What's Next for Impact Austin 2020 Grants and Annual Meeting
Amid rapidly changing news in recent weeks, your Impact Austin colleagues have weighed many decisions - some quite difficult - about 2020 grantmaking and member events. This post outlines thoughtful adaptations to support our members and nonprofit partners. Two themes emerged as the Grants team, Committee Cabinet, and Board examined how Impact Austin should best respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We remain committed to the mission, ethics, and core values of our organization. We cherish and honor our members, including our hard-working volunteers.
As a major funder of Central Texas nonprofits, we must be empathetic, flexible, and responsive to the needs of our nonprofit community, even if this means disrupting our norms.
FLEXIBLE GRANTMAKING AND ONLINE PRACTICES
Last week, Impact Austin leadership made several changes to our 2020 grantmaking practices. Top considerations were (1) concern for the health and well-being of applicants and Impact Austin volunteers; (2) the importance of quick and broad financial support at a time when nonprofits will struggle more than ever; and (3) preservation of members' engagement with the grant process. Adaptive, compassionate practices like these are being enacted among other grantmakers and philanthropists across the country, including many collective giving groups like ours. Changes include:
FINALIST SELECTION: The four GRCs (Catalyst, Community, Education, and Health & Well-Being) met remotely March 23-26. Instead of selecting three semi-finalists in each focus area for site visits, each GRC chose two finalists to move directly to the last phase. 2020 site visits have been eliminated.
Austin Child Guidance Center Project: ACGC Teletherapy Program
Family Eldercare Project: Catalyst for Excellence - Harnessing Technology to Better Serve Aging Texans COMMUNITY GRANT
BookSpring Project: BookSpring Wash & Read
Casa Marianella Project: Immigrant Youth
Kids In A New Groove Project: Mentoring through Music
Welcome Table, Inc. Project: Freedom Schools - Austin
HEALTH & WELL-BEING GRANT
Family Independence Initiative Project: Advancing Economic Mobility through Direct Investment and Social Capital
NAMI Central Texas Project: "Mental Health Mamas" - Wellness Advocates for Families in Crisis
FINALIST NOTIFICATION: Impact Austin's 8 finalists were notified March 27 of their status and informed about process changes in grant awards. Finalists will now have the option to move ahead with the programs proposed in their grant applications or to use Impact Austin funds for more pressing needs. All 2020 Program and Catalyst Grants will be unrestricted.
MEMBER VOTING: Impact Austin members will vote sooner - and electronically - for the 8 finalists. Each finalist will prepare a simple video to pitch their organization or project, and members will consider the information in the videos alongside the applicants' reports in order to cast their votes. Votes will be counted between May 1 and May 4, when our Community Partners are publicly announced.
GRANT FUNDING: Each of our 8 finalists will be funded, and all will be considered our 2020 Community Partners.The applicant with the highest number of votes in each GRC category will receive $75,000; the other finalist will receive $25,000. All will be one year grants with contracts and reporting requirements. Payments will be made as soon as possible and in one lump sum. All 2020 Community Partners may reapply in 2021.
EXPEDITED CALENDAR FOR VOTING AND GRANT PAYMENTS:
April 22 - Finalist packets sent to members. Online voting opens. May 1 - Online voting closes, and vote count begins. May 4 - New Community Partners announced publicly. May 11 - Grants disbursements. June 8 - Online Annual Meeting
GIRLS GIVING GRANTS (g3): The g3 team will follow suit by splitting their $10,300 funding between their two finalists. They will award 75% of their total to the nonprofit receiving the largest vote count from g3 members, with 25% to the other finalist. Their grants will be unrestricted and may be used for the original project that was submitted or for core operations.
SOCIAL INNOVATION GRANT: The Social Innovation Grant will be offered in the fall as a $40,000 one-year grant for a collaborative working to advance equity for women of color and their children.
2020 ANNUAL MEETING: ONLINE GATHERING ON JUNE 8
Our next step will be to adapt our Annual Meeting from an in-person event to a shorter, online gathering. A virtual meeting is a new way of doing business! Members will be emailed well in advance to let you know what to expect and how to access the meeting. This decision for an online meeting comes with heartache, as Annual Meeting is as much a celebration among friends as it is the culmination of annual grantmaking. Moreover, it's our biggest member recruitment and renewal opportunity.
We hope that members will use Annual Meeting as the opportunity to recommit to Impact Austin for FY 2021. A monthly payment option will be presented in June. Leadership is now investigating the technologies, streaming bandwidth, and licenses needed for virtual cloud meeting apps to handle our large electronic participation. Event sponsors and individual donors are asked to support the new and unbudgeted expenses that arise with this type of Annual Meeting. If you can help, consider becoming a sponsor or making a donation.
MEMBER CONNECTIONS AND SUPPORT
NEW MEMBER EVENTS: Our April 27 and May 18 events have been postponed until further notice. Keeping our members healthy is our priority.
ZONES: Committed to doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19, we will postpone all in-person Zone activities for now. Zones Captains are brainstorming ways to safely maintain contact and may reach out soon with more information.
MEMBER SUPPORT: To ensure we are able to get important updates to members in a timely manner, please visit our Member Portal and ensure your information is up-to-date.
STAY IN TOUCH WITH SOCIAL MEDIA: If you don't already follow Impact Austin on social media, this is a great time to socialize virtually with us and stay connected. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.