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By Mike Nellis

It’s been an unexpected and uncertain year in Austin and beyond. 2020 has been full of unprecedented challenges, but also extraordinary generosity. At Austin Community Foundation, it is a great privilege to partner with our community of donors and deploy resources expeditiously to organizations working on the frontlines of this pandemic. We have worked tirelessly to convene people, pool resources and help tackle the big issues.

At the forefront of our work are the priorities defined in our 5-year strategic plan. Over the past year, these priorities have become clearer and more evident–the pandemic has only exacerbated existing inequities in Central Texas. Thankfully, we had been laying the groundwork to make our community a better place for everyone long before we heard of COVID-19. Throughout 2020, we have been busy …

  • Partnering with Entrepreneurs Foundation and United Way for Greater Austin to coordinate two relief funds, Stand with Austin and All Together ATX, respectively, that have deployed more than $8 million to support overwhelmed food pantries, medical care and mental-health services, struggling small business owners and much more;
  • Working with our donors to meet this moment of immense need and increase donor advised fund grantmaking by 60% (compared to the same time last year);
  • Growing our impact investing program, FundATX, and investing nearly $2 million in affordable housing developments in Austin through innovative partnerships with corporate and nonprofit organizations;
  • Increasing grantmaking by 61% from our two signature programs, the Women’s Fund and the Hispanic Impact Fund, because women and Latinos have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19;
  • Listening, learning and acting to ensure equity is at the forefront of our grantmaking and organizational practices.

Together, we have made great progress, but we know there is still much more to do. ACF is YOUR community foundation and our impact is only as strong as the commitment from donors like you. If you are able, please consider making an investment in our people and our work by contributing to our annual fund.

As this year comes to a close, I wanted to share my appreciation for everyone who has donated to, advocated for and partnered with us this year. From everyone at ACF, we wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy holiday season.

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