Central Texas residents came out to donate and support local organizations making a positive impact and helping the community through the Amplify Austin fundraising event, which was held March 1-3.
Amplify Austin was a success for many local organizations, including the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center, Onion Creek Senior Center, Central Texas Tortoise Rescue and Hays County Food Bank.
The Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center, which has participated for 5 years, raised more than $30,000 in donations. Established in 1978, the women’s center’s mission is to help victims of family violence, sexual assault, dating violence and child abuse.
“We are very grateful to our supporters who every year surprise me and come on out,” said Melissa Rodriguez, director of development and community partnerships.
Money raised through Amplify Austin is crucial to the women’s center work because it’s unrestricted funding, Rodriguez said.
The women’s center may use the donations for needs not covered by state and federal funding, such as providing an interpreter for a client or helping a client move out and find a new residence.
Rodriguez said she was surprised and moved by people donating in honor of Samantha Dean, who was murdered allegedly by VonTrey Clark, a former Austin Police officer, in 2015.
Dean, who was the Kyle Police Department’s Victim Services Coordinator, worked with Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center staff through their child abuse program, sexual assault program and family violence program, Rodriguez said.
“To see people donating in her honor really touched me,” Rodriguez said. “It shows she’s not being forgotten. It’s doing what I know she would want, which is people using that horrible thing that happened to give to something good.”
The Onion Creek Senior Center in Buda, a non-profit founded in 1984 to serve the needs of senior citizens, received $7500 through Amplify Austin and an additional $2,000 from an anonymous donor.
The donations will cover the senior center’s many expenses, including bills and its mortgage, said Ann Moreland, vice chairperson of the board of directors. Moreland was chairperson of the center’s Amplify Austin committee and teaches exercise classes at the center.
“We did well,” Moreland said. “There were a lot of people that donated that I didn’t know. We got some good donations.”
The Central Texas Tortoise Rescue received $2,300 in donations, said founder Krista McDermid.
McDermid, who studied the habits of aquatic turtles for her Master’s thesis and operates the rescue out of her home, said she founded the tortoise rescue after friends and colleagues asked her to foster turtles and tortoises.
“It became to me that there was a real need for more tortoise and box turtle rescue operations,” McDermid said. “Central Texas Tortoise Rescue’s mission is to adequately house, care for, rescue and rehabilitate land turtles who need a helping hand, and to place them into loving forever homes.”
The Hays County Food Bank received nearly $2,500 in donations, said Mallory Raschke, communications coordinator.
“It’s just to fund our everyday operating expenses so that we can keep providing services and programs for those that we serve,” Raschke said.
Of the three times the food bank has participated in Amplify Austin, this year it received the most donations, Raschke said.
“We are excited because this year we did raise the most funds and we’re excited to see how next year goes,” Rasche said.
Hays County participating organizations
Marbridge Foundation $70,165.99
Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center $48,490.74
PAWS Center of Central Texas $22,518.30
Hill Country Conservancy $12,537.10
Thundering Paws Animal Sanctuary $12,064.60
Service Dogs, Inc $9,033.95
Lizzy’s Hospice House $9,025.38
Save Our Springs Alliance $9,001.05
Onion Creek Senior Center $7,586.90
Wimberley Adoption Group and Rescue $7.022.90
Friends of Blue Hole $5,309.30
Own Your Own Universe $5,173.55
Hill Country Alliance $4,934.80
Hays County Food Bank $2,291.75
Central Texas Tortoise Rescue 66 $2,240.60
Wimberley Valley Watershed Association $2,176.85
Wimberley Players $2,065
RED Arena $1,446.95
Dripping Springs Youth Sports Associations $379.90
Greater San Marcos Youth Council $370.80
Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos $313.40
Hill Country Senior Citizens Activity Center $138