Keyholder17: A Night of Inspiration and Investment in Women and Children

Did you know that nearly 40 percent of Austin-area single mothers and their children live in poverty compared to only 10 percent of the general population? 

This is just one of the startling statistics discussed at Keyholder17, an annual event hosted by the Women’s Fund at Austin Community Foundation. More than 400 people attended Keyholder17 held on Dec. 5 at ZACH’s Topfer Theatre, raising over $253,000 for the Women’s Fund, which focuses on improving the lives of women and children in our community. If you’d like to join the Women’s Fund, click here to learn more and invest.

Presented by U.S. Trust/Bank of America, Keyholder17 was an inspiring night led by a thought-provoking and witty address by MJ Hegar, a Purple Heart-decorated pilot, and the soldier who challenged a discriminatory military policy and won women the right to serve on the front lines for the first time. Hegar is also the author of the best-selling memoir Shoot Like a Girl and the inspiration for a soon-to-be major motion picture

“She is the key!” said Hegar describing her mother--and her hero--who moved across the country with two daughters to flee a domestic violence abuser and worked three jobs to provide a good life for her girls. Hegar believes when women stand up for themselves, our whole community thrives.

After Hegar’s keynote address, leaders of the Women’s Fund unveiled a renewed focus that includes four pillars to improving the economic security of women and children: housing, education, child care and teen pregnancy prevention.

Additionally, Austin Community Foundation released Women’s Issues are Community Issues, a new report on the status of women and children in Central Texas.

“Recent research shows that less than nine percent of private philanthropy in the U.S. is devoted to supporting programs specifically targeting women and girls. If 60 percent of those in poverty are women, as our newest report reveals, that nine percent is insufficient in meeting the overall need in Central Texas,” Meagan Anderson Longley, vice president of community impact at Austin Community Foundation, said. “Investment in the Women’s Fund is more critical than ever.”

The evening concluded with stimulating conversations, tunes by DJ I Wanna Be Her and an after-party with champagne and cake pops.

Special thanks to our lead sponsors: U.S Trust/Bank of America; Anita & Scot Salmon; Jessica & Greg Weaver; Fayruz Benyousef; Jolynn Free; Gita Lal; MFI Foundation; Edie Rogat; Strangeworks; Kerry Tate; Carrie Frugé Walker; Sara Levy; Nancy Mutscher; Mellie Price & Elizabeth Myers; Cherisse Robison & Mike Nellis; Kimberly Storin & Bernd Lienhard; SKG; Carla Piñeyro Sublett; and Kirstin Voinis.