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By Beth Goff-McMillan, Oscar Gonzalez and Terry P. Mitchell 

Guests enjoying homemade empanadas by Buenos Aires Cafe, a family-owned Argentinian restaurant in East Austin.

Crafting the Austin in Common experience was a first-of-its-kind endeavor for us Host Committee Chairs. Almost a year of meticulous planning went into transforming vision to reality—yet nothing could have prepared us for the sense of unity, shared purpose and positive energy palpable in the room that evening. For those who couldn’t attend, or for anyone wishing to simply relive the occasion, here’s a glimpse into this truly unforgettable (and sold-out!) event.

On April 30th, nearly 700 community members gathered at ACL Live Moody Theater to support an equitable future for all of Central Texas. Throughout the night, guests enjoyed a diverse array of experiences showcasing the vibrant spirit of Austin—including performances by DJ Mel, Amanda Kitchens’ Trio, and Mariachi Amor; video and photo opportunities; and delicious food from local vendors, including Bigg Belly BBQ, Buenos Aires Cafe, Frios Gourmet Pops, Graze Craze, JP’s Pancake Company, Loro, and Pueblo Viejo 

Attendees standing up to meet each other during the program.

When conceptualizing the guest experience, curating a space that felt welcoming and inclusive for all corners of our community was paramount. We wanted the feel of Austin in Common to mirror the vibrancy of Austin itself. This intention guided decisions like partnering with vendors that are primarily BIPOC- and woman-owned, and opting for open seating; no VIPs, no reserved tables, no assigned seats. As attendees representing a diverse spectrum of backgrounds, industries and interests flooded the room, the atmosphere we had envisioned for so long really came to life. It was truly wonderful to see so many new faces in addition to so many familiar ones. If you joined us, it’s our sincere hope you met someone new that night, too!  

A highlight of the evening was hearing from four exceptional leaders in our community. Storytelling served as an important part of the evening’s programming because, as CEO of Austin PBS, Luis Patiño, shared, “Stories connect us, bridge divides, and center our humanity.” We‘re honored to have shared the stage with these storytellers: Matias Segura, superintendent of Austin Independent School District serving over 74,000 students, the next generation of Austinites; Regina Estrada, co-owner of Joe’s Bakery, a family-owned restaurant that has been serving East Austin since 1962; Jennine “DOC” Krueger, mother, writer, public speaker and educator at Huston-Tillotson University who has also competed in world, national, and local slam poetry competitions; and Fran Harris, entrepreneur, sportscaster, and former professional basketball player who began her career captaining UT Austin’s championship winning team in 1986.  

From left to right: Matias Segura, Regina Estrada, Jennine “DOC” Krueger and Fran Harris at Austin in Common standing in front of the iconic Austin City Limits backdrop, courtesy of Austin PBS.

Each shared personal stories and unique insights into the future they envision for Central Texas, as well as the realities of living, working, and raising families in a city thatas were sure many of you are already awarehas undergone substantial change in recent decades, and will continue to do so. While growth oftentimes brings with it positive developments and new opportunities, it can also present challenges for affordability and quality of life, particularly for historically underserved groups. Austin Community Foundation recognizes this, and is committed to mobilizing ideas and resources through data, research and community voice to close the opportunity gap in Central Texas. 

On that evening, and in the days following, those passionate about making a positive impact on the future of our region donated to Austin Community Foundation. Thanks to our partners at the Tejemos Foundation, every gift was tripled—meaning a generous donation of $100 multiplied to provide $300 worth of impact! All funds raised from Austin in Common will be re-invested back into the community through ACF’s impact work which focuses on the most pressing issues in our region: advancing economic mobility through strategic grantmaking programs like The Black Fund, Hispanic Impact Fund, and Women’s Fund.

From left to right: Austin in Common Host Committee Chairs, Terry P. Mitchell, Beth Goff-McMillan and Oscar Gonzalez

Austin in Common, like most of the Foundation’s work, is only made possible through the generosity, diligence and passion of the many involved. We are grateful to our amazing Host Committee for being such tireless advocates of ACF. We express thanks to the ACF Board of Governors, particularly Susan Moore, Board Chair; Jessica Weaver, honorary Chair of Austin in Common; and Mike Nellis, CEO. There would also have been no event without our generous sponsors. We extend our gratitude to Q2, as well as to each and every individual, business, and foundation that sees the value in ACF’s strategy for closing the opportunity gap in Central Texas, and leverages them as their trusted partner in philanthropy.

Just like Matias, Regina, DOC, and Fran, each of you reading this holds your own unique story. While we may all have different paths that led us to Austin, or to the event on a Tuesday night, what unites us is this beautiful city we call home. The story of Austin is still being written, and we invite you to be a part of its chapters. Join us in building a brighter, more equitable future for all of Central Texas, together—because we all have Austin in Common. 



Terry P. Mitchell, Oscar Gonzalez and Beth Goff-McMillan are part of the Steering Committees for The Black Fund, Hispanic Impact Fund, and Women’s Fund, respectively.