Making the World a Better Place for Everyone

With a busy young family, Micaelan and Graham Davis value efficiency and effectiveness. The couple is also deeply committed to community service and has always set aside a meaningful percentage of their income to donate to charity. 

As a University of Texas student, Graham started a nonprofit linking UT students to East Austin needs. He left Austin to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School, then returned to join, a job search site headquartered here. When Indeed was acquired in 2012, he and his wife Micaelan found themselves with a small windfall. They wanted to minimize their tax burden and also wanted to spread their giving over time. The Austin Community Foundation provided a vehicle to do just that.

"We live relatively simple lives," says Graham, "and feel like we don't need many material things to be happy. We get more joy from contributing to causes that make the world a better place for everyone than we would by spending that same money on incremental material gain for ourselves. We believe people are truly happiest when they're serving others."

The couple continues to enjoy tax planning benefits by making automatic contributions to the fund. That gives them the freedom to make grants whenever they feel compelled to do so—some years more, some years less.

Another reason they chose to open a donor advised fund at the Foundation is to maximize their giving through investment. They also enjoy the ease of tax reporting (all their tax deductible contributions are through their fund so they have just one gift to report on taxes), and the ease of grant-making which do online.

"My hope for Austin is that we will lead the world on major issues, like climate change," says Graham, "by creating and adopting innovative technologies and policies. Austin was one of the early adopters of policies like the indoor smoking ban and banning plastic bags in grocery stores. I hope our community continues to lead in making the world a better place."