There are many things to be proud of in Austin, but our level of philanthropy — the art of giving for the good of the community — is not one of them.
Today, Austin ranks 32nd on the list of philanthropic giving in the nation's top 50 metro areas. That may not seem like good news until you learn we are up 16 spots over the last five years; we were 48th.
I Live Here, I Give Here was formed to battle that number. Since its founding five years ago, you could say the organization has been pretty successful, but No. 32 is still not where Austin is used to being when it comes to lists of cool stuff.
So get ready for Amplify Austin, a massive 24-hour festival of giving slated for March 4 - 5, 2013 in Austin and all of our surrounding counties. The goal is outstanding: raise one million dollars in one day, online.
It's been done with great success in other cities, now it's Austin's turn. I Live Here, I Give Here kicked off the six-month awareness campaign Wednesday afternoon at City Hall with Mayor Lee Leffingwell.
"There are too many unmet needs still in our community, too many people who need your help," he explained. "There is no cause more deserving than to support the nonprofit organizations that help support our city."
"We plan to mobilize 8,000 philanthropists, donating to over 300 non-profits," said Patsy Woods Martin, Executive Director and Founder of I Live Here, I Give Here. "And we are more than one-third there. We’re exactly six months away from the big day and it’s time for the community to step up and really engage.” Consequently they are asking for ambassadors to help spread the word and get more nonprofit organizations involved.
"We are building an army of advocates and ambassadors who will reach out to their networks in support of the cause of philanthropy," said Evan Smith who is leading the Ambassador program. "We need to build new philanthropists along the way," he continued, "and we are harnessing the tools of technology to solve problems. That is what Austin is all about. This is an online giving day."
Already $118,000 has been raised, or at least promised, by corporations like University Federal Credit Union, which created an incentive pool with $100,000 to be donated pro rata to every nonprofit earning more than $100.
If you really want to get fired up for the event, or just want a heart-warming smile at the moment, check out the wonderful Amplify Austin video produced by Onion Creek Productions.
Amplify Austin will begin at 7 p.m. March 4, 2013 and continue through 7 p.m. March 5, 2013. If you would like to get involved beyond giving money next spring, you can find more information on the website.