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What she showed me was this: The social scene was driven primarily by charity. All the parties had a fundraising element for a catalog of nonprofits. With Carolyn leading the way, I saw Austinites raising money for good causes— social services, medical needs, arts, education, historical preservation and more. It was an endless river of good work being done by good people. I met the children at Helping Hand Home that were the beneficiaries of the Helping Hand Gala; I saw the ballet blossom through the support of the Ballet Austin Guild; I photographed senior citizens on a day out with the Assistance League of Austin’s “Bus with Us” program. I have lots of great memories.

“When Austin found a need existed, Austin stepped up to help.” My favorite memory started with a request to promote a small fundraiser for a group of Special Olympic participants. They were hoping to raise $3,000 to provide transportation to competitions. I was moved by their modest request, so I mentioned their fundraising event in my column. When the paper came out, the event chair received a call, followed by a check for $5,000. Another $20,000 was generated by the event itself. The generosity shown to these participants followed a pattern I saw repeated time and again—when Austin found a need existed, Austin stepped up to help.

My experience in covering these charitable events tells me that communicating with the public is critical to the mission of the nonprofits. Good works not only affect the recipient, but they touch their family, their neighbors and the entire community. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that one journalist cannot possibly cover all the meetings, luncheons and events that take place on a daily basis. With newspapers and other media outlets cutting their budgets, fewer staff are available to cover charitable events across the community. The charitable message still needs to be told. After much thought and input from community leaders, I have formed a consultant relationship with St. David’s Foundation. Having watched the foundation for many years, I know we have a common interest in addressing immediate needs while working to mitigate future needs. Working with the foundation, I’ll conduct seminars, training and host a blog on the foundation’s website. Our common goal is to provide the smaller nonprofits with the tools to effectively tell their story. I know when their stories are heard, they will gain volunteers, sponsors and even clients in need of help. Together, we can continue to make Austin the best place in the world to live.

SEE Godwin’s new blog KeepAustinGiving.org

Godwin, far left, during his Austin Citizen days. Spring 2011

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Profile for GivingCity Austin

GivingCity Austin #7  

Featuring Austin's 30 New Philanthropists of 2011, plus Spring Art events, How to End Panhandling, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Women's Storybo...

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