More Austinites giving time and money
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Most people have a limited money pot for philanthropy. Charities understand that limitation and encourage potential donors to be intentional with their giving.
On average, about one fifth of a nonprofit's budget comes from donations. Member dues, fees and government money make up the rest.
Most executive directors know they can spread 'Austin's 2 cents on giving' through word of mouth, and by working to inspire those who are often right in front of them.
In 1987, John and Samia Joseph met volunteering at Dell Children's Hospital. More than 20 years later, they're still entertaining kids receiving treatments for blood disorders and cancer.
"If you see the kids, you get it," Samia said.
The Josephs hope those who haven't visited the children at Dell Children’s Hospital will still understand their needs and will give more than their time.
"I found that the easiest thing to do was to write a check, and I thought it would be better if I could write a check and volunteer. She felt the same way," John said.
The couple is now involved in helping these kids and their families. This spring, after 23 years giving young patients moments of goofiness and distraction, the couple took their goodwill a step further.
Knowing only money could address certain issues, the Josephs launched Superhero Kids.
"We're trying to address those quality of life issues and sometimes the monetary value is very, very small, but the impact on the family is just gigantic," John said.
The money can go a long way. For example, it can pay to fix a parent's flat tire so they can continue getting to and from the hospital.
Samia and John admitted they knew most of the people at the spring launch of Superhero Kids' in Downtown Austin. They know it's going to take work to introduce the mission to those outside their circles.
Pamela Madere attended the kickoff event and knows giving goes back to being informed, knowing your community and its needs.
"Education, knowledge and really getting that first-hand involvement and really knowing that impact of what you give, whether it's a little bit or whether it's a lot," she said.
Patsy Woods would probably agree with Madere. She founded 'I Live Here, I Give Here' and works nonstop to make the public aware of the needs in hopes of compelling them to give locally.
"We're trying to jump start or grow that culture of sharing our financial resources, just as generously as we do our time and talent," she said.
Other issues and behaviors present problems in the city’s philanthropic environment. John Henry McDonald of Austin Asset Management spoke to the type of money in Austin. He knows the savings and spending habits of the city's new found wealth.
It's about making giving a part of your life at any age. To do that, nonprofits work to address Austin's large young population and its outlook on giving.
"I believe as they grow older, they'll start doing what we did and that is to volunteer and give their money," John Joseph said.
John and Samia Joseph represent that vital transition of volunteer-turned-donor. This transition needs to happen to secure Austin’s philanthropic future.
Austin is an active city. While we've highlighted a few philanthropic pioneers, like the Josephs, you don't have to start your own charity to address a cause. In fact, it's not often encouraged.
If you're new to town, do your research on what programs and groups are out there. Get talking and seek out the needs. It's not often easy for the missions to find you. Investing in your community creates new wealth, enriching 'Austin's 2 cents on giving.'