Member Voices: How Impact Austin Fosters Connection to our Partners
In celebration of our 20th anniversary year, Impact Austin is sharing a variety of stories from and about our members. Each story is unique to the voice (or voices) we profile, but each also speaks to one aspect of our extraordinary collective.
Four members discuss how Impact Austin membership kindles deep personal connections with some of our nonprofit Community Partners. For Becky, service on a Grant Review Committee (GRC) introduced her to a Partner she came to support in a bigger way. Tonya served as a Community Partner Liaison to two grantees and forged relationships with both. Judi gleans inspiration about Partners from our website, using that information to guide her personal giving. Lauren's story tells how an Impact Austin webinar motivated a significant choice in her life that now helps her makes a difference in the lives of others.
Texas Advocacy Project: Becky Austen's story
"I learned about the Texas Advocacy Project (TAP) in my second year as an Impact Austin member (2011). I was a member of the Family GRC and TAP was awarded a program grant of $108,400. I was also involved with the Grants committee in 2015 when TAP was awarded the first Catalyst grant."
And what about TAP caused you to be more involved?
"I was inspired by the way TAP used their legal expertise to support survivors and help break the cycles of sexual violence in communities across Texas. The leadership, staff, and board are extraordinary people, the organization operates so effectively, and the programs and services make such a tangible impact on individuals and families. I jumped right in when TAP asked me to join their board, served two terms from 2012-2016, and continue to support TAP as an annual donor." Learn more about Becky in this 2014 blog.
Any Baby Can: Tonya Netzley's story
"I first learned about Any Baby Can (ABC) when I was a state employee at a health and human services agency. ABC was one of many Texas agencies with an Early Childhood Intervention Services program, and I monitored (audited) their program a couple of times.
A few years ago, while attending a Mission Capital training event, I was asked by Any Baby Can's CEO if I would be interested in joining their Finance Committee as a public member. This was around the same time that I was assigned as ABC's Community Partner (CP) Liaison in 2017. As the CP Liaison, I certainly gained a deeper knowledge of the organization and its programs. Then, last September, I was invited to join ABC's Board of Directors."
What else can you say your experience as a Community Partner Liaison? "I think this role is a key Impact Austin volunteer opportunity in which an IA member can develop a deeper and longer relationship with a CP. For example, I continue to financially support Any Baby Can and also Austin Bat Cave (after becoming their CP Liaison in 2019). I have also donated to other nonprofits I've learned about as an IA member." Read Tonya's Impact Austin story here.
CASA of Travis County: Lauren Lewis' story
"Part of the reason I joined Impact Austin when I moved here from Detroit [in 2019] was to learn more about the city I was moving to. I knew it was important to understand the history and current challenges Austin was facing. Impact Austin has provided me an amazing opportunity to listen, to learn and - when appropriate - to take action. At the heart of Impact Austin is grantmaking, but I have seen firsthand how an organization can grab our heartstrings and call us to be even more involved. In fact, that's how I became a CASA volunteer."
"After our 2020 Women Leaders webinar, which featured CASA of Travis County CEO Laura Wolf, I knew CASA was a cause and a volunteer opportunity I wanted to get more involved with. So I took the next steps and have now been officially sworn in as a CASA volunteer."
What is your advice to members? "I implore you to find the ways to get even more involved. If you need suggestions, take a look at the See Our Impact page on our website."
Personal Giving: Becky Austen and Judi McCarthy
How has membership in Impact Austin membership shaped your personal giving outside our organization? Becky declares, "Impact Austin has shaped my philanthropy in so many ways. I donate to other nonprofits I learned about through Impact Austin grantmaking, I participate in the Austin Community Foundation's Women's Fund, I've served on other boards with connections to IA, and I currently serve on a committee with Philanos, which operates the largest national network of women's giving circles. I am a member of Black Fret, a collective giving organization that supports musicians. I'm also a member of Austin Social Venture Partners, part of a global network that makes collective social impact."
"My long and deep involvement with the IA Grants committee has taught me so much about the Central TX community and the social sector at large. I'm convinced it shaped my journey to becoming a leader at a local nonprofit, Allies Against Slavery, following my retirement from corporate life."
Becky Austen, Judi McCarthy
Judi McCarthy has honed her personal philanthropy from affiliation with giving circles and community foundations. "Place-based philanthropy is #1 for me. Because my husband and I raised a family and built a business in Kern County, California, we've chosen to focus most of our giving to support that area. But we appreciate our new 'place' in Central Texas, too. Impact Austin has introduced me to 88 organizations doing great work here - our Community Partners."
Often, when Judi she wants to make a gift to honor an Austin-area friend, she will often choose among our grantees for a donation in her friend's name. Examples? For Christina Gorczynski's birthday one year, a gift to American Gateways. To congratulate new parents, a donation to Any Baby Can. A gift to BookSpring was made in memory of children's author Beverly Cleary and shared with her family. What's more, Judi will respond to fundraising appeals on social media from Impact Austin Partners like MEASURE and half Helen Foundation. "Thanks to membership in Impact Austin, I've learned about 88 nonprofits' impressive grant outcomes. I'm thrilled to support our Community Partners as a member and as an individual, too." Read about Judi's journey with women's giving here.