As of April 2015 Austin Gives officially became a program of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce in order to meet the demand for expansion and growth of the business community’s commitment to giving back. The idea of creating a business recognition program came as a result of a Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce leadership best practices trip to Minneapolis-St. Paul in 2010.
The 100+ delegation from Central Texas learned about the Keystone Program, the Twin Cities’ business philanthropy recognition program, which had been in existence since 1987. This program found that the key element of increasing overall giving was to annually recognize businesses that contribute a minimum designated percentage of profits to community based charitable organizations.
Knowing that Austinites too, can be very philanthropic, we wanted to incent and encourage Austin businesses to be generous in their support of our community. Thanks to Eric Webber of McGarrah Jessee, we were able to survey local Austin businesses and, based on their responses, the Austin version of Keystone was born. Austin Gives was formed through the collaboration of three community minded organizations:
- Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce
- Entrepreneurs Foundation of Central Texas
- United Way for Greater Austin
Each of these organizations plays a unique role in building business philanthropy. Austin Gives’ focus, in particular, is recognition and honoring of that business philanthropy.
Jennifer Stevens – President & CEO, JHL Company and Rocca Productions
Austin Gives Council Chair
“When a business shows a commitment to giving back it is not only doing good for the community but also for the company’s brand. Employees are increasingly attracted to companies that value and encourage community involvement and clients enjoy doing business with organizations that care about more than just their bottom line. Plus, it just simply is the right thing to do.” www.jhlcompany.com www.shoprocca.com
Steve Visser – President, Workplace Resource
Austin Gives Council – Immediate Past Chair
“Workplace Resource believes business should have purpose. Having a positive impact on the communities in which we live is integral to our purpose as an organization. We support the non-profits who provide invaluable and much needed services. Simply put, giving matters!” www.hmwrasa.com
Bobby Jenkins – President, ABC Home and Commercial Services and past chair of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce
Austin Gives Council – Founding Chair
“Our business thrives because of the wonderful community that is Austin and I can’t think of anything more gratifying than being able to give back to the community so that it’s a great place to live for everyone.”www.abchomeandcommercial.com
Debbie Bresette – President, United Way for Greater Austin
“UWATX supports any initiatives that give more companies and individuals the opportunity to be philanthropists” http://www.unitedwayaustin.org/
Leigh Christie – Director, Entrepreneurs Foundation Central Texas
“Giving back to our community is good business, and I’m thrilled to support an organization that highlights businesses doing just that … working hard to make a difference in our communities”. www.amplifyaustin.org
Debbie Johnson – Principal, Successful Giving
“Business philanthropy does so many things: attracts and retains employees, builds company reputation and brand, develops employee skills, increases revenues … but as importantly, it improves the community so that we ALL have a better place to live.” www.successfulgiving.com
Ed Kargbo – President, Yellow Cab Austin
“As a local company that has the fortune of such a great community, we deem it vital to share our success with our customers and their passengers. We learn their needs that way and thus we’re able to serve them better. It really is a wonderful cycle, a never ending reciprocal process of giving, getting, and giving again.” www.yellowcabaustin.com
Kathleen Lucente – President & Founder, Red Fan Communications
“I am continuously impressed with Austin’s business leaders who are making the city a better place to live and work by integrating local business philanthropy into their company cultures,” said Lucente. “Being a part of Austin Gives, which celebrates local companies of all sizes that embrace philanthropy, is truly an honor, and I am excited to contribute to Austin Gives’ growth and success.” http://redfancommunications.com/
Curtis Page – Managing Director, Higginbotham
“Our community is the foundation of our business. It is the home of our employees, the epicenter of our clients and the birthplace of up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Nurturing these groups through philanthropy in turn provides businesses with stronger workforces, more growth opportunities and better exposure. They have contributed greatly to our success, and we feel a responsibility to give back not only monetarily, but also through contributing time and talent to worthy social service organizations”. http://www.higginbotham.net/
Mike Rollins – President, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce
Austin Gives Founder
“Business philanthropy is a barometer that resonates among communities of the future that attract knowledge-based businesses, highly talented workforces and families. Austin area businesses have a tradition of giving back to our community and Austin Gives is the program that allows us to celebrate our community’s unsung business philanthropists.” www.austinchamber.com
Lisa Trahan – Director of Communications, St. David’s Foundation
At St. David’s Foundation, we believe good health returns great benefits to the community. As a philanthropic organization with a unique partnership with St. David’s HealthCare, we are able to invest millions annually to help improve the health of our neighbors. We believe a culture of giving back helps create a vibrant and healthy community for everyone.
David Tripoli – Operating Partner of Truluck’s
Our businesses do better when our community does better. We can all grow and prosper together. As customers choose who to do business with, they will most likely choose those who give back to our community.
We live in Austin, we give in Austin.
Beth Krueger – Director, Austin Gives
“It’s so simple: philanthropy is a key to rooting people in a community. As business leaders we want the employees we recruit and invest in to be rooted in our community and proud of being a part of our business; we want the customers, vendors and industries we do business with to be rooted in our community and to share a comparable dedication to that community and we need the people of our community to know we are committed to the success of the entire community. Austin Gives helps us demonstrate that we are rooted in this community.”