Amplify Austin 2015: Countdown to Giving
For 24 hours, Austin gives like it means it
By Blake McCoy,
11:00AM, Tue. Feb. 24, 2015
Mistletoe and jangly bells may be a few calendar pages back, but giving season has just begun in Central Texas. How do we know? Amplify Austin says so. Loud and clear.
In the two years it's been running its annual give-a-thon, Amplify Austin has raised approximately $8.5 million for local nonprofits, from well-known, broadly scoped heavy hitters like AIDS Services of Austin, Austin Pets Alive!, Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, and HAAM, to groups with specific, focused missions like the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association, Out Youth, Esquina Tango, Drive a Senior, and hundreds more.
“The entire nonprofit community seems to be embracing the celebratory feeling," says umbrella organization I Live Here I Give Here Executive Director Tom Spencer. “We are a genuine marketplace of local causes. Aside from its local focus, what sets Amplify Austin apart is its impact.” In 2014, 498 organizations joined in. This year, 520 organizations are set to participate in what has become, according to Spencer, “a kind of ACL fest of generosity.”
Beginning at 6pm sharp on March 5, Amplify Austin will remain in full swing for 24 hours, through March 6, 6pm, accepting and matching donations, and rewarding Austin nonprofits with hourly Bass Booster prizes (awarded to nonprofits that raise the most dollars or had the most donors in a one-hour period) as well as grand prizes for the four organizations that demonstrate the most profitability within the 24-hour period. “New donors are a huge plus for the nonprofit community," Spencer explains, "and some organizations are now planning their fundraising calendars around Amplify Austin.”
This year participants can anticipate a few changes, including the option to set up a payment for an organization of their choice ahead of time, which will then be matched by sponsors during the 24-hour period using incentive dollars. Moreover, contributors now have the ability to give to as many organizations as they would like to by adding them to their individual carts, allowing them to make specified donations ($10 minimum) to the nonprofits of their choice in a one-time payment. Individuals and businesses may also make recurring payments and even become fundraisers for their favorite nonprofits by registering online, where they can track the progress of their favorite organizations via Amplify Austin’s online leaderboard.
Keeping with the program's Austin music theme, new initiative Art X Amplify (the "X" is pronounced "by," like the X in SXSW) celebrates the induction of Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with artwork created for purchase during Amplify Austin. Artist Tim Wakefield will manipulate digital soundwaves from the band's beloved hit, “Texas Flood” to create visual art that members Tommy Shannon, Chris Layton, and Reese Wynans will sign. "Half of the proceeds from the prints sold," says Spencer, "will benefit Amplify Austin.”
Other incentives, parties, and special events will be popping up throughout the 2015 Amplify season to encourage folks to join in the giving spirit. The Amplify website will begin listing these soon; we'll keep you up-to-date with information as it becomes available.
Stay tuned to our Amplify Austin 2015 series at austinchronicle.com/daily for developing details on all things Amp'd.