Keep Austin Generous week encourages community of giving

The second annual Keep Austin Generous week kicks off Dec. 6 and encourages residents and businesses to help make Austin the most philanthropic city per capita in the U.S.

Endorsed by the city of Austin, the Keep Austin Generous campaign is spearheaded by MiniDonations, MyCharityLife and Go Local. Leo Ramirez Jr., chairman of Keep Austin Generous and CEO and founder of MiniDonations, said that even with more than 4,400 nonprofits in Austin, he was surprised the city didn't rank higher on the list of most philanthropic metropolitan areas.

He said the campaign initially began as an idea of creating a day of giving, but after speaking with other residents, he realized the campaign needed a whole week to give people the opportunity to make a difference.

"The day started as celebration of giving back in the hope that if all of us have a focused day of giving, then maybe we as Austinites could really start to make this a habit and make us the most generous community in the nation," Ramirez said.

During Keep Austin Generous week Dec. 6–13, residents and businesses can get involved in a number of ways.

A Dec. 6 kickoff party is from 5–7 p.m. at Icenhauer's, 83 Rainey St. Guests are asked to donate $10 for entry. The week wraps up with a celebration Dec. 13 from 5–9 p.m. at the Mexic-Arte Museum, 419 Congress Ave. Proceeds from the event benefit the Austin Relief Alliance for flood relief in Southwest Austin.

From Dec. 9–13, residents can donate $1 for Raiseday, which benefits a different cause each day. Donations are shared on social media to encourage donors' friends to contribute.

"Hopefully as the donation goes viral, you get more people to donate," Ramirez said.

Businesses can get involved by offering ways for customers to donate money or rallying employees to volunteer.

"I really want to highlight the spirit of generosity that exists in the business community and call out businesses that are doing really special things," Ramirez said.

He said the purpose of the campaign is to inspire people to think of ways they can give their time or money.

"The biggest thing is for businesses, individuals and nonprofits in the community to dream up their own ways of giving," he said.

Residents are encouraged to post to the Keep Austin Generous Facebook page the ways individuals and businesses are giving back and also use the hashtag #giveatx on Twitter.

The Keep Austin Generous website includes a community calendar of events that will benefit nonprofits. For more information, visit www.keepaustingenerous.org or follow the campaign on Facebook or Twitter.

By Amy Denney

Managing Editor, Austin metro

Amy has worked for Community Impact Newspaper since September 2010, serving as reporter and senior editor for the Northwest Austin edition as well as covering transportation in the Austin metro. She is now managing editor for the 10 publications in the Central Texas area from Georgetown to New Braunfels. She enjoys spending time with her husband, son and two cats.