For the past seven days, five area non-profits have been vying for the chance to be featured at the June 19 grand opening celebration of Whole Foods Market's new store at The Shops at Arbor Trails. The competition proved once again that Austinites care about their non-profits and will do anything to see their favorite ones win.
Nearly eight thousand votes were cast during the week long Culture Poll hosted on the CultureMap website. The competing organizations included Austin Pets Alive, Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary, Sustainable Food Center, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and Southwest Family YMCA.
Austin Pets Alive dominated the competition early in the week but on Wednesday the tides turned and supporters of Lady Bird Johnson's Wildflower Center stepped up their game beginning a tug of war for the top spot. Each used the power of Facebook, Twitter and email to call their fans to action.
Both non-profits received approximately three thousand votes, but the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center managed to get 137 more to secure the win. The Wildflower Center will take home one percent of total sales during Whole Foods Market's grand opening celebration on June 19, which is expected to bring in a crowd.
It was no surprise that Austin Pets Alive did so well in this competition. They have a huge fan base (30,355 Facebook fans alone) and a cause (saving adorable animals) that just about everyone supports. While the Wildflower Center is one of the most beautiful attractions in Austin, it doesn't garner the same amount of attention but definitely deserves a spot in the limelight.
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, located in South Austin, was created in 1982 by Lady Bird Johnson and actress Helen Hayes. Both women had a passion for native plants and natural landscapes. They founded the organization with the goal of preserving and protecting both.
What you probably don't know is that there is a true need for this kind of preservation. According to the Wildflower Center's website, 30 percent of the world's native flora is at risk of extinction. The center aims to prevent extinction of the flora with research and advocacy.
Part of their advocacy efforts include simply introducing people to the diverse wildflowers and native plants that exist. If you haven't already, take a walk through the Wildflower Center’s gardens which includes a beautiful display of native plants from the Central Texas Hill Country, South and West Texas.
While the Wildflower Center won the Whole Foods Market Culture Poll, all the organizations will benefit: During the four days after its grand opening, Whole Foods Market will donate one percent of total sales to the other organizations too. In this game, everyone wins!
Whole Foods Market has not announced which day each non-profit will benefit. More details about their grand opening week will be available soon here.