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  • Impact Austin

Strategic Advisory Council: FY 2022 and 2023

By Becky Austen, Co-Chair

Strategic Advisory Council, FY 2022 and 2023

Impact Austin has a long history of community engagement, particularly when we’ve faced key decisions and transformational changes. We’ve come alongside nonprofit and civic organizations, businesses, funders, philanthropists, and other thought leaders, and the outreach has taken many forms, including surveys, focus groups, workshops, and committees.

With the seismic changes that affected society at large in 2020, we began exploring a more sustained approach for engagement and feedback. At the June 2021 Annual Meeting, we announced the plan to convene a Strategic Advisory Council (SAC). We launched the SAC in September 2021, connecting with community leaders to strengthen and diversify our membership and grantmaking. Long time Impact Austin members Becky Austen and Lorene Phillips volunteered as the SAC co-chairs. We reached out to Austin’s “movers and shakers” to join the council, and twenty-eight extraordinary members stepped up to share their expertise, challenge our strategic thinking, and make recommendations to the Strategic Planning Committee and Board of Directors. Two-thirds of the council members were BIPOC, with representation from nonprofit and community organizations, academia, businesses, chambers of commerce and more.

FY 2022-2023 Strategic Advisory Co-Chairs Becky Austen (left) and Lorene Phillips (right)

Over the next eighteen months, the SAC met five times and dove deep on topics centered around economic empowerment, race equity, capacity building, and funding. Members formulated recommendations on trust-based philanthropy, DEIB, and grantmaking. We explored how Impact Austin can leverage its strengths, collaborate with other funders, and address existing and new opportunities and gaps in Central Texas. Feedback was shared with Impact Austin leaders and Board members to inform the strategic planning process.

We took stock of the SAC over the past few months, as the members and co-chairs were approaching the end of their two-year terms. We determined that the SAC was a great source of insight for Impact Austin, and an ideal forum for candid conversations on strategic matters. Fourteen members agreed to extend their terms for another year, and Susan Palombo and Nancy Vera came on as the new co-chairs. Planning is under way for SAC meetings this fall and next spring, with close alignment to the strategic plan and Board priorities.

Advisory councils are not new to nonprofits, but we haven’t seen them leveraged as much in the collective giving arena. We’re honored to share our learnings in a session at the Philanos PowerUp! Conference in Baltimore in November 2023.

We’re so grateful to the council members who have contributed to strengthening Impact Austin and shaping its future. We’re excited to see the next wave of great ideas and outcomes from the SAC in the months ahead!

STRATEGIC ADVISORY COUNCIL - Original Cohort and Members continuing in FY 2024

Paulina Artieda The New Philanthropists

Courtney Bailey Leadership Austin

Rebecca Birch Susan G. Komen®

Sylvia Butanda Indeed Social Impact Programs :& Partnerships

Vanessa Davila Helping Hand Home

Chelsea Dean-Martinez Girls Empowerment Network

Estevan Delgado Austin Community Foundation

Chelsea Elliott half Helen Foundation

Johanna Moya Fábregas Con Mi MADRE

Fang Fang Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce

Ana-Cristina González Mobile Loaves & Fishes

Woody Harrison Woody Harrison Films

Patricia Hayes PVH Consulting Group LLC

Carolyn Krawczyk Austin PBS

Dan Leal Seedling

Pauline Lewis Community Leader

Diana Maldonado Maldonado Strategies

Lynelle McKay Community Leader

Irina Meza Creative Reaction Lab

Haydee Moreno JUST Community

Dr. Rosalind Oliphant Sadler Means YWLA

Karen Ranus Community Leader

Lourdes Rodríguez David Rockefeller Fund

Denise Shannon Philanthropy Consultant

Ricki Wax Google

Nakeenya Wilson Community Leader


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