Kick Start Your Heart
Amplify Austin seeks to boost charitable giving
By Brandon Watson, 11:22AM, Fri. Mar. 1
With charity functions scheduled every weekend, hybrids plastered with bumper stickers, and every available bulletin board covered in a bricolage of appeals; one might think that Austin nonprofits are rolling in dough.
After all, this is a community obsessed with all things local -- breathing the mantra of "community" more than "om." If you can't part with your hard-earned greenbacks, the thinking goes, your neighbor is probably making up the difference. Or at least they'll do their best to make you think they are.
I Live Here, I Give Here's Amplify Austin event is hoping its first ever "giving festival" will be paved with more than good intentions. The 24-hour event aspires to raise $1 million in donations for more than 300 participating charities. Amplify sponsors University Federal Credit Union and the Austin Community Foundation are adding $160,000 in matching funds to sweeten the pot, and hourly prizes will be given to top fundraisers. And since no telethon is complete without a few musical performances, random donors will be selected to receive in-person serenades from area musicians.
Recently central Texas charities have taken a few gut punches. In July of last year, United Way for Greater Austin cut $1.2 million in donations to area non-profits. State budgetary cuts, including to HIV/AIDS services and women's health programs, have left many organizations scrambling. Amplify is hoping that the low entry-point for donations and competitive leader boards will help make up the difference.