Impact Austin gives major grants to local non-profits

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by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and Photojournalist DENNIS THOMAS

kvue.com

Posted on June 17, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 17 at 6:01 PM

AUSTIN -- Monday was a good day for some Central Texas non-profits. A major grant means they can do much more to help the community. The group Impact Austin awarded more than $500,000 to five local charities.

Impact Austin is a group of 500 women who each donate $1,000 to fund the yearly grants.

“We believe by pooling resources together we can make a larger impact in the community,” said Executive Director Liz Fitzgerald. She added that deciding which programs get that money is not an easy task.

“They look at a program that's a new program or going to be an expansion of an old program and that's really going to have an impact in Central Texas,” she said. 

Each non-profit received $101,000.

This year's grant recipients are: Lifeworks, the Colorado River Alliance, GENaustin, the Zach Scott Theatre, and Manos de Cristo.

“I literally danced in the street when they called and said 'Yes, you won,'” said Executive Director of Manos de Cristo Julie Ballesteros.

That organization runs a low-fee, full service dental clinic on East Cesar Chavez for those with little to no insurance.

“We serve 4,200 patients a year, and these are people that have no other access to oral health care,” Ballesteros said.

There are only four treatment chairs inside the tiny clinic. Everyone, including those needing emergency care, can wait six to eight weeks for an appointment.

The grant money from Impact Austin is helping the organization construct a new, bigger dental clinic. 

“The expansion is going to mean we can go from four chairs to 11 chairs, which means we'll be able to serve 7,000 patients a year,” Ballesteros said. “We're a small organization, and so this for us is huge.”

The new clinic is set to open within the next few months.

Over the past 10 years, Impact Austin has given out more than $4,000,000 to local non profits.

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