What We Do: Making a Local Impact

We believe Austin belongs to all of us and everyone deserves opportunity. As our region balances on an inflection point of growth and change, we are focusing our work and leadership on closing the opportunity gap through research, pooled resources and data-driven grantmaking.

We are Data-Driven

We commission research to understand the areas of greatest need and opportunity to close the opportunity gap in Central Texas.  We identify opportunity areas where together we can make a real difference. Examples of this strategy are:

Understanding Austin - We provide reports and analysis on community needs in collaboration with the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at The University of Texas at Austin.

Austin Area Funders - We convene Central Texas philanthropic foundations and funders to learn about our community's most pressing needs and emerging trends in philanthropy as well as to network with their peers. 

We Convene Conversations

We are a place for convening conversations about the shared vision we have for Austin and Central Texas. We bring together people, resources and ideas. Here are some examples of this strategy: 

Hispanic Impact Fund - We believe that when you support the economic security and advancement of Hispanic Central Texans, everyone benefits. The Hispanic Impact Fund leverages the assets, resilience and strength of our Latino community to invest in nonprofit and social enterprise solutions.

Women’s Fund - We believe that when women are economically secure, safe, and healthy, then families and communities thrive. The Women’s Fund employs a data-driven approach to grantmaking, educational programming and leadership development.

Austin Leadership Fund - The Austin Leadership Fund supports our local change-making work focused on closing the opportunity gap in Central Texas. The Austin Leadership Fund supports our role as a gathering place for people who believe in our region's abundant resources, capacity and will to shape the future. 

We Invest in Austin

We use data and ideas to make philanthropic investments to make Austin better.

Charitable solutions - We help donors simplify their giving and multiply their impact through charitable solutions and services. We also provide opportunities for donors to focus their impact, learning about and giving to the areas they care about most.

Community grantmaking - We believe that our greatest impact happens when we come together, pooling our resources.  We offer our fundholders the opportunity to learn about and give to local nonprofits working in the impact areas that they care about the most. Since 1977, we've granted more than $300 million in Central Texas, across the country and globally, mostly through our donor-directed funds. 

Impact investing - We are putting a greater portion of our assets to work doing social good in our community. We invest in areas like increasing access to capital and fair financial products and increasing the number of affordable housing units to help close the opportunity gap in Central Texas.

We Keep it Local

We believe that we have the resources, capacity and will to shape Austin's future. Here are examples of ways we go beyond our basic strategies to foster and preserve local resources:

Bright Leaf Preserve – This 216-acre nature preserve in the center of Austin provides free guided hikes to Central Texas school children and families to teach earth sciences, preserve natural space for native species and provide sanctuary for all.

Fiscal Sponsorships - By offering this alternative to starting a nonprofit organization, we provide a cost effective way for individuals or coalitions to implement new programs and test new approaches for social change in our community. 

Highland Lakes Legacy Fund – This family of funds at the Foundation fosters giving in Marble Falls, Horseshoe Bay and surrounding communities.

Jewish Foundation of Austin & Central Texas – Guided by Jewish values and the individual interests of donors, this family of funds provides an opportunity for the Shalom Austin community members to make a lasting impact through philanthropy in the name of the Jewish community in Austin and around the world.