66% of Austinites feel uninformed about the issues.
89% say they would give to a specific need in the community.

Why We’re Here

I Live Here, I Give Here’s mission is to deepen and expand the culture of personal philanthropy by inspiring Central Texans to invest more money in our community. We educate and connect individuals and non-profits so more Central Texans experience the personal benefit of increased philanthropy.

I Live Here, I Give Here’s mission is to deepen and expand the culture of personal philanthropy by inspiring Central Texans to invest more money in our community. We educate and connect individuals and non-profits so more Central Texans experience the personal benefit of increased philanthropy.

Did you know that according to a study done by The Chronicle of Philanthropy in 2012, Austin is ranked 32nd out of the 50 largest cities in the nation in per capita charitable giving? This is a big improvement over our ranking at the beginning of the 21st century when we ranked 48, but there is still a lot of room for growth!

Austin is a vibrant city with a personality all its own. Central Texans are passionate, driven, and generous volunteers of their time and talent. But that’s not enough. The biggest problem facing Austin Nonprofits is there is not enough money.

Our community is well known for cherishing its environment and local businesses, its time to nurture our home-grown nonprofits in the same way!

We depend on our nonprofits to meet so many of the Austin's most basic needs; but the shortage of funds for these organizations is creating large gaps in services.

This is where I Live Here, I Give Here steps in. Our main purpose is to connect people like YOU with the issues you care about and the Nonprofits that support them.

I Live Here, I Give Here is proud of the work we have accomplished since our launch in 2007. We connect the people of Austin with the causes they care about.

We partner with nonprofit groups so they can be more accessible to you. We spotlight specific needs in Austin every month to let you know how you can help.

Please check out our Programs and get to know our Board Members and Staff!



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Catch And Release

by Carisa Bommarito Muñoz
April 29, 2011

Have you heard about Warren Buffet and Bill Gate’s Giving Pledge program for the wealthiest among us?  According to their website, “The Giving Pledge is an effort to invite the wealthiest individuals and families in America to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.” No, this is not a brand new program, but I think it is amazing and truly deserves to be highlighted in the media as much as possible.   Clicking through, you see names like Michael Bloomberg, George Lucas, Ted Turner and Mark Zuckerberg.  All in all, there are 70 (extremely) high-profile names on the list.  Very impressive. I decided to write about it today, because when I searched for philanthropy in the news, I learned that 10 more billionaires have recently joined the ranks.  Which, of course, led me to a whole lot of googling.  I learned a lot about Warren Buffett in my online adventures.  Along with all of his savant-like skills in business and investing, I found this particular piece pertaining to his philanthropy to be especially interesting:  His children will not inherit a significant proportion of his wealth. These actions are consistent with statements he has made in the past indicating his opposition to the transfer of great fortunes from one generation to the next. Buffett once commented, "I want to give my kids just enough so that they would feel that they could do anything, but not so much that they would feel like doing nothing". How wise of him to set his children and grandchildren up for success, but not do everything for them.   We may not all be million/billionaires, but the same principle can be applied to our own lives: you can’t take it with you, so why not donate it – kind of a catch and release, only with dollars?

see the full entry

Spilled Tea In Afganistan

by Patsy Woods Martin
April 25, 2011

Yesterday’s New York Times had a story about Greg Mortensen’s “spilled tea” in Afghanistan under the section Headline “Philanthropy” yesterday.  I suppose it was under philanthropy because the message, though disturbing, is about the complexity of much philanthropic work.  Mortensen, best-selling author of Three Cups of Tea and Stones to Schools, has done a great deal of good work educating girls in Afghanistan through his Central Asia Institute.

Maybe not as much as he has reported in his effort to raise funds for the work.  And maybe he hasn’t spent every dime he has raised from donors to “build schools.” Perhaps you saw the 60 Minutes story on Mortensen. 

All this hubbub makes me think of a couple of things. First, providing philanthropic services is often messy stuff.  Not as clean-cut as we want it to be.  We work hard to get our nonprofit agencies to quantify the impact of donor dollars. And while they can estimate impact, we have to remember that the problems they address are not simple.  Second, it takes an investment to raise money.  We see that in the for profit world, so why wouldn’t we expect that in the not for profit sector? However, we must be transparent with donor dollars.

Finally, buying into a very sexy story (#1 New York Times best seller) about helping deserving folks far, far away may not be the best use of donor dollars.  We have deserving folks right in our back yard.  40% of all babies born in Travis Co. are born to moms who don’t have high school diplomas.  How bout investing in some of the documented and effective, though perhaps not so sexy, programs in our own backyard, like Communities in Schools, to educate those moms? You can readily check on those philanthropic investments.

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Philanthropy, DC Style

by Patsy Woods Martin
April 17, 2011

I just returned from a trip to DC to celebrate the career of Jack’s boss’s wife, Gail Kern Paster at the Folger Shakespeare Library’s annual gala.  The party was a beautiful tribute to Gail, who is retiring, and an amazing window for me into serious philanthropy, East Coast style.  First of all, the Folger is a gift made to the American people by Henry Clay Folger and his wife Emily in the middle of the Great Depression.  Mr. Folger was a President and Chairman of Standard Oil of New York, retiring in 1928, and he loved Shakespeare.  He and Emily collected “Shakespeareana,” bought land next to the Library of Congress, built the amazing building to house their collection and endowed the Library’s operation. In its 2010 Annual Report, the Folger shows net assets of about $275 million.  The gala was a gorgeous party and true celebration of Gail’s leadership and the work of the organization.  It was clearly not, however, a desperate attempt to raise operating capital like most Austin fundraising galas are. We attended the party as major sponsors, making what was a “stretch” gift for us.  And we did that to honor Gail Kern Paster because we admire her and Howard, her husband, and my husband’s professional leader and mentor. I awoke the morning after the splendid celebration wondering what it will take to move Austin philanthropically to the likes of the East Coast. Will our own business moguls need to make Folger-like gifts to the people of Austin and endow the gifts’ futures? Or is that passé in this city of entrepreneurs? I continue to believe modeling generosity and setting expectations are critical to addressing the philanthropy problem even in egalitarian and weirdly lovable Austin.

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How I Got Here

by Carisa Bommarito Muñoz
April 8, 2011

I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to have spent the vast majority of my professional career working with Non-Profit agencies.  But surprisingly, I did not end up here deliberately.  My mother was a Social Worker, and I, like many young women, did not want to become my mother.  Not in my early 20’s anyway.  Acceptance (and eventual embrace) of the inevitable would come later.   My roundabout journey began back in 2001.  I was working in Real Estate and hating my job.  But at least the phones kept ringing, and it was paying the rent.  That is, until 9/11/01.  The phones literally went silent.  The real estate market tanked, and I was forced to do what I should have probably done many months before - re-evaluate my career choice.  I abandoned my ill-fitting real estate career in search of something – anything – else.  I scoured the newspaper classified ads (wow-remember those?) for any opportunity for which I was qualified and might find remotely interesting.  Finally, in the appalling job economy, I practically threw myself on the doorstep of a temp agency.  I got my first call early one morning, asking me to report immediately to United Way Capital Area to fill in for their receptionist who was on maternity leave.  After those two months, I was head-over-heels-in-love with the idea of making a career working for Non-Profits.  Luckily that assignment led to full time employment and 7 fulfilling years with the agency, where this temporary receptionist ended her United Way career as the Executive Project Manager.  I’ve since held roles with the Austin Humane Society and have been fortunate to have spent the last year helping to further the mission of I Live Here, I Give Here.  I truly do love my job.  I get to learn about new issues every single month at our Community Needs Spotlight Lunches – Financial Literacy, Foster Care and Adoption, Childhood Obesity and Teen Dating Safety - just this year so far!  I get to hear moving stories from established philanthropists at our See Jane Give! and Give Back Jack events.  I get to be part of the process of giving away The BIG Prize of $10K to a very deserving Non-Profit agency every year. But most rewardingly, I get to work with people who are passionate about making Austin better, who are here because we share the belief that it is the responsibility of all of us to care for those who need the most help.  I get to work with compassionate, empathetic, smart, hard-working, passionate people every single day.  I may not have known that this is what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I am grateful every day that this is where I landed.

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My Neigbor The Philanthropist.

by Mackenzie Martin
April 7, 2011

For a little over 5 years, I have lived in Rosedale on a quiet street, with mostly young families but some who have lived there for over 50 years. I’m lucky to know my neighbors pretty well, because as a single gal with an old house to take care of, I need all the help I can get. For instance, if you accidently set your grill on fire, there will always be someone to put it out with a garden hose. Not that this has ever happened…

So, last week when I saw that I had gotten a note from my down-the-street neighbor, I opened it thinking it was a bar-b-que or a block party.  I was surprised to open it to find a letter about her daughter, who had been born very prematurely a decade ago. The letter went on to explain that she and her family received invaluable help from the March of Dimes, and it made a huge difference in their lives during a really scary time. It went on to say that each year my neighbor and her daughter collected small donations from neighbors and friends, and then matched the amount and donated to the March of Dimes. They hoped that they could help people who were in the same situation they had once been in. I immediately wrote a check. They had appealed to my emotions, told a compelling story, told me what they were going to do with the money, and how I could help. I also slipped my card and a note in with my check, asking them to contact me so that I could tell their story on our “featured donor” page. Thought it would make a great story!

A few days later, I received another note (pictured below). It read:

Dear Mackenzie,

Thank you so much doe your donation and nice note. I have to admit that I would be embarrassed to be included on your great site alongside folks who do so much for our community and its organizations.

-this M.O.D. (March of Dimes)

I wanted to march right down to her house and tell her that she was just the kind of donor that we love. Her incredible dedication to a cause that she feels passionate about, is what philanthropy is all about! Even though she did not want to be recognized, in my book, she is someone to be celebrated.

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