(Re)Introducing GivingCity Austin

It was almost exactly three years ago that I wrote the first blog post for GivingCity Austin. A few months later I started messing around on Twitter, then we launched our first digital issue, then a Facebook page and suddenly I was calling Evan Smith to write an article for the magazine … as if I had any idea what I was doing.

Luckily, GivingCity had a few guiding principles (and the best designer in Austin) on its side. Among those guiding principles were these:

1. People like stories. Of course, people like infographics, databases, reports, charts, graphs, lists and I hear some weirdos enjoy Excel pivot tables. But nothing inspires, intrigues and connects people like a story does. And thanks to the Internets, there are a million more ways to tell a story.

2. Magazines can support communities. I love the way Tribeza supports the community of Austinites who love fashion; how Edible Austin supports local foodies; how AustinFit supports people who look great in workout clothes. The trick to making a magazine that supports a community is in the editing — or what they call “curating” these days. Curated, targeted and relevant content can foster shared affinities. And again, the wonderful Internets is a great place to grow a magazine.

3. Austinites want to help, it’s just hard for us to fit it into our lives. But I think the same city that can support magazines about fashion, foodies and fitness can also support a magazine about philanthropy. Because as Austinites, we truly have a passion for making our city one of the country’s best places to live.

I’m glad Torquil Dewar felt the same way. He’s a sucker for magazines, like I am, but he has the rare ability to turn a bunch of copy and pictures into an “experience.”  Plus, he’s made more digital magazines than just about any designer in the country. And it helps that he apparently doesn’t sleep.

GivingCity had always been a labor of love. I hate that phrase, but there’s no better way to say it. We put our own personal resources into it and have never seen anywhere near a profit, but that’s not what it was about for us. What kept us going was the creative freedom and, more than that, your support. Unfortunately, between the day jobs, the kids, the other freelance work, we had to stop producing the magazine. On our list of priorities — namely our families and our need for steady incomes — GivingCity just didn’t make the cut.

Now after four issues, hundreds of blog and Facebook posts, thousands of Tweets, and lots and lots of caffeine, we’re very proud to say that GivingCity has found a home.

The Austin Community Foundation has decided to support GivingCity Austin as part of its mission to grow a culture of generosity and philanthropy in Central Texas. The good people there have hired us to produce GivingCity Austin just the way we’ve produced it in the past as a service to the community. GivingCity Austin’s mission won’t change much; it will include stories from all over the community, not just ACF; and we’ll continue to distribute it digitally to our audience, ACF’s audience and whomever else wants it, free. Look for the first issue this fall.

In addition to this, on July 1, I’ll become the Austin Community Foundation’s first ever communications director, which I’m over the moon about. The Austin Community Foundation has a truly amazing story to tell. They are one of the pillars of the philanthropic community in Austin, and it will be my mission to tell more Central Texans about the important services and support it provides.

Seth Godin says we should “delight and overwhelm” our true fans, and that’s what we’re going to aim to do. Yes, GivingCity Austin is about bringing new people to the philanthropy community, but when we make it, we think of you — those of you who are already plugged in and looking for more, those of you who have told us this is exactly what you’ve been looking for, and those of you who’ve emailed, called, commented, friended, liked, re-Tweeted, #FFd and all the other means you’ve used to keep us on the right path.

Thank you so much, a thank you especially to ACF. Look for major improvements in the coming year, and, as always, let us know what you think.

15 Responses

  1. HOORAY! Congratulations and best wishes; it’s a perfect combination!

  2. Fantastic news Monica, congratulations to you and Torquil. Sometimes blood, sweat, tears…and gallons of coffee (or Irn Bru) pays off! We are all the richer for it.

  3. Congrats Monica. That’s great to hear. I can’t wait to read the next issue.

  4. I’m really excited about this development, and can’t wait to see what you are able to bring to the Austin Community Foundation! Congrats.

  5. Congrats to you and Torquil! I’ve proudly added you to my blog roll and look forward to the next issue.

  6. Thanks, you guys. ACF is the perfect home for GivingCity, but we couldn’t have done any of this without your feedback and support.

  7. Super glad to hear this! I think it’s a great fit as well. Seriously good to see.

  8. Awesome! Glad your back.

  9. Thrilled beyond words that you’ve secured funding and you’re back FOR GOOD!

  10. Monica says to GivingCity Austin, “Por tu maldito Amor!” Bam bam bam!

    Awesome Monica! Yes, I am in awe of you! (cc John Turner). You’ve worked hard and shown you’re passion and love to this community. And now with some real support (ACF) and are off to continue publishing el mejor-est magazine de todo el mundo!

    Congrats y Adelante!

  11. Congrats! We love Giving City!! Yea ACF!

  12. That just makes perfect sense all around. What a great fit. Thanks for your persistence.

  13. I say this to my friends about you and your brother and sisters and our grandkids – you make us proud every day.

    I read every word of this “re-issue”, and I cried because of the content and because of your beautiful mind and heart to put this forward.

    Congratulations, Mija. We love you.

  14. Congratulations, Monica. I just found out you got sponsored by Austin Community Foundation and are going to be able to continue GivingCity Austin. It’s been 8 months since we had lunch together and discussed our respective publishing ventures. The Austin Bulldog has been up and running since April 1, and now I find you’re back in the game, too. Terrific! I look forward to reading many, many more issues of GivingCity Austin!

  15. Ken, congratulations on Austin Bulldog. I think about our meeting often, and try to keep in mind all of the advice you shared. Austin’s lucky to have committed journalists like you, and everyone should check out the remarkable reporting and writing going on at Austin Bulldog: http://www.theaustinbulldog.org/

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