Understanding Austin: How Philanthropy Can Help Our City Learn, Work and Thrive

An initiative of Austin Community Foundation in collaboration with Leadership Austin, KLRU, The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life and the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at The University of Texas at Austin.

Understanding Austin

Whether you arrived in Central Texas a decade ago, last week or have always called this home, you love this place. You also worry about the challenges our growth has created and exposed. It will take everyone who cares about our community to play their part in tackling these challenges in creative, sustainable and meaningful ways.  At the Foundation we believe that if we can understand our community better, and our neighbors better, we have a better chance of understanding the solutions to our challenges.

An Opportunity for Philanthropy

So that’s why we are launching Understanding Austin, a new way to learn about our city and region. Through this collaboration we will measure and better understand the overall engagement and sustainability of our community. Through the Understanding Austin collaboration, we aim to foster data-informed public dialogue, track progress on civic goals and report on needs and opportunities.

Among the Understanding Austin collaborators is the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at The University of Texas at Austin which leads the Austin Area Sustainability Indicators project. This data initiative reports 128 region-wide indicators of community sustainability and is built on a 15-year effort that allows for interesting analysis of trends during this period of tremendous growth and change. 

Based on the Austin Area Sustainability Indicators, we have selected four major areas of opportunity for philanthropy:

Encouragingly, these are areas in which the Foundation and our fundholders are already involved. Yet philanthropy can’t solve these issues alone. Collaboration, advocacy and education are also key to achieve the community we desire. So, Understanding Austin will also include:

  • Learn - A series of educational opportunities 
  • Work - New community-wide collaborations
  • Thrive - Grantmaking and co-investing in local solutions

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Understanding Austin

Take Action Now! 

  • Join us! The Austin Leadership Fund takes a strategic collaborative approach to build a thriving community.
  • Invest in women and children and lift the whole community. Join the Women’s Fund
  • Dive deeper. Learn more at the Austin Area Sustainability Indicators project.