14 Austin Nonprofit Leaders Offer Advice to New City Council

Leadership – MariBen Ramsey, Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer, General Counsel of Austin Community Foundation

MariBenI would issue a call to action for our new leaders to focus on the increasing economic division that threatens the very fabric of our community. Austin is a city where 1 in 10 households are millionaires—and at the same time about 250,000 people in the Austin area are living in poverty. Austin is number-one in the state for teens having their second child, and only a quarter of 8th graders will complete any kind of post-high school training or college. Meanwhile, Austin tops national lists for best place to do business. Such disparity of opportunity threatens the quality of life we’ve worked hard to create.

Our community is generous with our time and money, but philanthropy can only go so far to bridge the growing income gap. It will take thoughtful and intentional leadership to make citywide decisions about how to harness Austin’s entrepreneurial spirit to make Austin a wonderful place for everyone to live.

Leadership – Kenneth L. Gladish, President and CEO of The Seton Foundations

Ken GladishAs a new Austin mayor and city council take office in 2015, our new city leaders have an historic opportunity to shape municipal government and our collective future. It takes a lot of energy and courage to stand for election. It takes even more to govern in an effective, efficient and courageous way.

My hope for our newly elected leaders is that they will make Austin and its future their “cause”, putting aside narrower interests for a collective aspiration encompassing all of our city’s diversity, opportunity and possibility.

My hope for them and us is expressed in the rhyme: “Our Cause is Austin”

Our cause is Austin-
Its people place and care.

Our cause is Austin-
Its water land and air.

Our cause is Austin-
Its beauty, art and song.

Our cause is Austin-
For all and everyone.

Our cause is Austin-
Those with and those without.

Our cause is Austin-
Of this. there can’t be doubt.

In our work…
The cause of Austin is meant to be so real,

That those who join aside us
Should act, and work, and feel,

As if this place of Austin
Is not just a welcome home,

But more than that…
It is a promise of the best which is to come.

In democracy, community and generosity multiplied,
An Austin of great vigor, equality, and care,

In which the many living here
Can dream and act and dare,

To build a city greater
In which we all might share.

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