-scale investment policy solutions to achieve meaningful change.

In addition to your feedback, I am soliciting input from other Central Texas thought leaders who can inform us as we shape this year’s SIG. A thought leader survey will be followed immediately by the planning, implementation, and evaluation phases, and the transfer of the program to an Impact Innovation subcommittee of the SIG. We envision that this committee will be populated by those of you who are energized by this work.

Please contact me or SIG Co-chair Jessica Odeyemi if you want to volunteer for this dynamic opportunity. And, when you see me at forthcoming Impact Austin gatherings, please give me the opportunity to meet you and gain impactful insights from your empathy and curiosity!


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