Impact Austin Awards $40,000 Social Innovation Grant to Black Mamas ATX
We are pleased to announce that the members of Impact Austin voted to award this year’s Social Innovation Grant (SIG) in the amount of $40,000 to Black Mamas ATX REACH (Racial Equity and Access for Collaborative Healthcare) Manor, a collaboration between Black Mamas ATX ℅ The University of Texas Foundation, Austin Regional Clinic, People’s Community Clinic, Manor ISD. The award was announced last night during Impact Austin’s Town Hall Meeting. This is the second year that Impact Austin has awarded this grant, which goes to a Central Texas collaborative working on a high-impact project or initiative aimed at advancing equity for women and/or girls of color.
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Black Mamas ATX REACH will bring Black Mamas programming to Manor, which has one of the highest Black populations in Central Texas but currently has no OB/GYN clinics. The goal of Black Mamas is to ensure Black women survive and thrive before, during, and after childbirth. This program will provide support groups, doula services, midwifery clinic services, and remote/online case management and psychotherapy services for about 40 women, with many services being provided for up to 18 months.
During last night’s Town Hall Meeting, speakers talked about Trust-Based Philanthropy, an approach that challenges grantmakers to bring humility, transparency, and an equity lens to their giving. The goal is to remove barriers in grantmaking and reduce the power imbalance between funders and grantees. With this in mind, Impact Austin has redesigned its grant program to make it quicker and more efficient for nonprofits. The new program allows partners to determine if they will use grants for a program, for operations, or for both, and every grant is reviewed through an equity lens. Starting in 2021, the new grant program also doubles the number of nonprofits being helped by dividing the funds 80/20 between the two grant finalists.
“We are paying attention to what’s going on in the world right now and are doing our part to address widespread inequity and the impact of COVID on nonprofits that are working to make a difference,” said Christina Canales Gorczynski, Executive Director of Impact Austin.
The Social Innovation Grant (SIG) Grant Review Committee (GRC) included 28 women, comprising two chairs, one advisor, one shadow, and 24 members. The GRC evaluated 12 applications for the $40,000 grant and selected three semi-finalists to present pitch presentations to further advocate for funding. Following those presentations, the GRC chose the two finalists who presented to the Impact Austin membership through multimedia presentations for final voting.
“This grant will provide Black women and girls in Manor with the support they need to ensure that the sacred experience of pregnancy and childbirth, as well as the months leading up their baby’s first birthday is positive, healthy and safe,” said Nakeenya Wilson, Executive Director, Black Mamas ATX. “Central Texas has the highest Black maternal mortality rate in Texas, and Impact Austin funding has the potential to be life-changing for the Black women in Manor.”
The GRC’s work began with unconscious bias training, organized by Impact Austin’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee and led by Fatima Mann. Mann is Founder/Executive Director of Community Advocacy and Healing Project and part of the collaborative that won the 2019 SIG. A DEI Committee member spoke at every meeting to continue the education process and help ensure that equity remained uppermost in members’ minds as they evaluate the applicants.
Impact Austin welcomes new members year-round, and identifying as female is the only requirement. Each member contributes $1,250 through an annual payment, monthly payments, or a scholarship to fund the organization’s grants and operations. Members can get involved by voting on grants, joining a committee, participating in the review process, attending social events, educational opportunities, and more. Join Impact Austin today at https://www.impactaustin.org.