Ray Benson discusses importance of giving at annual Austin Gives awards

Musician and Austinite Ray Benson sings "A Little Piece" during the third annual Austin Gives GeneroCity Awards ceremony. He gave the keynote about the importance of giving to your community. Musician and Austinite Ray Benson sings "A Little Piece" during the third annual Austin Gives GeneroCity Awards ceremony. He gave the keynote about the importance of giving to your community.[/caption]

Musician Ray Benson knows the importance of giving back. He even addresses it in his song, “A Little Piece,” which he sang Jan. 8 at the Austin Gives GeneroCity Awards ceremony.

“Every time you give you get some. Give a little piece, a little piece of you,” sang Benson, who is the frontman for Asleep at the Wheel.

That is the message that Benson, who has lived in Austin since the early 1970s, spoke about during the Austin Gives keynote address. As the song suggests, he does give a little piece of himself to the Austin community by being involved in numerous nonprofits, including the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, the St. David’s Foundation, the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve and Ballet Austin.

“Austin has always put a premium on intellectual pursuits and that seems to lead to philanthropy,” Benson said.

Growing up a Jewish Quaker, Benson said he grew up learning that giving back is a regular part of life.

“It’s not that you give to get but it seems to be in the equation that is ‘What do you get?’ If you just get the satisfaction, the happiness, the fulfillment, it enriches your life,” he said.

For businesses that give back, Benson said there is a balance between philanthropy and marketing, of informing the customer about being involved in the community but also raising money for the cause or organization.

“The main thing is how you get it done, get the money to the community,” he said.

Austin Gives is a program started by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and other organizations in 2012. The purpose is to spotlight businesses that give back to the community through donation of time, money, services or goods. Any business can join the program for free.

The Austin Gives GeneroCity awards recognize businesses that go above and beyond in service to the community. Awards are given in three categories based on the size of a business.

For the 2014 awards, Silicon Labs received the Bold Givers award for companies with more than 150 employees, Yellow Cab earned the Big Heart award for 26–150 employees and South Texas Money Management was recognized as the Charitable Champion recipient for companies with fewer than 26 employees.

For more information on the winners or to become an Austin Gives member, visit www.austin.gives.
By Amy Denney
Amy has worked for Community Impact Newspaper since September 2010, serving as reporter and then senior editor for the Northwest Austin edition and covering transportation. She is now managing editor for the nine publications in the Central Texas area.


MOST RECENT

Here is what you need to know today about the coronavirus in Williamson County. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County adds 294 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths Jan. 22

Here is what you need to know today about coronavirus in Williamson County.

Hays County opened its COVID-19 vaccine portal Jan. 22. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Vaccine portal opens in Hays County; read Austin business news and more Central Texas info

Read the latest business and community news from Central Texas.

Trustee Mary Kimmins was elected to the board in 2015 and previously served as board vice president. (Community Impact staff)
Pflugerville ISD trustee Mary Kimmins will not seek re-election in May

Trustee Mary Kimmins was elected to the board in 2015 and previously served as board vice president.

Pflugerville ISD classes will begin the 2021-22 academic year on Aug. 12 and will culminate with a half day May 26, 2022. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Pflugerville ISD finalizes start date, winter break for 2021-22 school year

Planning ahead on a family vacation? Find out when classes start at Pflugerville ISD for the 2021-22 school year.

Bento Bakes
Cake design specialist Bento Bakes now open in Anderson Mill

Local custom cake designer Bento Bakes is now open at a brick-and-mortar location in the Anderson Mill area.

The Austin Community College District's 28,000-square-foot culinary arts wing is now open at ACC Highland. (Courtesy Austin Community College)
Second phase of ACC Highland campus opens in Central Austin

The campus is home to the Austin Community College District's Culinary Arts Department.

Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said those who wish to return to campus can do so beginning Jan. 25. (Courtesy Austin ISD)
Austin ISD families can return to campus after 2 weeks of encouraging virtual learning

Austin ISD has seen a 28% decrease in weekly coronavirus cases since the first week of January.

The legality of reinstating tighter restrictions on public camping, solicitation, and sitting and lying down remains vague. (Courtesy Office of the Texas Governor)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott floats ‘statewide camping ban’ as homeless debate heats up

The legality of reinstating tighter restrictions on public camping, solicitation, and sitting and lying down remains vague.

Here are the coronavirus updates you need to know in Williamson County. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County reports second-highest daily total for new coronavirus cases, 7 deaths

Here is what you need to know today about the coronavirus in Williamson County.

The Royce at 8100
Housing Authority of the City of Austin purchases apartment complex in Northwest Austin to turn into affordable units

Hundreds of below market-rate apartment units are now available along the high-growth West Parmer Lane corridor following the purchase of the complex by a local affordable housing advocacy nonprofit.

By noon Jan. 20, Williamson County had two hubs operating—one in Sun City and one in North Austin. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Williamson County COVID-19 vaccine hubs inoculate 2,500 residents on first day

By noon Jan. 20, Williamson County had two hubs operating—one in Sun City and one in North Austin.

Dr. Judith L. Thompson recently took the time to answer several general questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. (Courtesy Texas Children’s Hospital)
'We still have a long way to go': Central Texas physician answers questions about COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Judith L. Thompson recently took the time to answer several general questions for Community Impact Newspaper related to the coronavirus vaccine, its efficacy and costs, and other related matters.