66% of Austinites feel uninformed about the issues.
89% say they would give to a specific need in the community.

Why We’re Here

I Live Here, I Give Here’s mission is to deepen and expand the culture of personal philanthropy by inspiring Central Texans to invest more money in our community. We educate and connect individuals and non-profits so more Central Texans experience the personal benefit of increased philanthropy.

I Live Here, I Give Here’s mission is to deepen and expand the culture of personal philanthropy by inspiring Central Texans to invest more money in our community. We educate and connect individuals and non-profits so more Central Texans experience the personal benefit of increased philanthropy.

Did you know that according to a study done by The Chronicle of Philanthropy in 2012, Austin is ranked 32nd out of the 50 largest cities in the nation in per capita charitable giving? This is a big improvement over our ranking at the beginning of the 21st century when we ranked 48, but there is still a lot of room for growth!

Austin is a vibrant city with a personality all its own. Central Texans are passionate, driven, and generous volunteers of their time and talent. But that’s not enough. The biggest problem facing Austin Nonprofits is there is not enough money.

Our community is well known for cherishing its environment and local businesses, its time to nurture our home-grown nonprofits in the same way!

We depend on our nonprofits to meet so many of the Austin's most basic needs; but the shortage of funds for these organizations is creating large gaps in services.

This is where I Live Here, I Give Here steps in. Our main purpose is to connect people like YOU with the issues you care about and the Nonprofits that support them.

I Live Here, I Give Here is proud of the work we have accomplished since our launch in 2007. We connect the people of Austin with the causes they care about.

We partner with nonprofit groups so they can be more accessible to you. We spotlight specific needs in Austin every month to let you know how you can help.

Please check out our Programs and get to know our Board Members and Staff!

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Angels All Around Us

by Blaire Kniffin
September 28, 2012

I woke up early this morning feeling way too energized for it to be the end of a long workweek. Then I quickly remembered what I had had the privilege of doing the night before. I am someone who is quickly energized by meeting new people, connecting with other individuals, and feeling as if I am doing something positive for someone else. After last night, I may have found the best of all three. 

I am a recent addition to Austin Involved, Austin’s new volunteer movement and a program of I Live Here, I Give Here®. My very first volunteer experience with the group was last month when we volunteered at Spirit Reins, one of my favorite organizations for many reasons. They are an equine therapy facility that works with troubled youth and brilliantly utilizes the incredible nature of horses for psychotherapy and healing. Needless to say, I was in heaven -- riding my favorite animal out in the hill country, looking at the moon and learning first hand how this organization is making a huge difference in the lives of our youth. Certainly an experience I will never forget. 

Last night evoked similar emotions, except this time I wasn’t on a horse! A group of about 20 of us gathered with the organization Foster Angels to attend to a list of outstanding requests for personalized gift items for children getting moved around in the foster care system. This organization ensures that the basic needs of the children in the system are met, and even exceeded, with things like funding karate classes or birthday parties. There were several influential moments and takeaways from the evening that are continuing to shape my personal being and understanding of philanthropy.


The first, which carries over from my initial volunteer experience with Austin Involved, was my surprise at the willingness and general kindness of this group of individuals belonging to Austin Involved. These are people of all ages, all walks of life, some who know each other, most who don’t, showing up after a potentially long day at work or just a long day at life, to give of themselves for several hours. Last month, this same group drove all the way out to Liberty Hill to do manual labor and ride horses in the middle of the week. 

Part of my excessive energy this morning was do to this - the refreshing energy of being in a room full of people, working as a true team, to accomplish a meaningful task, all while laughing, smiling, and getting to know each other. Yes, this has a lot to do with the nature of the people interacting, but it also speaks a lot to the power of the kind of work we were doing. Everyone seemed to be in the right place and it felt good. 

Prior to the handing out of the tasks, I was still blowing off steam from the day, chit chatting, meeting new faces and laughing my day away. We were then each given personalized request lists with the names and ages of two children that had recently been placed in the system. I looked down still only partially focused on what was going on and read, Kara 11, Adam 2. My mood changed considerably.

The task at hand suddenly became very real. I remembered what it was like to be an 11-year-old girl. A stable home and loving family, great school and friends, and I still found difficulty in the odd insecurities and drama of entering young womanhood. I could only imagine my world had it been one of real turmoil, instability, and aloneness. And the two year old…. whew. I began to understand the potential impact of our evening.

Once we finished putting together the packages, we were all directed to write personalized notes to each child. I went into a back room alone and sat.  What do you even say to a child who has just been taken from their home and placed into a strangers? I continued to sit. I wrote Kara’s first as she was the one of the two who would be able to actually read and understand my message. I did not even know her and she would have no idea who I am. I sat with tears in my eyes knowing that nothing I put on that piece of paper was going to remove her potential hurt or fear or anger. However, I still felt hopeful that my words and the personalized touch would have an effect.


We finished our letters, packed our bins, and personalized the top with their names and some decorative art. I was standing with Sarah Smith, the Executive Director of Foster Angels seeing her pleased face at all the work that had been done. I figured she was one of several Executive Directors given the number of children served by Foster Angels in Travis and surrounding counties.

My final, as Oprah says, “Aha! Moment” of the evening came when I was told that Sarah is THE ONLY staff at Foster Angels. When I read on their website that they take pride in keeping their administrative costs low in an effort to pass along all money to services for the children, I was not anticipating that meant only one individual has this as her paying job.

This absolutely blew me away. My existing respect for this organization grew exponentially. A little light bulb went off inside my brain alerting me to the massive potential one human being has to create a real impact in our community. Attacking these types of problems that exist in almost every community can seem overwhelming, if not impossible, at times. Seeing what Sarah is able to accomplish with just her and some incredibly generous volunteers certainly gave me hope to be able to have the opportunity and ability to at some point do the same.

I have been longing to engage in my community with issues that need positive change. College life consumed my time and four years slipped by without really having the opportunity to reach out and get involved. Austin Involved has given me an opportunity to start to find my volunteer niche and tune into my innate want to give back. Oh, the power of compassion: a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. I have been so fortunate with this life and it is time to focus some effort and time on making someone else just as lucky. 

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