Three Austin companies recognized for philanthropic efforts

The inaugural Austin Gives awards on Feb. 26 recognized three Austin businesses that have focused on giving back to the community.

Give Realty, BuildASign.com and Harden Healthcare received GeneroCity awards for their efforts.

Real estate firm Give Realty donates 25 percent of its commissions to charities of its clients' choice. Custom sign maker BuildASign.com has several philanthropic programs, including creating free custom Welcome Home banners for military families. Harden Healthcare, which provides health care services for senior citizens, supports several nonprofit groups through donations and companywide volunteer opportunities.

Austin Gives is a community program that encourages businesses to donate at least 1 percent of their profits to charity. In its first year, more than 130 Austin businesses made that pledge, said Bobby Jenkins, president of ABC Home and Commercial Services and co-founder of Austin Gives.

Awards ceremony emcee Judy Maggio from TV station KEYE said the goal of Austin Gives is to recognize businesses who are making a difference.

Mayor Lee Leffingwell gave examples of the city's giving spirit when it helped victims of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina and during the 2011 wildfires in Bastrop, Pflugerville, Spicewood and Leander.

"It's so important to our city and community and one of the most important aspects of our character and our identity as a city," Leffingwell said. "I've said several times that Austin wears its heart on its sleeve. Compassion is a hallmark of Austinites, Austin businesses and Austin organizations. Whenever there's a need, somebody is there to step in and help."

Philanthropist Roy Spence, co-founder and chairman of advertising agency GSD&M, provided the keynote speech and said the purpose of giving is a personal decision.

"Our philosophy on giving is passing forward: People help you. You help other people. That's the way it works," he said.

For more information on Austin Gives, call 512-517-9485 or visit www.austingives.net.

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.