Austin Area Foundation continues seeking growth

Published 9:35 am Monday, November 17, 2014

by Jeff Baldus

Austin Area Foundation Executive Director

After six months under my belt at The Austin Area Foundation, my admiration and appreciation continues to grow for all the ways that this outstanding foundation and its donors and supporters contribute tremendously to the betterment of our community. And yet, I believe we need to be doing much more in order to meet the needs and challenges facing so many in our area, particularly at this time.

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In recent months, our Foundation’s board has been asking itself several important and strategic questions, like:

• How can AAF better serve the growing needs, challenges, and opportunities within the area?

• How can AAF become a more proactive “change agent” and community leadership organization?

• How can AAF act as a catalyst and/or conduit for attracting and leveraging more funding and resources towards critical quality of life and nonprofit needs within the area?

One answer to these questions that we are currently pursuing is to initiate and develop a “Basic Needs Endowment Fund.” Our foundation is leading the effort to establish and grow this fund so that we may have a lasting impact on the quality of life with-in the area. This newly launched collaborative (with the help of the Hormel Foundation) is aimed at strengthening the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors via improved coordination, funding, capacity-building, and advocacy. This important and ambitious effort is only one of several new developments and initiatives at the Foundation aimed at producing new answers to these core fundamental strategic questions.

Please do not hesitate to share your own questions, ideas and suggestions with me or our Board regarding our Foundation. Listening to our donors, grantees, advisors, partners and community is absolutely vital to keeping us focused on pursuing the most important work and initiatives for the benefit of our area.

Finally, I am pleased to announce some good news and results for 2014. AAF is particularly proud that we will award $19,000 in grants to Austin non-profit organizations. A press release will be forthcoming in the near future announcing these grantees. We can’t thank our donors, supporters, partners, advisors, and agencies enough for their generosity at a time when the needs in our area are so great.