Austin Catalyst Fund Research and Community Dialogue

Image of downtown Austin

Austin’s nonprofit sector is experiencing booming growth, with community need rapidly rising and geographically expanding to levels that far outpace the delivery of service. Meanwhile, the number of grantmaking foundations, along with foundation assets, struggle to return to pre-recession levels. In an effort to close the need-funding gap and deliver deeper impact, communities across the United States have launched “catalyst funds” to encourage a wide range of nonprofit collaboration efforts, from confidential exploratory conversations to a merger.

Austin nonprofit executives, board leaders, and grantmakers gathered for an initial community conversation about the research along with a featured speaker and representative of the Better Together Fund recently launched in Dallas, Texas.

Some findings from a survey distributed at this event include: 

  • 92% are "not aware of the nonprofit collaborations going on in Austin today."
  • Over 70% believe strongly (8 or higher) that there is a growing gap between need and funding in Austin.
  • Over a third of respondents rated a 10 (out of 10) saying a catalyst fund would have an immediate impact in Austin.
  • Over 80% of respondents are interested, to some degree (6 or higher on a scale of 10) in helping establish a catalyst fund. 
  • Challenges with the availability and quality of consultants were ranked as the highest obstacle to collaboration in Austin

Additional information to download on this topic:

RGK Center Report on Catalyst Funds and Austin Nonprofit Collaboration

Austin Catalyst Fund Event Binder

Austin Catalyst Fund Event Slide Deck

Special thanks to the event steering council members: Anne and Rich Smalling, Austin Community Foundation, Better Together Fund, CivicAim, I Live Here I Give Here, LBJ Presidential Library, Mission Capital, One Skye Foundation, RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service, St. David’s Foundation, and United Way for Greater Austin.


April 26, 2018