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Lauren Frock — Nonprofit, Charity, Philanthropy, & Giving Blog Authors — Austin, Texas — ILH,IGH
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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Guest Blog Post by Erin Palmer

Regardless of what population it serves or what causes it advocates, your nonprofit needs strong roots in its local community in order to thrive. Capturing the hearts and minds of your energetic, philanthropic neighbors is essential to nonprofit success, as strong support at home can open countless doors abroad, helping to spread your mission and your message far and wide.

A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 72% of Americans consider themselves local news enthusiasts. That’s an impressive majority in this day and age when news media across the board are struggling to maintain consumers. What’s more, local news junkies are slightly more likely than their counterparts to feel they can make a big difference in their communities. They feel empowered to effect positive change where they live, and that should make them a big part of your nonprofit’s target demographic.

Two basic components should be included in every nonprofit’s strategy for nurturing its home team: building relationships with local media outlets and working with local government. That’s not all you have to do to strengthen your local presence, but it’s certainly a great way to start the process.

Building Local Media Relationships

The two most important elements for building media relationships are newsworthiness and personal connections. Put another way, you have to know what to pitch and who to pitch it to. Even in the smallest towns, your nonprofit is competing for media coverage with many other important people, events and issues. Be sure you are putting out press releases selectively – only for news that is timely, relevant and of genuine interest to the general public. Make it easy for reporters to get factual, pertinent information by being accessible, professional and knowledgeable. Yes, that means giving out your cell phone number and honing your quotability skills. Learn to talk in sound bites.

Almost as important as what you’re putting out is who you’re putting it out to. Make sure your organization puts forth the time and effort necessary to keep a local media contact list up to date. There is a high rate of turnover in the news business; find the reporters who cover the beats most relevant to your nonprofit, get to know them, and find out who will replace them when their time has come to move on.

Lastly, good news cycles will come and go. The most vital thing you can do to prepare for them is have an easily accessible, quality media kit on your website. Eye-catching, comprehensive print materials are helpful too (e.g. brochures you can quickly slip into a busy reporter’s hand). It’s all about cultivating a general awareness among the local press corps of your organization and what it does so it’s that much easier for them to cover your newsworthy events when they come around.

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Giving Is Better Than Receiving

by Lauren Frock
August 1, 2012


I was on the train the other day, which was unusually crowded, and a young man with a bicycle boarded at Plaza Saltillo station. A middle-aged man was sitting on one of the foldout seats under the bicycle rack, prohibiting the use of the rack above him. The man with the bike asked if he could use the bike rack, to which the man sitting in the fold out seat refused. A seat a few feet away was offered to him, but he stubbornly replied, “No. I’m perfectly comfortable here, thank you.” The younger man stood uncomfortably trying to find room for his bike without disturbing the other passengers on the train.

This situation reminded me of a common approach to those in need in our community. Our society tends to view comfort as a high priority. (If you want proof just remember we live in a country with ritzy hotels that vastly outnumber homeless shelters, a booming entertainment industry, and even a blanket with sleeves.) Sure, comfort is a great thing, but when our response to those in need becomes, “No thanks, I’m comfortable right where I am”, that can become a problem.  

Wayne Dyer once said, “When I chased after money, I never had enough. When I got my life on purpose and focused on giving of myself and everything that arrived into my life, then I was prosperous.” The ironic thing about giving is that those who give from their heart are the ones that end up the most prosperous in the end. I challenge you to examine your life this week and where giving back falls in your list of priorities. The beautiful thing about it all is the infectious quality of giving and how it has the power to profoundly change the hearts of both the recipient and giver.

How can you make a difference in your weekly routine to make a difference in your community this month?

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Donation Time

by Lauren Frock
July 10, 2012

This weekend I tackled my summer goal of donating three different resources! Here they are:  

 1. Donate clothes: I took a few hours to sort out everything in my closet and donate gently-used clothes that would get more use in someone else’s closet to Goodwill Industries. Although Goodwill has a great donation system that helps find a new home for old clothes and household items, the organization does great things for employment in the community. Click here to read some of the amazing success stories of people that have experienced life changes because of Goodwill's mission.    

2. Donate money: This month I chose to donate to Open Door Libraries, an organization that is doing great things in Budapest! Check out their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/OpenDoorLibraries


3. Donate blood: This one was an adventure for me! I’m one of those people with a slight needle phobia, but I decided to conquer that fear on Saturday at The Blood Center of Central Texas. I didn’t realize how powerful donating blood is until after I talked to the doctor that drew my blood. The center’s website also has a lot of powerful stories of people that were saved by blood transfusion. I’m pretty convinced that if I can do it, anyone can! The cookies afterward were a nice touch :)


Now I'm on to the next goal! How have you given back this week? 

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It's The Little Things

by Lauren Frock
July 6, 2012

One of my goals for this summer was to read more philanthropically inspiring books. This week I read Give a Little by Wendy Smith. This book was all about how small donations can make a big difference in the world.


 What I loved most about the book was the author’s recognition of small donations and the ripples they cause in an individual’s life, a community, and even the world. For example, Smith describes how $10 can beat malaria. An insecticide-treated bed net donated to a young girl in Malawi can protect her from contracting malaria, which allows her to avoid long-term disabilities and health problems, such as neurological damage and anemia. Because of her satisfactory health, she is able to go to school and her parents can continue to work since they are not spending time they could be at work caring for a sick child and using their hard earned wages on treatments. This allows the family's standard of living to increase and their community to strengthen because more parents are working productively and fewer resources are directed at caring for sick children, neurologically disabled adults, and poor families.

 Amazing, huh? Almost as amazing as the curing of polio in the United States through the March of Dimes.  

$1 can provide sixteen meals for underserved kids through Feeding America http://feedingamerica.org/, an organization that aims to promote nutrition for hungry students to help them succeed in school and see their potential. A $50 donation can feed an otherwise hungry child over 133 weekends or 800 meals. 

$5 could save as many as eighteen mothers and eighteen babies if invested in delivery kits made byMaternal & Child Health Product (Affiliated with P.A.T.H.). MCHP is a company that makes affordable products and tools to help improve reproductive health in Nepal. Healthy mothers are more likely to be more productive at home and healthy children are more likely to get an education and the cycle begins again. This $5 investment can carry on for generations of healthy mothers and children, all starting in the delivery room.

$10 donated to Safe Passage will provide sixty children with Saturday programs, keeping them safe, having fun, and learning while school is out of session. Safe Passage is an organization dedicated to lifting children from the city dumps in South America, clothing them and feeding them, and empowering them with life skills needed to succeed.

$25 donated to World Vision could supply struggling American families with items such as diapers, clothing, blankets, household and personal care items, and toys. World Vision is dedicated to helping children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.

$30 donated to Potters for Peace will provide a family of six with safe, affordable water for three years. Potters for Peace is an organization that pours economic opportunity into impoverished communities and promotes healthy drinking water. This issue is huge considering half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from a water-related disease.

$32.50 donated once annually by every taxpaying household in the United States could help theGlobal Fund meet their goals of diminishing the big three: malaria, AIDS, and tuberculosis. These three diseases are the causes of over six million deaths a year.

$34 donated per year (or 9 cents a day) donated to World Bicycle Relief provides bicycles overseas to people living in developing countries. Bicycle ownership empowers people economically and socially by increasing mobility, opportunities for microenterprises and employment.

$80 donated to Developments in Literacy (DIL) can educate one Pakistani girl for a year. DIL is an organization dedicated to providing a quality education to disadvantaged children, especially girls, by establishing and operating schools in the underdeveloped regions of Pakistan, focusing on gender equality and community participation.

$120 (or one share for $10) can buy a goat from Heifer International. These goats are donated to villages that are in need. Goats provide milk, which is a great source of protein, calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin, and potassium. One goat can produce several quarts of milk a day and improve economic opportunity by allowing the owner to make yogurt cheese, and sell the excess milk for profit. The goats’ offspring can also be sold, causing a ripple effect that will help a village for decades.

These are some great ways to make a difference with small donations. Something that I thought was amazing is that in 2007, the total amount of money donated to charitable organizations from ordinary donors was collectively $229 billion. To put that in perspective, $229 billion is over 21 times Wal-Mart’s profits in the fiscal year of 2007. With this knowledge, it seems silly to say that it’s impossible for ordinary people to change the world with modest donations.

Marian Wright Edelman once said, “We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.” Together we can accomplish spectacular things. 

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The Mystification Factor

by Lauren Frock
June 29, 2012

“Hipsters deserve to die. “

“Cat lovers deserve to die. “

“Crazy old aunts deserve to die. “

Phrases such as these were printed on signs by The Lung Cancer Alliance anonymously at the beginning of the campaign in order to bring awareness to their cause. Posters and billboards were seen around cities on bus stops and buildings with the shocking statements. People that saw the posters expressed that were offended and some exclaimed that they thought the ads were horrible.


The website for the campaign displayed a countdown until the cause was revealed online. As many people had guessed from the statistics, the campaign was for lung cancer with the disclaimer that “No one deserves to die.” 

It’s safe to say this campaign created quite a buzz, but is this the right way to inform the public about a cause? 

What do you think?

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Green Butterfly Effect

by Lauren Frock
June 27, 2012

In my post about summer goals a few weeks ago, I mentioned making some green lifestyle alterations. So far I’d say that has been pretty successful! I definitely feel like I’m holding up more of my end in being more environmentally conscious than I was before.


Here are five changes I’ve made to my daily lifestyle in favor of maintaining a healthy environment, or at least minimizing the damage:

1. Reduce omissions: As many of my coworkers know, I’ve started taking the Metrorail. Several people have asked me about it and have regretted that decision after hearing me launched into my spiel about why it is fantastic. It has been a huge saver of everything and I recommend it for anyone that likes saving money on gas, parking fees downtown, and wasted time sitting in traffic. It usually adds about fifteen minutes to my daily commute, but if that’s subtracted from the time I’d spend in traffic it’s about even and it gives me time to read, study, or talk to people. All of these personal advantages orbit around the big advantage; public transportation is much more environmentally friendly than personal vehicles.

2. Reduce waste: I used to be really bad about purchasing bottled water. I drink a lot of water, so I tend to go through a 24-pack very quickly. Globally, 2.7 million tons of water bottle plastic is used annually.  That is a lot! I decided that in order to do my part, I should start carrying my own refillable bottle to work with me, and wherever I go, to reduce water bottle waste I contribute. Not to mention, many studies claim that filtered tap can have positive benefits for dental health.  If you aren’t especially fond of tap water straight from the kitchen sink, filtering tap water at home is a great alternative that tastes better and promotes eco-friendly water consumption. Brita’s Filter for Good  program is a great initiative aimed at reducing bottled water waste.

3. Become more energy conscious: Let’s face it. Texas is HOT. In a state where 100 degrees and higher is the norm, it’s tough to give up blasting the AC on the hottest summer days. I admit; I have never paid particular attention to conserving energy when it comes to monitoring my thermostat or being aware of the resources I consume during the hot summer months. I recently downloaded an app called ERCOT. It is great at informing me about ways to cut back with conservation tips via text. It’s very convenient and the energy suggestions offer green alternatives to help beat the heat.  


4. Reduce light energy: Did you know that 19% of all energy produced is used for lighting? I have not been the best steward of this valuable resource, so recently I have been making several attempts to cut back on the amount of energy I consume for lighting purposes. In the office and during the day at home I always use natural light. Studies show that natural light “lifts spirits, makes spaces appear larger and lessens demands on electricity, an important factor in today’s energy – conscious world. Natural light also has been shown to reduce eyestrain, increase productivity and even decrease absenteeism in the workplace.” Natural light is overall proven to promote better health than the alternative.

Another step I’ve taken is being more diligent in turning off lights in unoccupied rooms. Lighting rooms that are not being used is not only potentially costly, but also very wasteful. Of the estimated 20% of energy produced used for lighting, approximately half of that is wasted lighting empty rooms or as heat produced by inefficient bulbs and lighting fixtures. This leads to my next initiative. I’ve started replacing my light bulbs as they burn out with CFL light bulbs. These are also known as the swirly ones that are now gaining popularity as people strive to live greener lifestyles. These bulbs reduce energy consumption by 75% without sacrificing quality. They are considerably more expensive than incandescent light bulbs, but they last a lot longer and help conserve energy.

5. Reduce entertainment product waste: The last green initiative I’ve started recently is reducing the amount of waste I produce for entertainment purposes. I used to be pretty bad about purchasing and subscribing to magazines and reading newspapers and disposing of them finished. I have started keeping up with news and publications more through the internet and mobile apps, which are more frequently updated and reduce waste. 28.5% of all recyclable waste is paper waste. Fortunately, recycling efforts have kicked up and in 2010, 72% (7 million tons) of paper waste was recovered. Another source of waste people often don’t think about is CD’s and DVD’s. Although CD’s and DVD’s can be recycled, it is extremely costly. The resouces need to recycle this material, which is class 7 recyclable plastic, is 300 cubic feet of natural gas, 2 cups of crude oil and 24 gallons of water Although is can be done, a greener alternative is to reduce the use of those discs at all. The music industry has mostly shifted to MP3’s over CD production, but downloading MP3’s and streaming movies online is a greener way to enjoy the same entertainment at a lower cost to the environment.

These are some of my first steps in being nicer to our planet. I plan on continuing to research ways to cut back and conserve natural researches and limit my carbon footprint on the environment.

For more ideas on conservation around the home, check out www.futurefriendly.com

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According to a government estimate, “the average American spends 90% of his or her life indoors, and as we get older we become even more inclined not to venture out.” 

Did you know that being outside could have positive benefits to your health? Being outside can raise vitamin D levels, increase exercise, improve concentration and healing, and inspire happiness.  Vitamin D has immunity increasing benefits and helps prevent anything from depression to strokes.

As I mentioned in my blog post last week, I have some big goals I want to reach by the end of the summer. One of them was to get outside more because it’s good for the body, mind, and soul, and just because Austin feels so great in the summer time. This weekend I focused on tackling that goal and had a great time in the process. It was an amazing weekend filled with sunsets, fireflies, and my dog, Molly, that I might have a minor obsession with.

The first thing I did was enjoy an evening out on South Congress. I had dinner out at the food trucks and afterwards, checked out the Austin Pets Alive! Trailer. (Is this not the cutest sleeping puppies picture you’ve ever seen?! )


After getting my fix of cute puppies, and fantastic food I enjoyed some live music and arts and crafts in tents across from the food trailers. It was a great evening!

The next night I went for a nice little kayak trip and had a picnic with my family and Molly. Luckily not too many bugs were out, which is the best thing about early summer. It was very peaceful and exactly what I needed after a hectic week.


Little Hands, Big Heart

by Lauren Frock
June 12, 2012

So far I’m really enjoying my adventures as the intern for I Live Here I Give Here. I will admit, though, that this wasn’t always the plan for this summer. In late February I was accepted onto a team that would be going on a trip to Bologna, Italy, to do college ministry. I was looking forward to a really amazing experience and had begun the fundraising process to raise the hefty sum that would cover all expenses for the six-week trip.


Unfortunately, I had a minor injury that ultimately ended in a change of plans. After talking in great length with my surgeon and the project coordinator, we decided it would be better to resign from the project. I was pretty disappointed about the whole situation, but fortunate enough to come across the opportunity for this internship. Although I ended up not raising the rest of the funds to reach my original goal, the brief experience I had with support raising was profoundly eye opening.

I held a presentation to raise awareness of the trip and to form partnerships. I had slides prepared and offered a brief summary of the project, discussing the objectives the team would be striving for.  I even made a letter that I mailed out to friends and family. Shortly after I reached the conclusion that I would not be able to go on the trip and released the news to everyone that had been sponsoring me, I heard about a little girl named Lexy, who has a huge heart for a ten-year-old.

 Lexy saw the presentation and was so inspired to help with funding the trip, but had nothing to donate. She went home and made necklaces to sell at school and around her neighborhood. When I heard of her efforts I was so touched. I had received many checks from donors with much bigger numbers on them than the amount that Lexy had raised, but she had given of herself, which is something truly priceless. She had nothing, yet was so inspired to give that she combined her creativity and passion to help support the cause.

I went home and meditated on Lexy’s good deed for hours. How many times had I settled for the three words, “I have nothing”, rather than getting up and doing something about it?

An Arab Proverb says, “If you have much, give of your wealth; If you have little, give of your heart.” Lexy’s donation efforts were the perfect example of this and prove a very remarkable point; it doesn’t take a millionaire, a person of great authority, or even an elementary school education to make a difference. In the grand scheme of things, the sum that Lexy raised could not, alone, get me to Italy. However, she gave something much greater than that. Her actions gave me the wake up call I needed to see that my heart and mind were not in the right place when it came to understanding what it meant to truly give.

When was the last time you gave from your heart? 

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