It has been a busy couple of months, between the Austin trip, hiring new team members, and the holidays, but we are excited about our expansion in 2018! The Austin trip was a huge success. We introduced several nonprofits to Oswald Consulting, including the largest nonprofit in Austin.
St. David’s Foundation has a vision of making Austin the healthiest community in the world, they reinvest funds from St. David’s HealthCare to over 60 partners who connect thousands of low-income residents to healthcare services. They have clearly identified and measurable strategic priorities and are having a great positive impact in their community.
The next stop was Austin Pets Alive, a unique animal shelter focused on saving the lives of those most at risk of euthanasia. After the hurricane, Austin Pets Alive stretched their resources to rescue over 3,000 Houston animals by opening two temporary shelters. I toured their facility, and they were still overloaded with donations after a successful media campaign. What a fantastic show of support for animals from the Austin community and beyond!
After lunch, I was off to A Glimmer of Hope Foundation. What an awesome office! Glimmer’s primary programming is in Ethiopia and you can see this in the décor. The walls are covered with amazing photos from the field and the front waiting area is lined with yellow jerry cans, just like those I used for carrying water in Uganda. You can learn about their good work just by strolling through their office.
Glimmer is unique in that their founders are entrepreneurs who sold their company for a profit, leaving Glimmer with a large endowment so they can use 100% of their donations for programs and grants. Few nonprofits are this lucky, and many struggle to secure adequate funding because many funders don’t want their funds used to pay staff. Glimmer implements holistic programming at the community level in Ethiopia, providing jobs for Ethiopians and creating local partnerships for sustainable programming.
After conducting a needs-assessment, a five-year plan is designed and implemented in selected Glimmer communities. Plans include clean water, new schools, health clinics, and more. It reminded me so much of my days in Peace Corps and made me wonder about how much more impact I could have had in five years rather than two.
Mission Capital held a spotlight event that evening at Emancipet, with CEO Amy Mills, their most recent Social Entrepreneur Award recipient. After a long day of meetings, I made it in time for the event, and had an opportunity to meet Mission Capital staff ahead of my Monday meeting at their office, as well as staff from other local nonprofits. Amy discussed how she was able to launch several Emancipet clinics using alternate financing.
My discussion with Mission Capital staff the following Monday was inspiring. We shared ideas and discussed limitations of traditional funding and challenges of measuring real program impact in the nonprofit world. I left Austin with a renewed sense of the Oswald Consulting mission and vision to help solve the world’s social challenges by building fundraising and evaluation capacity for nonprofits and other mission-driven organizations.
The Oswald Consulting team is looking forward to doing more work in Austin. They have a wonderful, mission-driven, nonprofit and social enterprise sector with a real sense of community. Keep up the great work Austin!