Community Program Celebrates Local Business Philanthropy and 200 Member Milestone at Annual Awards Celebration
“In its first two years, Austin Gives has achieved tremendous growth, and I look forward to seeing the success of this Austin community program continue for years to come.”
The awards ceremony took place at the Four Season Hotel on Tuesday, Jan. 7, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and united community leaders, local businesses and the nonprofits they support to celebrate and encourage citywide giving. Mayor Lee Leffingwell kicked off the event with opening remarks, followed by keynote speaker, John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systemsand Patron Spirits, who spoke on the importance of business philanthropy. Judy Maggio and Walt Maciborski, anchors for KEYE TV, served as the event's emcees.
“Most people have either time or resources to donate, and businesses are no different,” said John Paul DeJoria. “We contribute to make the world a better place to live, which makes everyone better, and in Austin, the generosity of local businesses make this city a better place to live.”
In addition, the organization celebrated reaching its goal of securing 200 members by 2013, a milestone that was reached just days before the year’s end.
“I’m proud to support an organization that promotes the overall social and economic welfare of the city of Austin by encouraging local businesses to give back,” said Mayor Lee Leffingwell. “In its first two years, Austin Gives has achieved tremendous growth, and I look forward to seeing the success of this Austin community program continue for years to come.”
About the Winners
Charitable Champion (under 50 employees): Zuma Office Supply
Zuma Office Supply (Zuma) provides Austin nonprofits with generosity in many forms, including monetary contributions, volunteered time and donated office supplies. Their business model is structured to donate 50 percent of the company’s yearly earnings to 10 nonprofits each year, which are selected through a voting process completed by the organization’s customers. Employees are encouraged to volunteer through company-wide projects, which have included providing relief for those affected by the recent Austin floods and holiday food drives. In 2013, Zuma won 2nd place in the Capital Area Food Bank’s Small Business Challenge and were part of a program that donated over 800 pairs of shoes, 2,000 pairs of socks and 100 gift cards to the Salvation Army’s Shoe In program.
Big Heart (50 to 250 employees): Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (Texas)
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (Texas) is committed to increasing visibility for local nonprofits and jumpstarting conversations about the needs of the Austin community. Their Caring Cup Wristband program is a fundraising campaign that is completed four times each year. One nonprofit is supported during each of the four events, and in addition to the monetary donations they receive as a result of this campaign, they also report a 15 percent increase in website traffic and volunteers during their participation. In 2013 alone, donations from this program totaled over $110,000. Individual and group volunteering is also encouraged among the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (Texas) staff.
Bold Giver (over 250 employees): eBay
eBay’s philanthropic program includes three elements of giving: money, donated expertise and volunteering. Their 2013 Small Business Challenge allowed employees to team up in groups of five and donate their skills to six elected nonprofits. These teams dedicated 10 percent of their work time over a six-month period to discover the challenges of their chosen nonprofit, define what technology could do to help, design solutions for these issues and deliver the work-product to overcome these challenges. In addition, eBay matches all employee donations of up to $2,500 per year; creates grants from their own Foundation totaling $40,000, given to select nonprofits based on employee nominations and voting; and has a philanthropy committee that is in charge of creating three to four charity projects each quarter, such as Coats for Kids, toy drives, fundraisers and more, to benefit the nonprofit community.