January 11: Next issue, next Givers Ball

Jan 11 Givers BallThe more I talk to people about Texas’ looming budget shortfall (projected to be between $14 and $24 billion) and its inevitable crushing of Austin – not just of local nonprofits because of the surge in demand and drop in support, but also of the local economy as state employees start to lose their jobs – the more I learn about it, the angrier I get.

But anger, fear and the related emotions are not productive reactions to the mess we’re in. So in that regard, the next issue of GivingCity Austin will offer productive, actionable things we can do to prepare and (maybe) avoid some of the devastation.

This issue is for Austinites who complain about the mess AND work to do something about it. So, you.

The launch of a new issue also gives us an opportunity to celebrate you, and specifically, the young and professional organizations that introduce philanthropy and civic engagement to hundreds of Austinites, usually over drinks and networking. Thank you.

Keep an eye out for the new issue announcement on January 11 (also first day of session), and join us that night for the Givers Ball. We’ve invited more than 30 YPOs, and we’re going to stir them up.

GivingCity Austin Givers Ball
January 11, 2011
6 – 8 pm
El Sol y La Luna
6th & Red River
Food, drinks and a special announcement
about our New Philanthropists issue

RSVP on Facebook

Not on Facebook? RSVP here.

Thanks to Austin Community Foundation

The fundraising event calendar for Austin

We’re happy to partner with Laura Villagran Johnson and Kevin Smothers of Austin Social Planner to create THE fundraising event calendar for Austin.

Actually, I’m not doing much. Laura and Kevin and team created this amazing platform with Austin Social Planner, and GivingCity Austin is just directing folks to use it. I get lots of “can you please list my event” requests, but without a calendar on which to list them, I couldn’t really fulfill that request. So here’s the answer.

Austin Social Planner is simple yet robust, fun yet thorough, and geared especially for those non-Chronicle type events that seem to fall off other calendars so often. Please check it out, and PLEASE list your fundraising event on this calendar.

Thanks! ALSO, please add our event to your calendar: The next GivingCity Givers Ball is 1/11/11 at El Sol y La Luna! I can’t wait to see you all again.

SAT DEC 11: Because toys make children happy, people

Look at these photos. Just look.

Did I tell you about the time I got the Barbie Dream House? It was amazing. I adore(d) Barbies, and getting that Dream House is one of my favorite memories — never mind that my grandmother actually pulled it out of a trash can to give to me.

I don’t mean to get sappy on you, because for me that’s still a happy memory. There’s no other way I would have ever had the Barbie Dream House; it just wasn’t in the budget for my family, you know? The point is, toys make a difference to kids. And YOU can help make that difference to kids this Saturday.

This Saturday is the 13th Annual River City Youth Foundation “Merry Memories” holiday event in Dove Springs, a community just southeast of Austin. More than 95% of the children living in Dove Springs receive federally subsidized lunch. (So in other words, ALL of them.) If they can’t afford lunch, what kind of Christmas do you think they’re going to have?

Here’s how you can help:

DONATE TOYS

VOLUNTEER TO SORT TOYS

Merry Memories

13th Annual Toy Give-Away

WHERE

Dove Springs Recreation Center
5801 Ainez Dr, Austin, TX 78744

WHEN

Sorting of toys starting at 9 a.m. Event runs from 12-3 PM

Individuals and groups welcome!

To donate or volunteer contact
Oné Musel-Gilley (pronounced onay)
(512) 576-0219
PR@rivercityyouth.org
or Mona Gonzalez at (512) 633-9708

We’re on The Huffington Post!

A story about Rain appeared in the latest issue of 12 Baskets magazine. Photo by Austin photographer Jessica Attie

So grateful to Andrew Shapter for making us the subject of his latest blog post for The Huffington Post. See it here: “Need Inspiration to Give? Read Stories, Not Statistics.”

In that post, he writes about how stories rather than statistics inspire people to give. And he uses the two magazines I produce – GivingCity Austin and 12 Baskets for Mobile Loaves & Fishes – as an example of that.

Our goal has always been to highlight and help grow a culture of philanthropy in Austin. With 12 Baskets, we get to share the stories of area homeless people and the good folks who are trying to help them. With GivingCity we call out the good works people are doing in Austin and offer ways for you to get involved, too.

Please share these magazines via email, social media, word of mouth with whomever you think might need a little inspiration to give right now.

Thank you for your continued support!

Get shopping, save Christmas. An Austin family needs you.

Foundation Communities family

The Tolfree family, helped by Foundation Communities.

PROBLEM:

More than 2,000 Austin families will consider “canceling Christmas” this year because they can’t afford the toys, gifts or even food to celebrate.

SOLUTION:

You or your company can adopt a family and save Christmas.

It’s simple. Just visit Foundation Communities to download a family sponsorship form, fill it in to let them know what size family you’d like to sponsor, etc.

Send in your family sponsorship form by Thursday, December 9.

This is your chance to be a hero, folks. Your donation goes straight to the families with the most need, and you can spend as much or as little as you want. Foundation Communities offers lots of gift ideas for each person in the family, so this is a easy, fun way to share the joy of the season.

And if you’ve ever seen a child on Christmas morning opening a present and seeing exactly the toy they asked Santa for…  Seriously, it will make your whole year.

What I love about Foundation Communities is that they have an amazing way of helping not just families with the most need but Austin overall because they’re repurposing empty hotels and apartments and condos into affordable housing that helps get families off the streets. They also give them a leg-up offering classes, training, community daycare and other services that give families a solid base for success.

So I don’t feel bad about pulling out my marketing copywriting hat to sell this opportunity to you.

Get the form & sponsor a family here.

Send in the sponsorship form by December 9.

Get your co-workers, employees, and family involved.

Save Christmas!

(Want to donate single items? See here for drop-off locations and drop them off before December 18!)


PS: For more opportunities to give this holiday, see our “75 Ways to Give” in GivingCity Austin Issue #5. Because once you start giving, you’re not going to be able to stop.

When I win the lottery, I promise to act like a grown-up

If you win, can I have some?

I may be a grown-up (ahem), but I still like to daydream about winning the lottery.

A few years ago, before the husband and kids, I would have daydreamed about how I’d spend all that money in a totally different way. Here’s how I would have spent the millions had I won back then:

I would have started with a Louis Vuitton Speedy for everyday, an Hermes Birkin for when I wanted to make an impression, a navy-blue BMW 5-Series, a Cartier bracelet, a trip to Auckland or Hong Kong or Paris or all three… Frankly, I could go on. But for good measure, I also thought it would have been nice to get my entire family out of whatever debt they were in and help a few friends start their own businesses. Things like that. Most of it pointless, some of it actually not selfish.

But recently I realized I was daydreaming differently about how I’d spend those millions. And it was much more fun. I now daydream about how I would give that money away.

First I’d get my entire family out of debt and make sure no one had to pay for college, ever. Then I would indeed help a couple of friends start or grow their own business. That would be fun.

But then I’d start an endowment fund at the Austin Community Foundation, something like the one started by Georgia B. Lucas. She gave ACF $5 million in 1995 and her fund has grown to $15 million today. Since its inception, her fund has made grants of $8 million to more than 200 Central Texas nonprofits.

How fun would that be? To be able to fund the projects and programs having a positive impact on the community needs you care about the most. While you’re alive and even long after your dead.

Now, I don’t play the lottery because I’m good enough at math to know when the odds are against me. I’m also good enough to know a good deal when I see one, and an endowment fund at the community foundation is a safe bet.

And that’s what makes me think maybe I am kind of “mature” after all. Me, daydreaming about starting an endowment fund? What next, am I going to stop laughing at people when they fall down?