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Amanda Quraishi

and the 22 New Philanthropists take center stage at ZACH’s new Topfer Theatre

g i v i n g c i t y A U S T I N

inside: the most inspiring, innovative people in austin Summer 2012

On behalf of all of us at The Seton Foundations, thanks for making our Central Texas community the best place to be.


Learn how you can support a healthier community at

GIVING C O N T E N T S Summer 2012 Issue 12

cover story

Editor-in-Chief Monica M. Williams Design DJ Stout Carla Rogers Pentagram Design Advertising Director Angela Roark

25 the new philanthropists They’re stepping up to do the work that needs to be done, all for the sake of our community. We can’t wait for you to meet them. FEATURES


36 family in need

5 editor’s letter

Despite the terrifying diagnosis of 11-year-old Nataly, a cheerful Sanchez family pushes on.

6 BRIEFS Highlights from last season: Wildfire grants, Do-Gooder Games, medical school update and parties you may have missed

P h o t o g r aph j a m i e m a l d o na d o

10 HAPPENING NOW Get involved with FuturoFund, Community Yoga, Austin Fashion Week, Austin Dog Alliance, Summer Food Program and more 40 GIVE BETTER Faith and philanthropy, how much events raise, training for fundraising and from coffee to clinic 41 DIRECTORY Austin businesses giving back

Marketing Director Narissa Johnson Contributors Juan Castillo Sun Connor Cody Hamilton Kate Harrington Carol He Jay C. Herman Jamie Maldonado Jennifer Modesett Arlen Nydam Shelley Seale Kim Willis Jamie Maldonado Tri D Photography

Cody Hamilton

Jennifer Segelke

GivingCity Austin is available online. To request print copies, please call 512-472-4483. 2012 Copyright GivingCity Austin. No part of this document may be reproduced without permission.

Cover photo by Cody Hamilton Summer 2012 3



the people i meet The best part about making GivingCity is meeting some of the most amazing and interesting people in our community. My job is to tell you about them. So between quarterly issues, I’m rarely at my desk—I’m out meeting people. Coffees, lunches, site visits and evening

Our goal is to introduce you to the people and ideas that drive progress in Central Texas. events keep me busy. I have to dress up a lot. Then I start to cycle down and think about stories and images and to whom I’ll assign the work. There’s lots of list-making and doodling in meetings at this point. Then I get on the phone. I talk to writers and photographers and try to describe to them what I have in mind for each story. I talk to sources and subjects and take in their stories. I’m chained to my desk. Then comes the fun part: Sending copy to layout and seeing it come back alive on a screen, always more colorful and interesting than it looks in Word. This is when the people we love come to life.

And the whole time I’m anticipating your meeting these remarkable people: Diana Claitor, Allen Sockwell, Maria Farahani, Debi Krakar, Jason Sabo, Nataly Sanchez.... each of them blazing a trail in their respective field, taking professional risks or exhibiting enormous bravery fighting their battle. But my goal—and the mission of everyone who helps make this little magazine—is to do more than just introduce you to the people and ideas that drive progress in Central Texas; it’s to help you find your place among them. So that when I start to plan the next issue, I get to meet you.

Monica Editor-in-Chief I’d love to hear from you. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or online at to comment. Or just send me an e-mail message at monica@

Meet 11-year-old Nataly In this issue we introduce you to Nataly, her courages parents and her joyful sisters. They could use our help, and we have lots of ways you can pitch in. Please go to page 36 to hear their story. Summer 2012 5


Not Enough? $1.4 Million Donated for Wildfire Recovery The last of the $1.4 million donated to the Central Texas Wildfire Fund was granted in May, but the need continues. With damages estimated at $300 million, the generosity of Central Texans and people from across the country may not be enough to help the communities affected by the wildfires recover. The good news is that grantees organizations are making the most of the funding, which was administered and granted by the Austin Community Foundation. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the FEMA-designated agency for survivor assistance services, received $90,000 of that funding to pay case workers. It’s that funding that helped the organization stay on to help the families in between funding from FEMA, and helped it receive the official FEMA designation. “We were able to leverage our grant to provide over $900,000 in direct services for clients across Central Texas,” says Elizabeth DiscoShearer of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The organization has helped more than 1,800 families recover from the wildfires. Learn more at



Do-Gooders Get Goofy The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network’s “Do-Gooder Games” can be hard to explain. It’s teams of nonprofit staff in costumes, answering trivia questions, sculpting their nonprofit mission in Play-Doh, having dance-off tie-breakers… ¶ Well, it’s complicated, but it’s a lot of fun. Monica Williams of GivingCity Austin was a judge again this year. ¶ “It’s about team spirit,” she says, “but it’s also about cutthroat competition, and I like that in a nonprofit event.” This year’s winning teams were from GenAustin, Literacy Coalition and Austin Pets Alive!. Learn more at

Teamwork counts! From top: Life savers from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Meg Ellis of Literacy Coalition, neon nerds from World Adult Kickball Association and spicy costumes from Salsa Labs.

P h o t o g r aphs by A RLE N N Y D A M




By Sun Connor

In her book, Breaking Night, Liz Murray chronicles her adolescent years as a child of drug addicted parents in the Bronx. Her mother’s death put Murray on the streets at 15, but Murray’s resolve helped her finish high school in two years and eventually earn a bachelor’s degree from Harvard. On April 25, Murray spoke to a crowded room at a fundraising event hosted by Caritas, and we got a chance to speak to her after the event. GC: You toured Caritas this morning and learned about the resources they offer to homeless people. Did you know about resources like this when you were growing up? LM: I knew that there were things available to us, but I don’t know…I think people tend to think about things on this practical level. “Do you have your cereal?” “Is your phone connected?” I might have understood that I could eat that donated food or I could use that donated blanket, but I did not understand how to integrate that to my life in a way that would make an opportunity for me. That came years later. What do you hope the Austin audience takes away from your book and your talk today? It’s kind of a rally against cynicism. It can be tempting to get that cynical fatigue of “this is too much.” People pass by a homeless person and think, “I can buy her dinner, but she’ll still be homeless. I can’t fix her life.” And they do nothing. I want them to stop and reconsider this message: “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

WILL DONORS BUILD THE MEDICAL SCHOOL? Although philanthropy is anticipated to play an important role in the effort, no one knows the details of those opportunities as funding details and sources for the full cost are still being determined. ¶ Here’s what we know so far: In May, University of Texas regents prom-

“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” What are some ways you think we can all help people in these situations? It’s adopting the mindset that we are each other’s responsibilities. Each of us has a piece in this, but we’re not responsible for every piece. We have to figure out that line between what we can do about our life and what’s an appropriate and responsible thing to do in our communities. But we’re not off the hook. You may spend a lifetime trying to figure out that line, but it’s an important question. “What can I do?” Learn more at

ised $25 million, contingent on Austin community members’ ability to come up with $35 million a year. The local commitment could come from a variety of sources including taxes, assessments and private donations. The regents also committed $5 million for the first eight years to help recruit staff. ¶ Seton Healthcare Family has also made a pledge: $250 million to build a new hospital to replace the publicly owned University Medical Center Brackenridge, which they operate under a lease agreement with Central Health. Seton anticipates $50 million of that pledge will come from private donations. ¶ At some point there may be naming opportunities for a bricks-and-mortar facility, and other opportunities to donate toward chairs, research efforts and scholarships as well as behavioral health facilities and services. ¶ What is clear is that Austin will not be tapping into the state government for funding. Learn more at

Summer 2012 7

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From Homeless to Harvard




FRI, AUG 10 >> 8PM



SAT, AUG 18 >> 7:30PM


Purchase tickets today.


GIVING N E W S event season highlights



may 6

may 5

Perfectly Pink Party

P h o t o g r aphs by A RLE N N Y D A M


Barbara Berry, Rick Reeder, Komen Austin Board President and Dr. Susan Pike were among the more than 250 guests who kicked off Komen Austin’s inaugural gala at Sterling Affair’s new space, Shoal Crossing. The event raised more than $120,000 for local breast cancer support.

Corazon Awards and Brunch


MariBen Ramsey of the Austin Community Foundation received a special recognition for her work as “godmother” of Con Mi MADRE, which celebrates 20 years in 2012. Con Mi MADRE has grown to serve 750 mother-daughter teams in 18 area schools, has a teen pregnancy rate for our participants of less than 2 percent, and has more than 75 percent of its graduates move on to college or postsecondary training.

may 15

Brightest Party Ever


Leadership Austin’s annual Best Party Ever took on a pop art theme to become Brightest Party Ever. Several artists, including Virginia Fleck and Blue Lapis Light wowed the crowd of 400. Superstars Charles Barnett, Sam Planta and Courtney Clark took the stage to accept their awards and a DJ kept crowds dancing on the Long Center terrace all night.

may 25


White Party

Ashanti Maxwell and Kathy Richardson donned their best whites along with hundreds of guests who helped raise more than $125,000 to support Lifeworks’ mission of helping youth and young families succeed. The White Party is considered the grand finale of gala season. It’s Austin at its most elegant, brash and brilliant.

Summer 2012 9

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GIVING I N A C T I O N businesses giving back

A local credit union goes further to encourage employee volunteering.

Paul Trylko, CEO of Amplify Credit Union, seems perplexed when asked if it’s true that Amplify really offers employees 40 hours of paid time to volunteer. “We’re a not-for-profit financial cooperative,” says Trylko, “so we’ve always been focused on giving back to the community we live in and work with.” Yes, but 40 hours— a full week—is very generous. Do any of the employees take Amplify up on that?

volunteer, but when you work 40 hours, you have a family, you’re busy, it can make all the difference in the world to be able to volunteer during the work day.” In addition to the award, each of Amplify’s honorees also received $500 to put toward the charity of their choice. Trylko says the credit union, with 180 employees in 5 counties, may be unique in the region in offering such a generous employee volunteer program. But he hopes Amplify is part of a trend to encourage employee giving. “It make you consider that we’re part of something bigger than just one financial institution,” says Trylko, “that we’re part of the greater community as a whole.” While the program certainly creates a community-minded atmosphere at the credit union, does it actually affect the bottom line? “I think it helps people feel satisfied about their work,” says Trylko. “It probably affects our bottom line indirectly.” McCoy for one seems enamored of the program. “I’ve been at Amplify for 12 years,” says McCoy, “and I plan to retire from here.” Summer 2012 11

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McCoy receiving one of three volunteer awards. “This is a city that encourages people to volunteer, and seeing that when I moved here made me want to do that more.”

In fact, they do. In 2011, 46 employees took advantage of the paid leave to volunteer and three Amplify employees— Terry McCoy, Kris Smith and Kyle Cottington– used the entire 40 hours. Amplify recognized these three employees with a “Humanitarian Award” this past April. McCoy, a training coordinator at Amplify, served as project manager for renovations done to the home of the Jackson family, who were one of the families Amplify adopted as part of the Austin AmericanStatesman’s “Season of Caring” campaign. McCoy laughs when he remembers the project. “I honestly didn’t know what I was getting into,” he says. Though McCoy renovates and flips homes on the side, he says, “It was amazing to help someone who really needed it, and make a difference in t he community.” As a volunteer, McCoy also collects and sorts food at Capital Area Food Bank and recently become certified with Foundation Communities to assist its clients with financial counseling. “What Amplify does is great,” says McCoy. “It’s really easy to say they want employees to

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when service counts

GIVING I N A C T I O N Latino issues

by jennifer segelke

Targeted funding How FuturoFund members pool their dollars for big impact. Founded by a group of young, Hispanic professionals, FuturoFund is a giving circle where 100 percent of member contributions are granted to local nonprofits making a positive impact in the Hispanic community. For $500 a year, each member gets one vote to determine which applicants will receive grants that year. But its impact goes beyond the checks. “Being in a giving cirlce not only allows you to have a bigger impact,” says co-founder Priscilla Cortez, “it allows you to see that you’re not alone in caring about the issues that impact our community—and that’s empowering.”

Workers Defense Frameworks $35,000 in 2010 Project $40,000 in 2009

Join FuturoFund Join by October 31 in order to have full voting rights at the grants ceremony in December. Learn more at 12

The main goal of the Workers Defense Project is to give members the tools they need to improve their working conditions. Before the grant from FuturoFund, the WDP was a staff of four. Since the funding, they’ve secured a new community space and the staff has grown to 14, enabling the nonprofit to serve 3,000 low-income Latino families a year. “This wouldn’t have been possible without the support we received from FuturoFund,” says Cristina Tzintzun, executive director. “FuturoFund believed in our mission and work when few others did. They helped give us the exposure and credibility we needed.” The grant money helped to educate 2,155 low-income Latinos regarding their rights and responsibilities in the workplace; provide occupational safety and health training to 31 community leaders; recover $120,000 in unpaid wages for more than 90 Latino families; recover more than $32,000 in medical care reimbursements for injuries suffered in the workplace, and much more.

“For Hispanic families, the home is the center of everything in their lives: nurturing children, celebrations, supporting each other,” says Joyce McDonald, Frameworks executive director. “They have worked so hard for their home. With the support of FuturoFund, we can help save their home during hard times.” With the help of FuturoFund, Frameworks was able to assist 917 Latino families in 2011, through foreclosure intervention counseling, a five-hour telethon and community outreach. “The FuturoFund grant allowed us to expand the number of families we could serve during a critical period when there were many foreclosures,” says McDonald. In addition to foreclosure assistance, Frameworks was able to have a greater impact in assisting Latino families achieve the dream of homeownership through their homebuyer education program.

Anthropos Arts $10,000 in 2010

“Money for development is hard to come by,” says Dylan Jones, executive director of Anthropos Arts, a nonprofit using the power of music to inspire young people to stay in school and go to college. “But the more money you put into development, the more you’ll see that money grow. The grant we received from FuturoFund has been exponentially helpful, and we’re still seeing the benefits.” In addition to the 150 music lessons, pairing middle and high school students with local professional musicians, and the two large-scale music workshops, part of the grant money was put toward much-needed development efforts. With the help of a development consultant, Anthropos Arts recruited three additional board members, reorganized their grant application process and submitted 12 grant proposals, all of which has resulted in a 17 percent increase in funding. “FuturoFund is unique in that they see the big picture,” he says. “They want to help you become sustainable and solidify your development efforts, which is exactly what small to midsize nonprofits need.” And Anthropos Arts seems to be what the community needs as well. For the past two years, all participating graduating seniors have gone onto college—on scholarship.

Anthropos Arts

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Top, Anthropos Arts students learn instruments and play on famous stages like Stubb’s BBQ; bottom left, Austin workers learn their rights at Worker’s Defense Fund; bottom right, through Frameworks, Joyce McDonald helps save the homes of Latino families in Central Texas.

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ph o t o g r aphs by Ja m i e Ma l d o na d o an d C a r o l H e

Workers Defense Project

Summer 2012 13

GIVING I N A C T I O N mental health

By Kate Harrington

saving yoga services for inmates

Yoga Works A five-year study conducted in North Carolina and completed in 2008 found that inmates who were taught yoga over the study’s course were less likely to be reincarcerated upon release. Of those who attended more than four classes, 8.5 percent were reincarcerated, while 25.2 percent of those who attended fewer than four classes went back to jail during the same period. 14

As an attorney and board president of Community Yoga, which takes yoga instruction into jails, Jodi Cole has seen firsthand the impact yoga can have on county inmates. “My maximum security client is in the mental health unit, and there are times when he has missed a dose of medication,” says Cole, “so I think yoga helps him stay calm.” In fact, research shows that yoga can have a positive impact not only on an inmate’s personality and health, but also on recidivism (see “Yoga Works.”) But offering that instruction to inmates— and to other groups

of people who could benefit the most from yoga—almost shut down Community Yoga. The nonprofit was founded to bring the benefits of yoga to communities that might not otherwise have access to the practice. Almost immediately, they found the community clamoring for the classes they offered: the Travis County Correctional Complex in Del Valle, SafePlace, Family Eldercare, the Austin Resource Shelter for the Homeless and the Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic were all among initial clients, and the waitlist grew quickly. But Community Yoga didn’t ask most clients to

pay. At the same time, the organization paid its yoga teachers competitive wages, relying on donations and fundraisers to bring in money. By early 2012, that model was no longer sustainable. The current board retooled the organization, scaling back to focus on the classes at the jail and the classes at organizations that could pay or would be taught by volunteers. Community Yoga is also examining the possibility of partnering with other nonprofits, and is going after grants targeted at the inmate population. “We decided that the inmates are a population that really would benefit the most from receiving yoga,” Cole says of the decision to maintain the jail classes. “We felt that our efforts would also benefit society in that it would reduce recidivism, too. “My job is to humanize inmates to a judge, jury and the state. Sometimes, I have to humanize clients to themselves first. Yoga is a tool that has been useful in this process.” Learn more at

ph o t o g r aph by J A M I E M A LDO N A DO

A nonprofit rethinks its capacity to accomplish its mission.

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L-R Anne Marie Beard, Micah Yancey, Megan Summerville, Alex and Demian Vazquez, Kendra Scott and Jessica Ciarla will each design an item inspired by art from The Arc clients.

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fashion, philanthropy

and formula 1

Austin Fashion Week kicks off with charity in mind.

Guests will also preview the outfits to be worn by the Circuit of the Americas Girls to be worn at the first United States Grand Prix race in November.

Here’s proof that Austin can find the heart in any event: SHIFT INTO STYLE. The live event kicks off Austin Fashion Week on August 10, and features just about everything hot in town right now, including philanthropy. There’s the gourmet food and live entertainment, and of course there will be runway shows featuring the new

work of local and nationally recognized designers, but guests will also preview the outfits to be worn by the Circuit of the Americas Girls to be worn at the first United States Grand Prix race in November. Proceeds from the event will benefit the new Seton Breast Cancer Center and the Dell Children’s Blood and Cancer Center.

Also new this year is a silent auction of new work that takes inspiration from some very special artists. Eight of Austin’s most talented designers will auction new pieces inspired by individual pieces from The Arc of the Arts Studio & Gallery, the creative arts program of The Arc of Capital Area, which provides services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The idea came from Kara Swinney who recently joined to board of the Arc and whose husband, Matt, is the founder and ringmaster for Austin Fashion week. “The artists love the attention,” says Rachel Mallerne of The Arc, “and we love that it helps us share our mission with a whole new audience.” Learn more at

Summer 2012 15

GIVING I N A C T I O N community services

september 12-14

Lights. Camera. Help. Making the case for powerful films. “There really aren’t any models for what we’re doing,” says Aaron Bramley, one of the founders of Lights.Camera.Help. “And that’s been pretty liberating.” Lights. Camera. Help. bills itself as a “world’s only,” and it is on a lot of levels. Not only is it a film festival for cause-related video and film, but it awards cash prizes to the nonprofits behind the winning films and the organization Lights. Camera. Help. is a nonprofit itself. Once you wrap your brain around that, it’s important to keep another thing in mind. Films aren’t judged on

solely their cinematic virtues; they have to compel an audience to do something. “We try to choose winners based on the strength of their ‘call to action,’” says Bramley, because nonprofit films are not just about entertainment, they’re also about pulling at your heart and mind. If you attend, you can expect to be in the company of nonprofit people, film people and creative people. You can also expect to see some of the best public services announcements, shorts and feature-length films in the country over the three nights

and hear from Turk Pipkin, Austin’s famous cause-film producer and Nobelity Project founder, who will screen his new film on the night of his keynote address.

Turk Pipkin made his mark with the 2006 film “Nobelity,” which offers world-changing solutions through the eyes of Nobel Prize winners.

Learn more at

GIVING PROGRAM You give back to better our community. We give back because we live here. 16


June 29-July 8 Lakeway Resort and Spa’s Independence Day Getaway. Lakeway Resort and Spa.

4 Austin Symphony July 4th Concert & Fireworks. Auditorium Shores. 10 GivingCity Givers Ball. KLRU Studio 6A. 12 CharityLadies benefiting Austin Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Teddies for Bettys. Benefiting Austin Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. 14 Bastile Day Party. French Legation Museum. Benefiting Alliance Française d’Austin. 21 Spike Dykes Charity Golf Tournament . Barton Creek Resort & Spa. Benefiting Alzheimer’s Research in Texas. 28 Without Regrets Anniversary Concert Benefit. Threadgills. Benefiting Without Regrets. August 4 6th Annual Ice Cream Festival. Fiesta Gardens. 10-18 Austin Fashion Week 10 Austin Summer Musical Gala. Carver Museum & Cultural Center. Benefiting Austin Summer Musical for Children.

21-28 Dachis Group presents Tribeza Style Week. At various locations.

17 Excellence in Leadership Gala. Four Seasons Hotel Austin. Benefiting Concordia University Texas.

21- 23 Texas Tribune Festival 2012. Benefitting Texas Tribune.

24 10th Annual Tour de Vin. W Hotel Austin. Benefiting Wine and Food Foundation of Texas.

21 Andy Roddick Gala. W Austin and ACL Live at The Moody Theater. Benefiting Austin Area Children Foundations.

25 BATFEST: Night of the Bat. Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge.

21 Ballet Austin’s Fete & fete’ish. The Driskill. Benefiting Ballet Austin.

25 8th Annual Ice Ball. Hilton Austin. Benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas.

22 58th Annual Jewel Ball. Benefiting Women’s Symphony League of Austin.

26 2012 Austin Chronicle’s Hot Sauce Festival. Waterloo Park. 27 10th Annual Brian Jones Celebrity Golf Classic. Twin Creeks Country Club. Benefiting Boys and Girls Club of the Austin Area. September 6 Fashion’s Night Out 2012. Various retailers around town.

22 FAAN Walk for Food AllergyAustin. Mueller Lake Park. Benefiting The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network. 22 Austin Pride Parade and Festival 2012. Fiesta Gardens.

30 CASA Superhero 5K Run. Mueller Browning Hangar. Benefiting CASA programs of Travis and Williamson Counties. October 2 HAAM’s 7th Annual HAAM Benefit Day around town. Benefitting Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. 4-7 aGLIFF 2012 Film Festival. Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar. 6-7 AIA 26th Annual Homes Tour around town. Benefitting American Institute of Architects. 6 Texas Craft Brewers Festival. Fiesta Gardens. Benefitting Austin Sunshine Camps. Visit for a complete listing of all communityminded events.

23 Austin Museum Day. 23 Tribeza Style Week Fashion Brunch. Parkside.

12 Texas Exes Golf Championship. University of Texas Golf Club. Benefitting UT Heritage Society.

23 I Live Here, I Give Here 2012 BIG Give. The Driskill. Benefiting I Live Here, I Give Here.

14-16 PLANC TX Caregiver Recognition & Fundraiser. AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center. Benefiting Planned Living Assistance Network of Central Texas. PLAN-of-Central-Texas

23 Seton Social 2012. Wild Onion Ranch. Benefiting Seton Medical Center Hays. 27-30 ZACH’s Topfer Theatre Grand Opening. ZACH Theatre.

20 Austin Business Traveler’s Association Golf Tournament. River Place Country Club. Benefitting Without Regrets.

28 Tribeza Style Week Fashion Show 2012. University Park.

20 Texas Nonprofit Summit. AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center.

29-30 Fall 2012 Pecan Street Festival. E. 6th Street. Summer 2012 17

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3-7 Horseshoe Bay Fourth of July Extravaganza. Horseshoe Bay Resort.

16 Eat the Heat 2012. Maggie Mae’s. Benefitting The Smile Never Fades.

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July June 29-July 15 Austin Chamber Music Festival. Long Center for the Performing Arts. Benefiting Austin Chamber Music Center.

givers ball july 10

klru studio 6a


New Philanthropists 2012 & Video for Change Winner!


GIVING I N A C T I O N capital campaign / animal welfare

Debi Krakar reflects on the unexpected journey from devoted mother to nonprofit founder, all thanks to a single dog.

ph o t o g r aph by Jay C . H e r m an

Read Debi’s story about the founding of Austin Dog Alliance Summer 2012 19

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Debi Krakar and her golden retreiver Riley. “Every day I witnessed how much positive reinforcement Riley and my foster puppies provided to my own children and the children in my neighborhood. That’s why we formed Austin Dog Alliance.” 

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a home for dog lovers

GIVING I N A C T I O N capital campaign / animal welfare

Our permanent home is the culmination of 20 years of life events that have driven me to believe in this project with my heart and soul. Destiny, karma, God’s will… I don’t know what to call it, but the journey to build a permanent home for Austin Dog Alliance is very personal.  It all started with the adoption of my golden retriever named Riley

This past April, Austin Dog Alliance announced its plans to build a permanet home on 7.1 wooded acres in Cedar Park. About half of the project’s $1.3 million budget has been secured, and ground breaking is scheduled for September 2012.  in 2002. Riley is an extremely affectionate and perceptive dog that became my saving grace when my children were young. The oldest of my four children were what people politely called “challenging.” When we learned that one of my children is affected by bi-polar disorder and another has autism/Asperger’s disorder, those diagnoses helped our lives finally make sense. Unfortunately, at the time, social skills classes for 13-year-old boys simply did not exist.  Through those painful years of parenting we really depended on Riley for comfort. In 2003, my family 20

moved to Austin and I discovered the joys of fostering dogs. Every day I witnessed how much positive reinforcement Riley and my foster puppies provided to my own children and the children in my neighborhood. I started to realize I could use dogs to make a difference in the community.   That’s why in 2006, Joyce Martin, Megan Kazda and I formed the Austin Dog Alliance, to combine adoption, training, community and pet therapy programs. Once we opened our first official facility in 2009, volunteers came forward by the dozens. We began to train more dog handlers and offer more school programs, library programs, summer camps and visits to nursing homes and hospitals. During the summer camps, we began to notice that shy and socially awkward children seemed to benefit most from interacting with the dogs. The teacher of a class for children with autism told me she saved her more difficult lessons for the “dog days,” because it helped the children stay calm and attentive. A light bulb went off.  What if we offered ADA’s new facility will help to meet demand for its autism social skill program and to expand into working with young adults through a job skills training program.

social skills classes for kids with autism and Asperger’s?   Working with Carolyn Honish, an amazing special education teacher, and two professors from the Autism Project, we began to put together small social skills classes

home. And I knew we›d found a way to help kids struggling to fit in—as well as parents, who were coping with the stress of raising special-needs children. Today, Austin Dog Alliance reflects the passion, talent and energy of 457 volunteers.

We are an organization that accepts everyone, all abilities and unique characteristics. We strive to be as nonjudgmental as our canine role models. Life is funny sometimes. I certainly didn’t see this as my future when I studied to

become an accountant. However, I feel this is my destiny­—and I feel blessed that hundreds of volunteers join me to make a difference in the lives of others through the powerful connection we have with dogs. Learn more at

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using Riley and other dogs—and something wonderful happened. Parents told us that their children, who were usually uncomfortable in public, were excited about coming to class, that they were learning and practicing what they learned at

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ph o t o g r aph by T r i D P h o t o g r aphy

children’s services


feeding our kids in the summer Though a summer food program is available for low-income kids, we don’t use it well.

In May, children attending summer day camp at El Buen Samaritano kicked off their summer meal program with a lunch prepared by Chef David Bull of Second and served by volunteer community leaders.

“The problem is getting children to the site. There’s no school bus like there is during the school year,” Turner says. The CAFB is a sponsor in the Austin area, and last year served about 30,000 meals across Travis County. During the school year, 64 percent of Austin ISD students receive free or reduced lunch, Turner said. Add to that dire budget constraints, and there’s been even more strain on the program in the last year, which saw deep cuts to Texas school districts. HOW IT WORKS The Summer Food Service Program is one of several summer food programs funded by the federal government, and administered in Texas by the Texas Department of Agriculture. The TDA takes applications from potential sites for the program, trains sponsors and processes payments. Federal reimbursement for the SFSP to the TDA in 2011 totaled just over $41 million, up from $39.5 million in 2010, according to the TDA’s

statistics, and the latest data available. While the number of SFSP meals served in Texas went up between 2010 and 2011 by more than 300,000, the number of meals served in another summer food program called the Seamless Summer Option dropped by nearly 400,000, and the number of sites in that program decreased by 69. “With the backdrop of the nation’s hand wringing on budgets, a lot of school districts, which you’d think would be perfect sites because they have kitchens, will not apply to be sites,” Turner says. “Or there’s a certain number of loopholes allowing them to get out of it.” HOW IT DOESN’T WORK Why would schools want to get out of it when they’re reimbursed by the government? Because they’ll still lose money, says Turner. If a site or sponsor orders meals for an expected number of children but fewer than that show up, they’re not reimbursed for the uneaten meals, which must

be discarded. Multiply those losses over several weeks, and school districts already strapped for cash are looking at big potential losses. There are some bright spots. Jeremy Everett is director of the Texas Hunger Initiative, part of the Baylor School of Social Work and one of several statewide groups participating in the Texas Food Policy Roundtable. Everett said that in 2010, the group’s initiatives helped increase the number of summer meals served to children by more than 1 million, mostly by drumming up awareness that the SFSP exists. Targeting strategic sponsors and signing up more sites has also been part of the strategy. But Everett acknowledges there’s still a lot of work to be done. “We captured our low hanging fruit in those first couple of summers,” Everett said. “It will require us being consistent, in terms of not letting this issue go away after last summer, and keeping a sustained engagement.” Learn more at

Summer 2012 23

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In 2011, the Food Research and Action Center released a report bemoaning the gap between children who need help getting nutritious meals year-round and those actually receiving food. “Only one in seven of the low-income students who depended on the National School Lunch Program during the regular 2009–2010 school year had access to summer meals in 2010,” the study states. Texas actually fares worse: Only 1 in 11 Texas children eligible for the national Summer Food Service Program are getting food through that program. John Turner, senior director of marketing and branding with the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, says while intentions are good in Texas there are a number of factors working against the program’s effectiveness.

happ e ning

By Kate Harrington



By Monica Williams and Jennifer Segelke Photographs by cody hamilton

the 2012 new philanthropists: meet the people making change in austin now What makes these philanthropists special? Maybe it’s their approach. These are more than donors or volunteers. These are people taking personal or professional risks to make a difference. Or maybe it’s that they live and breathe their mission. Their cause expands outside of 9-to-5. Then again, it could be that they’re uniquely suited to their work. Everything they bring to what they do is something that no one else could manage. It’s hard to put your finger on what distinguishes this group of 22 from everyone else, but once you read about them, I think you’ll see what we saw: A brighter future for Austin. Photographed at ZACH’s new Topfer Theatre. Thank you to Brenda Thompson, Dave Steakley, Jim Reynolds and Eric Scott of ZACH for allowing us to take over ZACH and get an insider’s view of the new theatre. Learn more about the Topfer Theatre on page 27.

Summer 2012 25


1 4






Jason Sabo founder, Frontera Strategies For nonprofits and grant-making organizations are intimidated by lobbying, there’s Sabo. “It’s totally legal what they’re doing,” says Sabo, “and they can do so much more than they know.” Take his work building a consortium of Central Texas education funders to address the state’s cuts to education funding. “What would happen if all the foundations who care about education worked with some degree of coordination? Imagine how much more impactful that would be,” says Sabo. “It really does change the way foundations begin to think about their political obligations and opportunities.”

Evan Smith CEO, The Texas Tribune Though not a fledgling philanthropist in Austin, Smith has taken on a new fundraising role that changed the face of journalism in Texas. After nearly 18 years at Texas Monthly, he shifted gears to focus on The Texas Tribune, a sustainable nonprofit (nonpartisan) media brand, for which he’s raised more than $9 million. “I feel very lucky to do this work, I love it,” Smith says regarding the Tribune. “It’s my calling, the work of my life. There will never be another job that could give me more pride.”

Diana Claitor founder, Texas Jail Project “People are put off by jails,” says Claitor. “It’s hard to get sympathy.” Despite that, the work of Claitor’s organization has led to important steps in the Texas Legislature, most notably a law that ended the practice of shackling women inmates during childbirth. “Jails are not really to blame. We’re using them as an enormous dumping ground for all our problems.” Changing Texas county jails is a monumental task, but Claitor feels compelled. “We all assume that somebody else is taking care of things,” says Claitor, “but I’ve realized how much help people need that they’re not getting.”

Jennifer Esterline executive director, KDK Harman During the last legislative season, $5.4 billion in cuts was made to public education. To better understand the impact on Texas students, KDK Harman partnered with Frontera Strategy to create a consortium of education grantmakers. The initial project entails surveying all 1,100 Texas school districts, and the nonprofits that partner with them, to fill the void of information on how the districts and service providers responded to such drastic slashes in funding. “We think this data will help legislators make more informed decisions in the future when it comes to funding public education,” says Esterline. “Hopefully, the consortium will give education grantmakers a safe, legal avenue for foundation trustees to engage in the education policy space and be a resource to policymakers.”



Jose Velasquez founder of Hermanos de East Austin “Without my neighborhood, without my family, I’d be a shadow of a man,” says Velasquez, who can trace his family’s roots in Austin back to 1932. That’s why he’s so protective of East Austin, but not just its history—its future, too. What would Hermanos consider a success? “Having higher voter turnout, for one,” says Velasquez, “but also disabusing people of the mentality of ‘us versus them’. My mom didn’t raise me like that.”




ZACH Takes Center Stage This September, Austin will welcome ZACH’s new Topfer Theatre, part of a new performing arts campus for ZACH and certainly the jewel in its crown. Offering twice the seating of ZACH’s Kleberg Theatre, it will also feature a fly house and larger wings off the stage for large scenery, a trapped stage, an orchestra pit and the latest in lighting, video and sound technology. It will also offer patrons an exceptional theatre experience with a glorious outdoor plaza, skyline-view lobbies and more amenities than the old ZACH could begin to offer. continued on page 29 Summer 2012 27









Kate Stoker global campaigns and creative strategy, Dell “What I do at Dell is very driven, very results focused,” says Stoker. “So I balance that with things that are more meaningful.” For Stoker that means helping young women reach their full potential. Having leadership roles at Young Women’s Alliance has been a springboard for Kate, now a chair of the Leadership Austin Emerge program. “These organizations are very aligned with what motivates me,” says Stoker. “They’re about reaching your full potential and having an impact.”


Terri Broussard Williams chief lobbyist, American Heart Association’s Southwest Affiliate After managing the policy-changing efforts for one of the largest nonprofit advocacy organizations in the country – in six states – Williams has enough energy to take on leadership roles at organizations like Leadership Austin Emerge, The Junior League and the American Red Cross’ Club Red. Still, it’s her day job that gives her energy. “We work with volunteers who get to see a piece of paper become a law,” says Williams, who recently had success eliminating trans-fats from school lunches in Colorado. “They take their photo with the governor and they get tears in their eyes.”


Ky Harkey program coordinator, Texas Outdoor Family Program, TPWD “There are a lot of great reasons to spend time outdoors, and the research to back it up,” he says. “Spending time outdoors is a magic bullet of sorts, addressing everything from obesity to ADD to depression.” With a passion for nature that extends beyond his day job, Harkey sits on the advisory boards for the Children in Nature Collaborative of Austin and the Texas Children in Nature Network; he also started a regional chapter of the Natural Leaders Network in Austin.


David Courreges partner, Hay Compere, PLLC “A community of leaders working as one makes a seemingly impossible goal instantly realistic,” says Courreges. In addition to currently organizing the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division’s public service project “American Voter,” a voter awareness and education project, he’s co-chaired the Central Texas Wildfire Legal Response Team, in which he oversaw more than 100 attorneys providing free legal advice to victims of the September 2011 wildfires. “I hope to help others understand what opportunities are available to them,” he says. “That is what compels me to get involved and to stay involved.” 


Virginia Cumberbatch client services, Hahn Texas A native Austinite, Cumberbatch has a family legacy of community engagement. After recognizing a need for community innovators and passionate individuals of diverse backgrounds to have a platform and space for engagement and advocacy, Virginia assumed the task of re-launching the Austin Area Urban League Young Professionals program in 2010. By 2011 over 100 young professionals had joined her in the mission to raise the profile of the Austin Area Urban League and created a space to be community leaders, social advocates and a resource to young professionals of color. “My goal is to make sure we stay relevant to what Austin needs,” says Cumberbatch. “To me, it’s an honor to be in Austin.”


from page 27 Much of the credit for the new Topfer Theatre, of course, goes to the new theater’s namesake, Mort Topfer, a leading donor and a capital campaign co-chair. Reimagining ZACH for today’s Austin makes sense for Topfer, who realized long ago how a thriving arts scene could attract and retain creative, talented professionals. Since creating the Topfer Foundation, he has made sure that about 10 percent of its funding has gone to the arts. “I was very fortunate to have achieved financial success in Austin. This is our home,” says Topfer, a former executive at Dell. “It’s continued on page 31 Summer 2012 29







Monica Peraza president, MexNet Alliance and co-founder, Hispanic Alliance for Performing Arts When Peraza saw a need to teach and inspire Mexicans to start their own businesses, she founded MexNet Alliance in 2009 to offer entrepreneur classes in Spanish. “The results have been incredible,” she says. “We’ve seen people take our class and launch their businesses six months later.” Then in 2010, she partnered with Teresa Long to work magic in the Hispanic community again, this time to build more Hispanic advocates for the performing arts. One of its first projects was to create a student orchestra program at East Austin College Prep. “It’s transformed those kids,” says Peraza. And when they performed at Bates Hall in May, the audience was filled with Austin Hispanics. “I basically cry every time I see the results of what we’re doing,” she says.


Amanda Quraishi social media activist “I deliberately live my life in a way that makes filling out form fields on social media websites next to impossible,” so says Quraishi’s LinkedIn summary. Because while her title is web and database administrator at Mobile Loaves & Fishes, a nonprofit addressing homelessness, Quraishi is also an avid Muslim advocate, founding Central Texas Muslimaat for Muslim women and serving on the board of Interfaith Action of Central Texas representing Muslims. Last year she launched a mobile phone app, 365Muslim, that offers a fact a day about Muslims. “There’s a lot of misinformation from people trying to demonize the Muslim world,” says Quraishi. “The app tries to humanize us.” Her online work ties together the core of her personal mission, but there’s no five-year plan for what she’s trying to accomplish. “My life is my argument,” she says, borrowing from Albert Schweitzer. “That’s my goal.”


Karen Gross community director, Anti-Defamation League The mission of the ADL is fairly simple—to reduce hate and bigotry of all kinds. For two years, Gross has been working tirelessly to promote this message throughout Central Texas, and she’s responsible for some major changes and progress. “We’re working to protect and preserve a pluralistic society. When that falls to the wayside, bad things happen,” says Gross. “What we’re doing is critical, and I feel pride for getting to work for an organization with such a lofty mission.” Directly involved in the creation and development of the Austin/ Travis County Hate Crimes Initiative, Gross also conducts monthly law enforcement trainings, illustrating the importance of documenting hate crimes as such.


from page 29 very rewarding to give back to the community where you’ve achieved success.” He says he and his wife Bobbi look forward to the theatre’s first performance: Ragtime, a sweeping, coming-of-age musical about America in the early 20th century. What will make it even more special is that it will be an Austin production; almost everyone involved in the show will be from here. Artistic director Dave Steakley will lead. “At times there will be 40 people on stage and a 20-person orchestra,” says Topfer excitedly. “We could never have produced a show like this before.” Learn more at

Summer 2012 31

THE entrepreneurs







Erine Gray founder, Aunt Bertha “We live in such a generous country, that for any one need there are multiple organizations to help you,” says Gray. “But trying to find out which services exist and what you qualify for is often like looking for a needle in a haystack.” Through his own experiences with this issue, Gray saw a way he could help fix the problem. With a goal of creating the Yelp! of human services, he created Aunt Bertha, a website that compiles information on federal, state, county, city, neighborhood and charitable programs for those in need. With all the information in one searchable location, he’s simplified the process of matching people with the assistance programs available to them.

Bill Duffy Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, The Caring Cup Wristband Initiative Bill Duffy has taken a corporate entity and turned it into a grass roots community effort. His “Caring Cup Wristband Initiative” enables café customers to donate a minimum of $1 in exchange for a wristband that gives them 10 percent off all prepared beverage purchases for the month, and the proceeds from wristband sales go directly to a local nonprofit. “While most of the nonprofits have larger donors, [this program] is a great way to get their name and cause out to a larger audience that normally wouldn’t give,” says Duffy. To date, the program has raised more than $55,000 and sold more than 25,000 wristbands.

Jen Biddle founder, Texas Pie Kitchen & ZCDC Through her nonprofit, The Zephaniah Community Development Corporation, Biddle has started a job-training program that offers up sweet rewards to both the community and the people is was created to help. Geared toward low-income individuals experiencing barriers to employment, The Texas Pie Kitchen is Biddle’s innovative way of helping them find a creative way to become self-sufficient and make a living wage, she says. The mission of the ZCDC is to economically empower low-income people through small business development and mentoring projects. “Without job creation and placement,” says Biddle, “folks within these populations will remain under the poverty level.”

Jennifer Chenoweth founder, Generous Art Seeing a real disconnect with the traditional “silent-auction” approach to art’s role in philanthropy, Chenoweth came up with a business model that not only brought in substantial donations for nonprofits, but also provided artists with the opportunity to generate income from pieces of art they were unable to market due to limitations in dealer/gallery regulations. “I wouldn’t exist without the help of nonprofits, and this is a great way for me to give back,” she says. To date the program has sold more than 50 pieces of artwork, resulting in $6,000 to nonprofits and artists.





Summer 2012 33

THE recruiters








Marissa Vogel founder, Little Helping Hands “My family lives and breathes Little Helping Hands,” says Vogel. “And I think that’s mostly good.” Before Vogel created Little Helping Hands four years ago, no one was organizing volunteer opportunities for families with young children. Now Vogel has more than 800 families looking for projects. “It’s had a great impact on my kids because they get to get involved in the community and learn about what it takes to be an entrepreneur,” she says. Not to mention the impact it’s made on the children who volunteer. “We’re lucky to have a community that really supports our mission and wants to do volunteer work.”


Mike Hall senior editor, Texas Monthly Hall remembers watching the video from the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. “I kept thinking, ‘We gotta do something.’” As a musician himself, his first thought was “benefit concert.” So he called Willie Nelson. “I’d just interviewed him for a story, so I had his phone number.” Nelson headlined the 2005 concert, raising almost $500,000 for tsunami relief. So in 2001 when Hall saw the devastation being caused by the Central Texas wildfires, he picked up the phone again. “This time Willie knew,” says Hall, “and he’d been talking to Ray Benson.” Over the next few weeks, Hall and the crew put together one of the largest fundraising concerts in Texas history—more than $725,000, all for Central Texas. “The big lesson for me was, money counts. That’s what’s going to help people build their homes again.”


Courtney Clark co-founder, executive director, Austin Involved With a focus on those individuals just getting started on their philanthropic journey, Clark has helped develop a sort of “entry-level” philanthropy program. “Austin Involved enables young professionals to give a little time and money to a different non-profit each month,” says Clark. “When all that time and money is pulled together, it becomes something meaningful, and by the end of the year people have hopefully found a cause that matters to them.” Clark’s efforts with Austin Involved have helped generate more than 100 active new volunteers and monetary donors between the ages of 20 and 30.


Paige DeLeon & Lou Serna co-founders, Voluntology DeLeon and Serna know that volunteers can change a community. But leading teams of volunteers takes special skills. That’s why DeLeon and Serna partnered to create Voluntology, an innovative approach based on the principals of advocacy, education and impact. “Before an organization can engage volunteers, it needs a dynamic person in place to organize and manage them,” says DeLeon. Understanding that volunteer engagement is more than just setting hours and filling requests, Serna says volunteer roles must meet the mission of the organization while also meeting the interests, talents and stills of the volunteers. “We have to connect people to how their volunteering is making an impact,” says Serna. “We need to move beyond the number of hours and share the moments and reasons why we continue to volunteer.”


Summer 2012 35

By Juan Castillo photographs By jamie maldonado

hope and joy for nataly While their resilient parents struggle, Nataly and her ebullient sisters keep the family’s spirit afloat. Learn how to help this Central Texas family.

I sure didn’t expect all the giggling when I stepped into the cozy home of Alejandro Sanchez and his wife Patricia Escalera. But their four daughters are absolutely joyful, filling the home with hugs, playful elbow nudges and infectious giggles, the kind that the briefest glances among sisters can trigger. ¶ The girls’ silliness is the soundtrack to the Sanchez’s lives. The oldest, Alexis, 19, is a student at Austin Community College; Vividian, 16, and Nataly, 11, are in the middle; and Arely is the youngest, a 3-year-old, curly-haired, bouncing center of attention. “We’re, like, never in a bad mood,” says Vividian with a smile, as if pondering the thought that such a statement 36

is, well, just too good to be true. “We’re a happy family,” adds Alexis. Their sister, Nataly, would agree, though it’s hard to ignore the fact that her illness is taking its toll. On the sofa of her home in Round Rock, Nataly rests between chemotherapy treatments that have taken over the family’s life.

family in need

HOW TO HELP Donate online at To donate an in-kind item to the Sanchez family, contact The Care Communites at 512-459-5883. See the Sanchez family’s wish list on page 38.

Summer 2012 37


family in need

One night this past March, Nataly complained of excruciating stomach pain. Soon she and her parents learned the wrenching diagnosis: cancer. Since then, every three weeks, for five consecutive, arduous days, Nataly, without complaint, checks into a hospital, steeling herself for chemotherapy treatments. “She tries her best to endure the chemos,” Vividian says proudly of her little sister, “because they’re hard.” The diagnosis triggered a cruel circle of more hardships, which the family seems to handle by drawing even tighter. To care for Nataly full-time, Patricia quit her job in a Round Rock school cafeteria, the first time in 20 years she has not worked. Alejandro’s job as a janitor at an Austin hospital pays barely enough to cover the monthly $1,300 mortgage, he says. Then consumed by Nataly’s devastating illness and mounting medical bills, Patricia says she and Alejandro learned that they had amassed more than $6,000 in fines levied by their homeowners association because their lawn died. It wasn’t long before the Sanchezes fell behind on their mortgage, too. “This has all been so very hard,” Patricia says with a mother’s weariness. Patricia with the youngest of her girls, Arely, alongside Alexis, Nataly and Vividian. “This has all been so very hard,” says Partricia.

Humble, hard-workers and quietly driven to fend for themselves, the Sanchezes are not used to asking for a hand out. “I’ve always had at least two jobs,” Patricia adds pensively, “because that’s what it takes.” But just as Nataly’s illness turned their lives upside down without warning, the kindness strangers has jolted them, too, stirring their hearts to consider a possibility they did not know existed. With Nataly’s diagnosis social workers began helping the family. The Round Rock Ballet Folklorico, in which Nataly, an avid dancer belongs, held a benefit, raising $3,500. Nataly’s fellow students and teachers at Union Hill Elementary gave her a bed and small TV. The charitable organization Caring Communities donated food and a $200 gift card, and it continues to support the family’s non-medical needs. “To learn there are people who actually care enough to help someone they barely know or might not know at all,” Alexis says. “It’s helped so much.” The Sanchezes used the monetary donations to catch up on their bills and to buy grass for the front yard to avert more fines. “I just hope and pray that my little girl will get better,” Patricia says at the kitchen table in the family’s modest, three-bedroom, two-bath home, her ebullient daughters gathered around her. She fights back tears.

Soon infectious giggles lighten the mood. Nataly smiles. “She never loses the smile,” Alexis says. In June, the Sanchez family became a client of The Care Communities, a nonprofit that provides a “Care Team” of volunteers to offer practical, non-medical support to people

“There is nothing worse than going through cancer alone. Our staff and Care Team envelop the family in love, assuring them that someone in their community cares, and donations will help us meet some of the Sanchez family’s needs.” with a serious illness. Their social workers help clients obtain basic needs like food, housing, insurance and income assistance. Today, The Care Communities serves 80 families in Travis and Williamson Counties, using 475 volunteers. “Our role is to offer the Sanchez some help with errands, lawn care, light house cleaning… really, whatever support they need to make their lives easier as they focus on getting Nataly better,” says executive director Carol Johnson. “There is nothing worse than going through cancer alone. Our staff and Care Team envelop the family in love, assuring them that someone in their community cares. “Donations to Care Communities will help us meet some of the needs of the Sanchez family,” says Johnson, “and hopefully some of our other clients, too.”

Working with the nonprofit Care Commmunities, GivingCity identified some ways to help the Sanchez family Help paying medical bills for Nataly • mortgage payments assistance • utility assistance • home owners association fees assistance • tuition assistance for Alexis • grocery store, restaurant and gas cards • new bedding and pillows for king-, double- and full-sized beds • chemical-free sunscreen and personal products for Nataly • shoes and clothing for girls, ages 3, 11, 16 and 19 • personal products and makeup for girls • hair appointment for mother • gift cards, movie passes, books, videos and fun items to occupy girls in the summer Please donate at

Summer 2012 39

GIVING I DE A S community services

faith and philanthropy

b e tt e r

At what point does a conviction become a calling? Allen Sockwell: “The demands of my job limited the integration of my faith and work life.”

Are my philanthropic efforts a labor of my own ambition or a part of my Christ-calling? Is there and should there be a division of church and state in my life? I know I’m not the only person struggling with these questions. And at least one organization is working on getting answers. Allen Sockwell spent decades at companies like IBM, Compaq and AMD before launching his own enterprise, Sockwell Performance Advisors last year. Today he also serves on the business council of Austin Bridge Builders 40

Alliance, a partnership among churches to equip individuals, churches and communities to live on a mission. Sockwell’s role at ABBA is to help businesses find pathways to an integrated life. “One of the reasons that I left my job is that the demands of the job (as a senior executive at a public company) limited the integration of my faith and work life,” says Sockwell. “It compartmentalized my life. I wasn’t as free as I wanted to be about sharing my faith at work.” He notes that most of our life is lived outside

the church or place of worship, and that’s precisely where the opportunity to act out our faith and respond to the needs of the community resides. “God has used my resume, experiences and influence leading up to now to build bridges from the community to resources,” says Sockwell. “Businesses are where the resources, money and talent are, and if we point it towards the needs of the city, we eradicate the needs.” ABBA’s latest movement called “In the City For the City” is a collaboration among

churches to enlighten those outside the church about its role, says Dania Heffington, assistant executive director of ABBA. “When we started ABBA we wanted to break down the walls of isolation and division among churches, between the church and the business world, and between the church and the community.” The In the City For the City movement, then, is to share that message with those outside church. “We are here to ask, ‘Who is thinking about taking care of the city?’ If we as Christians are to live from the words of God, then our biblical mandate is to seek the community’s welfare.” Learn more at

ph o t o g r aph by j a m i e Ma l d o na d o

giv e

By Virginia Cumberbatch


directory A short directory of businesses that give back. Below is our growing list of communityminded, for-profit and nonprofit businesses that support GivingCity. APPTIVISTS has aligned with the most popular online shopping sites to offer users a way to give a portion of the sales to the charities of their choice. HelpAttack Help Attack offers you a chance to pledge a certain amount to your chosen charity every time you tweet. Hotels for Hope Every time you book a room with Hotels for Hope, $2 is given to local charities. Kimbia Creates online fundraising and event management tools for nonprofits. MiniDonations Empower your spare change to help out the community in many different ways through your Mini Donations account. SPONSORS/VENUES Center 61 A new coworking community for social entrepreneurs and nonprofits. Chuy’s Authentically Austin, offering Tex-Mex food since 1982, and giving back with the Chuy’s Hotto-Trot 5K and Children Giving to Children Parade.

lection of specialty coffees and whole leaf teas to Austin, giving back to a local charity every month. Hat Creek Burgers This Austin business make feeding the homeless its business, too. Watch for their Mobile Loaves & Fishes truck around town. Molotov Located conveniently on West 6th, Molotov welcomes your fundraising event. NONPROFIT SERVICES Apex Auctions Victoria Gutierrez offers invaluable input on running an auction, and hiring her will do wonders for your nonprofit event. Affinity Interactive Group A boutique interactive marketing agency based out of Austin, specializing in online advocacy, content strategy and cause-related marketing. Giving Program provides in-kind gifts in the form of discounts and total donations of its products.

Cultural Strategies Cultural Strategies is a marketing and advertising consulting firm that will give your business or organization an advantage in an increasingly Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf multicultural America. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf brings its diverse se-

Greenlights for Nonprofit Success Greenlights strengthens nonprofits for extraordinary performance and impact. Knox-Woollard Professional Management KWPM employs their expertise in the management field and team of skilled professionals to provide a cost-effective and efficient opportunity for organizations to meet their goals.

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES Alt Creative Alt Creative donates 10% of the profits from all custom web design projects to charity. INNU Salon Innu is a community-minded salon offering a full-range of services.

GiveRealty By donating 25% of their commission to the nonprofit of your choice, Give Realty makes a huge impact on the community while Purple Dot Events Event still providing you with planning for nonprofits exceptional service. that creates memorable, impactful expressions of your mission. RETAILERS Touch of Sass An accessory store specializing in Qtego Helping nonprofit jewelry, bags, and giving silent auctions raise back. more money - and keep raising money - via phone texting. When you purchase art from, Ridgewood Ingeyou select a nonprofit nious Communication organization to support Strategies Working with from a list of beneficiacommunity-minded ries or supply an alterclients, Ridgewood is nate nonprofit. a public relations firm that enables organizaWhole Earth Provision Co. tions to reach out to the A specialty retailer offerpublic more effectively. ing a broad array of ucts that engage those who seek to learn about, Seeds for Change experience and preserve Whether you’re planour home planet. WholeEning a gala, stirring up donors, or establishing a budget, Seeds of Change If you’d like to be considered for the Giving City Austin Directory, please contact will work with you to boost your nonprofit with Angela Roark at or 512-203-3882. their impressive staff of professionals. Summer 2012 41

GIVING I DE A S great events

By Jennifer Modesett

BEST EVENTS BREAKDOWN No doubt about it, Austin makes serious money on events. We asked organizers of some of the biggest and brightest events in town to share the results of their big fundraisers. How do your events stack up?


when / where


gross proceeds auction

Dell Children’s Hospital

Dell Children’s Gala

January 28, 2012 Convention Center Grand Ballroom



live, silent

CASA of Travis County

CASAblanca Gala

February 11, 2012 Hyatt Regency Hotel



live and silent

Eanes Foundation

“One” Eanes Education Foundation Gala

February 25, 2012 Renaissance Hotel



live, super silent and silent

Ronald McDonald House

Bandana Ball

March 31, 2012 Wild Onion Ranch



live, silent and big board

Seton Foundation

Evening Under the Stars

April 21, 2012 WAYA



live, silent

Children’s Museum


May 12, 2012 Historic Browning Hangar at Mueller



live, silent

Long Center

Purple Party, Long Center’s 4th Anniversary

April 28, 2012 Long Center

dinner -190 show - 1,100


live, silent

March of Dimes

Signature Chefs Austin

October 6, 2011 The Driskill Hotel



live, big board

Austin Children’s Shelter

A Season of Dance

October 22, 2011 Hilton Hotel





LifeWorks Laying The Groundwork Luncheon (inaugural)/ White Party

460 / 725 March 27, 2012 / May 25, 2012 Sooch Foundation Youth & Family Resource Center for LifeWorks / The Long Center

$457,000 / $127,800

none / none

Ballet Austin

Fete and fete*ish

September 21, 2012 The Driskill Hotel (2011, The W Hotel)



(anticipated for 2012 Event)


220 / 250

giv e


other revenue

what makes event special?

band and casino

“Fund-the-Vision,” raffle, “Miracle Book”

Attention to details like David Kurio décor, Ilios lighting design, and exclusive auction packages, all in the context of heartfelt stories from patients and their families.

romantic guitar music, casino games


Inspires guests by honoring leaders like Judge Darlene Byrne and Gigi Edwards Bryant, and by celebrating the powerful difference that CASA volunteers make in the lives of abused and neglected children.

The Loose Wheels (high school band), Radio Star

“Raise Your Hand to Fund a Teacher,” games

One not only raises money for EISD, but brings Westlake community together for friendship and fun.

The Spazmatics

wine toss, sponsor-afamily “paddles up”

A fun, energetic, non-tuxedo gala held at one of Austin’s most beautiful private ranches. Cowboys, dancing, bull riding and supporting RMHC Austin makes for an incredible evening!

Chris Austin Martinez, Randy Travis, DJ Hear No Evil

raffle, wine toss

An outdoor, casual, fun event that is held in the heart of Central Austin. Features live entertainment and raises money for the Sister Gertrude Levy Endowment for the Poor.

DJ Dolomike

“paddles up”

Puts the fun in fundraiser, and mirrors the youthful energy of Austin Children’s Museum in unique relaxed setting that makes for perfect parent’s night out.

pianist for dinner, show entertainment

VIP dinner, show tickets

Post-show concert with live music by Sauce with dancing, trailer food and free drinks for show patrons.

Matt Wilson Band


Austin’s premier food-centered fundraiser! We get the best chefs together to provide an unmatched, exceptional culinary experience.

Blue Lapis Light Dancers, Spazmatics, The Dance Spot, Reverence Dance Project, belly dancers, DJ Hear No Evil

raffle, “paddles up”

With a unique theme annually, guests experience a heartfelt connection to the mission during an elegant, fun-filled evening where everyone is a VIP.

none / DJ Manny

none / raffle

The luncheon: A 100 percent mission-focused event with a client profiled to help community understand the important work done at LifeWorks each day. The White Party: A fun, chic themed event that combines all the elements of a great party—delicious food, flowing drinks, great music and supports an important local nonprofit.

Mandy Sauderdale, others to be announced (2011, Kurt Eiling)

raffle, possible wine toss, more to be announced

Hailed as Austin’s “Best Black Tie” by the Statesman, Fete kicks off Austin’s gala season to celebrate Ballet Austin’s Golden Anniversary in decadent, Victorian style.

Summer 2012 43

b e tt e r

While some in the community argue that nonprofit fundraising events are a waste of effort and money, it’s hard to deny that they are an important tool in a fundraiser’s belt. Missy Stritmatter, event coordinator for Ronald McDonald House Charities runs a tight ship when tracking her event revenue. “My job is to make sure we always come out on top.”


By Allison Khoury

getting to yes Austin nonprofits say yes to more training for fund raising work.

Almost 30 large nonprofit organizations responded to the survey sponsored by The Funding Forum. Most respondents said they’d attend a project development or grant-writing training in Austin if it was offered free of charge. If you’re interested in attending a contact Dianne Aigaki at dianneaigaki@

Demographics Main Issues Represented Children and Youth: 51% Housing and Homelessness: 25.9% Community Development and Renewal: 25% Size of Organization $100,000 - $499,999: 18% $500,000 - $999,999: 21% $1,000,000 and up: 46% Project Development 50% rate their agency’s project development capacity as good. 30% rate their agency’s project development capacity as average to fair. 88% feel that they need training in project development. Grant-Writing 50% rate their agency’s grantwriting capacity as good. 40% rate their agency’s grantwriting capacity as average to poor. 78% feel that they need training in grant-writing. Attend 89% would attend a free training if it were offered in Austin. 44

As nonprofit organizations continue to seek the most effective fundraising strategies, one training organization knows the merits of an age-old solution: training. The company is called The Funding Forum, a consultancy firm that has trained nonprofits all over the world since 1992. They hold a five-day training for grant-writing and project development planning— nothing unique there. It’s what they do in the five days that’s remarkable. “What we do in the five days is intense,” says founder Dianne Aigaki. “Each nonprofit writes a 10- to 30-page project proposal complete with needs assessment research, performancebased objectives, implementation plans, evaluation plans, project sustainability strategies and budgets. When people walk out, they have a completed project plan, grant proposal, and two-page proposal letter in their hands. They don’t have to face the hard part alone.” The Funding Forum is one of the only training firms to provide this level of one-on-one assistance. A training program with 30 non-

profits is supported by 6 editors during the day and 6 additional editors reading the proposals at night—all while being led by Aigaki, a grant writing veteran with 35 years’ experience. “It couldn’t happen without the trained editors,” says Aigaki. “They’ve written thousands of grants between them and have worked in the nonprofit sector for years—at all levels. They help the participants bring out the best of their vision and cut to the chase articulating it in their project plan and proposal.” And the effort pays off, as 89 percent of the nonprofits that come out of the training have received full or partial funding. “We hear the phrase ‘Teach them to fish’ all the time. It’s more like ‘Teach them to write a master’s thesis that will raise millions of dollars,” says Aigaki. “And teach them in five days.” Aigaki and her team first survey a community to determine if there is a need for training before approaching funders. Not surprisingly, many nonprofits raise their hand. This spring, the Funding Forum sponsored

a survey with GivingCity Austin to assess the need for more training. They learned that 88 percent of the respondents said they needed training on project development. Also, 78 percent said they needed training on grant-writing. “The two go hand in hand,” says Aigaki. “Proposal writing without a solid project plan is a recipe for mediocrity when, and if, funding comes through.” Which brings us to another unique aspect of The Funding Forum—they work to get the trainings underwritten so non-profits can attend for free. Often non-profits serve the poorest of the poor and provide services free of charge. No surprise they feel they can’t afford to attend, because it will take needed dollars from a project’s budget. So they’re stuck in between the proverbial rock and a hard place. “Nonprofits have a critical role in solving the world’s problems,“ says Aigaki. “Investing in this kind of training is one the best things donors can do to uplift the whole nonprofit sector.” Learn more


giv e

By Monica Williams

partners for youth

b e tt e r

A collaboration among agencies helps more Austin youth get medical assistance with behavioral issues.

ph o t o g r aph by Ja m i e Ma l d o na d o

The SPS team: Annahita Varahrami, Oscar Roussett and Vanessa Staley of LifeWorks

For years, young clients identified as needing psychiatric services waited three to six months for an evaluation. That doesn’t even count hurdles like insurance, transportation and prescription access. If their families needed help, too, there was little to be done. Now LifeWorks, Communities in Schools and SafePlace share a

resource for troubled clients, thanks to support and funding from St. David’s Foundation. Thanks to the new program, Annahita Varahrami, the program’s director, says, Shared Psychiatric Services’ clients are seeing a three to four week turnaround from agency referral to evaluation. So far, more than 200 people have received medical help.

“With three agencies tapping into SPS, we’re able to use this resource more efficiently,” says Varahrami. Because staff can expedite these services, even parents and other family members are being referred and evaluated. SPS also connects clients with insurance programs like InsureA-Kid, Medicaid or Central Health’s Medical Access Program for low-income families. Program Highlights: “A number of kids are dealing with a range of Uses social services model issues, such as ADHD or that scales to help more depression, that interfere clients referred from three with their ability to be agencies successful in school and Offers bus and taxi vouchat home,” says Wendy ers to help clients make Varnell, LifeWorks chief appointments program officer. Partnership with H-E-B Being a collaboration is helps get client prescripone of its strengths, says tions filled more efficiently Varnell. “We have more Program includes support breadth. Each agency for first few months of has a similar approach medication to our work with clients, Bilingual staff helps imso coming together creprove access to services ated a lot of enthusiasm Separately funded and hope for addressing organization evaluates an unmet need.” Learn more at

collaboration Summer 2012 45

GIVING I DE A S profile


b e tt e r

Maria Farahani finds inspiration in Austin to help the people of her native land in Nicaragua.

Before opening the clinic, the Farahanis helped with food for the hungry, educational opportunities for young people and assistance for elder care in Maria’s native community.


In the mountainous rain forests surrounding Matagalpa, Nicaragua, coffee farming is an intrinsic part of the culture. Maria Farahani was born into one of these coffee-growing families. “We had been producing coffee for three generations when I was born, and we lived a comfortable life with running water, electricity and telephone,” Farahani says. “But many around us were

very poor. That made a big impression on me, and from that time I always wanted to do something to make a difference.” In 1975, Farahani left Nicaragua for college, to attend the University of Texas at Austin where she met her husband, Manny. Together they purchased the coffee farms she’d known as a child and today they roast and sell those “direct-trade” beans at Fara Coffee in Austin. But for the Farahanis, this was not just about coffee. They had a further mission: to provide needed resources for the people of the Matagalpa area. The need was great, especially for medical care: Cervical cancer is the number-one killer of women over 30 in Nicaragua, and vascular disease is also a debilitating problem among impoverished laborers who work on their feet all day. While meeting with local health authorities and nonprofits Austin Samaritans and Grounds for Health, the idea of opening a badly needed health clinic was conceived. Working with local ties and resources,

the Farahanis created the Fara Foundation and opened the Fara Clinic at the end of 2010. “Already it’s become the main referral hub for cervical cancer patients in the entire area,” Farahani reports. “It’s also become a resource for women who need regular health care, and for anyone in the region.” The clinic charges about $1.25 per visit to a doctor or dentist, and operates a cervical cancer outreach program to women in rural areas. Five medical facilities in the Matagalpa area now referr women to the Fara Clinic for cervical cancer screenings or treatment. Using Austin as her home base, Farahani has found that Austinites have embraced Fara Coffee, which in turn helps finance the foundation. “We live between two worlds,” she explains. “One where there are so many resources, medical advances and people with big caring hearts; and another where they also have a big heart but have extremely limited resources. By creating Fara Foundation we are building a bridge between the two.” Learn more at

ph o t o g r aph by kii m wi l l is

giv e

by Shelley Seale

"We chose Kimbia because of their proven work with nonprofits and our interest in increasing online fundraising – and they delivered on all fronts."

Jim Pacey Vice President of Development YMCA of Austin

Flexible Fundraising and Event Management Solutions

Jim Pacey, YMCA of Austin Loyal Kimbia Customer

The YMCA is the nation’s leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. If you've participated in the YMCA of Austin’s annual giving campaign, entitled Partner of Youth, you've experienced a Kimbia powered fundraising campaign.

Austin's best kept secret for nonprofit fundraising, Kimbia provides flexible and easy-to-use fundraising and event management solutions. Call us today to learn more about our fundraising tools for local Austin nonprofits. 512.474.4447

Summer 2012 47

IN ZACH’S NEW TOPFER THEATRE! This is your moment to be an important part of ZACH’s history. We’re offering you the unique opportunity to have a seat plaque inscribed with your name, or any name of your choice. It’s a special way to honor your family, another relative or a friend. Your seat plaque can also showcase your business or community group, or honor one of ZACH’s talented theatre artists.

Act now to have your seat named in time for the 2012 Topfer Gala Events! September 27 starring Johnny Mathis September 29 starring Brian Stokes Mitchell To name your seat today, contact: Jessie Pitluk, Campaign Associate EMAIL: PHONE: (512) 476-0594 x 430

Names engraved on striking black metal plaques will be a lasting legacy and will remind future audiences of your commitment that makes their theatre experience possible.








Rendering: Andersson • Wise Architects Pictured: Actor Martin Burke Photos:

Learn more at • Offices: 512-476-0594 • Tickets: 512-476-0541 x1


GivingCity Austin Summer 2012