Central Texas’ ‘one-stop shop’ for philanthropy
In a city with as many worthy causes as Austin, choosing which nonprofits to support can be daunting. Prospective donors can use Austin Community Foundation to make philanthropy easier.
Since 1977, ACF has connected donors with causes by setting up scholarships and grants for nonprofits throughout Central Texas and the world. From education to cancer research, ACF has distributed nearly $100 million in assets and is making a permanent mark on the needs of the Austin community.
“Our mission is to foster philanthropy for the lasting good of the community,” said Jeff Garvey, president and CEO of ACF. “The organization is all about philanthropy, not only in facilitating people giving money, but directing them as to where they should have their funds invested. We are focused on trying to educate on the value and the obligation to give money.”
Garvey is the newest addition to ACF. He became president and CEO in June and officially started the new chapter of his philanthropic career July 5.
Garvey co-founded Austin Ventures, one of the largest venture capital firms in the United States.
His true passion is philanthropy.
“In 1996, I was still a general partner and just happened to meet this young man—Lance Armstrong—who was as bald as I am today, but for very different reason: He had just come off his final regimen of chemotherapy,” Garvey said. “We were neighbors but had never met one another, and he had this notion of starting a cancer foundation but nothing beyond that.”
Garvey became founding chairman of The Lance Armstrong Foundation. The foundation, now known as Livestrong, went on to become one of the largest nonprofits in the world and has raised more than $400 million to date toward cancer research.
Although still involved with Livestrong, Garvey wanted to expand the breadth of his philanthropy. ACF’s mission caught his attention.
“We are an incredible one-stop shop option for those who want to give money,” he said. “Some people know specifically what they want to give to, lots of people know generally, and some people don’t have any idea what they want to give to. We can help the whole spectrum.”
Potential donors can create an online account, similar to online banking, where they can monitor their money and get advice and feedback on nonprofits from ACF’s 12-member staff.
“How we give grants is a reflection of the people who have their money with us, the people who are the donors and the fund holders. That is what is going to help us create a legacy,” ACF Communications Director Monica Williams said. “We adapt to the needs of what our donors want. It varies year to year.”
With budget cuts creating education concerns throughout Texas, education grants and scholarships are a very important part of their work, Williams said.
“People are looking for ways to give and fund scholarships or however they feel they can make an impact,” she said.
Austin Community Foundation
4315 Guadalupe St., Ste. 300