Austin Charity Challenge 2016
Charity Profile

Austin Food & Wine Alliance cultivates local culinary scene through fun and dynamic initiatives

AFWA cultivates Austin culinary scene through fun, dynamic initiatives

Rock Your Taco Austin Food & Wine Festival Underbelly
Austin Food & Wine Alliance uses grants, educational programming, and events to raise awareness about culinary innovation. Photo courtesy of Austin Food & Wine Festival

Editor's note: CultureMap is committed to shining a light on Austin-area nonprofits and their impact on our community. So, we're launching the first-ever CultureMap Austin Charity Challenge, highlighting deserving local organizations — one of which will become our charity partner for 2016 based on readers' votes. Get to know one of our eight finalists, the Austin Food & Wine Alliance.

Austin garners a lot of praise for vibrant, creative fare and the good times that tend to roll along with it. One organization dedicated to growing and maintaining that reputation is the Austin Food & Wine Alliance (AFWA).

The nonprofit organization uses grants, educational programming, and events to raise awareness about innovation in the culinary community. Originally conceived as The Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival 26 years ago, the program evolved into a nonprofit in support of the rich culinary community it helped to cultivate.

Most notable among the many services AFWA provides to the community is the annual Culinary Arts and Career Conference. An event hosting over 500 area high school students, this conference links current professionals to the future generation, providing classes, information, and inspiration.

So how can the Austin Food & Wine Alliance afford to do so much? With celebrations, of course! Proceeds from the can't-miss Austin Food & Wine Festival benefit the organization. In addition, the annual Live Fire! event features favorite local chefs getting creative with beef, a pillar of Texan cuisine. And Wine & Swine, which just celebrated five years, features an authentic pig roast and, of course, top Texan wines. AFWA uses fun events to bolster an already dynamic community of food and drink.

Vote now for the Austin Food & Wine Alliance — or any of the other worthy local nonprofits — in the CultureMap Charity Challenge running through December 30. A winner will be announced January 5, 2016, and will receive a CultureMap advertising package worth $10,000.