MEMBER VOICES: Tiare Mata Nichols
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 voices we profile, but each also speaks to one aspect of our extraordinary collective.
Tiare Mata Nichols found her way to Impact Austin, but her journey began in the Hawaiian islands.
As a Hawaii resident all her life, Tiare was raised at the ocean, hiking in the rainforests, swimming in the rivers, and being humbled by the vast mountain ranges of Hawaii. She’s grateful to have been raised in Hawaii. So, why leave? What brought her to Austin? Opportunity.
In Hawaii, Tiare had launched a small nonprofit, Women of the Arts Hawaii, aimed at creating opportunities to support and showcase female artists and their creativity. The intersection of philanthropy and women intrigues her, as do efforts to empower women to their highest potential. Once in Austin, Tiare’s research pointed her to Con Mi MADRE, where she serves as Development and Communications Associate. She aligns personally with Con Mi MADRE’s mission, which echoes the ethos that her mother championed: education is a tool to unleash the potential within everyone. Tiare’s mom, Leslie,
was firm in her belief that “your destiny is to be educated, to help yourself, and to help others.”
Con Mi MADRE has also helped Tiare to pursue her Latina (Puerto Rican, Venezuelan) lineage, an element she had not fully tapped into during her upbringing in Hawaii. She appreciates hearing the Spanish language spoken in Texas, seeing the pride of being Latina in the cultural celebrations in Austin, and learning about Latina heroes of Texas. She values learning about the history of Austin its successes and its challenges. Tiare comments about the connectivity of human beings. “It’s a soul thing: we can all make a difference and it doesn’t have to impact thousands at a time. One person at a time is powerful.”
“It has always been a dream of mine to give back, to be a philanthropist,” Tiare said. “Impact Austin is fulfilling that for me.” As a member through Con Mi MADRE (Impact Austin's 2021 Equity Community Partner), Tiare jumped right in with service on the Equity Grant Review Committee. “Wow, the GRC experience was fascinating!” Tiare exclaimed. “I wish that we could fund them all!” Collectively, GRC members spoke about equity and helping women in unrepresented, marginalized communities. “It feels good to know we’re giving voice to those who haven’t previously had the mic,” Tiare observed. “We’re showing up to make positive change, a ripple effect of goodness in our communities and future generations.”
Tiare reflected, “The collective of women in Impact Austin has made me feel connected to Texas and connected to the part of me that is limitless.” She further explained, “The GRC wanted to hear what I had to say. Sometimes it takes a community of women to encourage each other to reach higher, to jump out of our comfort zones. That, to me, is girl power!”
Tiare valued her Grant Review Committee (GRC) experience. Registration for spring GRCs will open on January 13, 2023.