As part of our 90-day celebration of UWATX’s 90th anniversary, we’re working on 10 lists of 9 highlighting influential and impactful people in the Austin community. In the eighth part of our series, we bring you nine local businesses invested in giving back.
We’re a city that prides itself on our weirdness – and a big part of what makes Austin different is how much we love local business and how many businesses come from Austin. We’re a city that nurtures small businesses and attracts entrepreneurs – and we’re also a city that gives back. In that spirit, we are highlighting 9 businesses that are both homegrown in Austin and give back to our community.
1. Alt Creative
Alt Creative is an interactive design agency that makes giving back a core part of their work – they blog about the importance of small business being philanthropic and even have a page on their site dedicated to their philanthropic impact. In 2013, they were a finalist for the AustinGives GeneroCity Awards.
2. Kerbey Lane (UWATX Partner)
Besides making delicious pancakes, Kerbey Lane also makes our community better. The iconic Austin restaurant was founded in 1980 on the idea that food should be fresh and locally grown, and to this day, they continue to support local farms and producers. They also make time for employee volunteering projects through our Hands On Central Texas program, adopted local child care centers through our Success By 6 Center Project and are active in other community efforts. Kerbey Lane is truly a company committed to make Austin greater – and we couldn’t be more proud to work with them! (Can’t get enough Kerbey? Read more about the on Austinot!)
3. ABC Home & Commercial Services (UWATX Partner)
With many businesses, so much depends on the founder or head of the company to set the tone – and Bobby Jenkins, President of ABC Home & Commercial Services, has set a strong culture of giving back. ABC has been a UWATX partner since 2012, running an Employee Campaign and participating in volunteer projects as an investment in our community. In addition, Bobby served as Employee Campaign Co-Chair for two years and is a strong advocate for the importance of philanthropy in local communities.
4. Zuma Office Supply
Zuma Office Supply puts giving front and center – they give more than 50 percent of their profits to charity, a fact they proudly display on their home page. Zuma’s story starts with philanthropy – the company was founded very intentionally with the goal to provide great service and competitive prices while giving back to the community. In 2014, Zuma won the Austin Gives GeneroCity Award for companies with less than 50 employees.
5. Silicon Labs
Silicon Labs was named Philanthropic Corporation of the Year by the Austin chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2009. Overall, Silicon Labs is committed to the Austin community and they show it by volunteering and providing financial support for organizations making Austin greater. They’ve also previously won the Austin Chamber of Commerce Greater Austin Business Award for Community relations.
6. CLS Partners (UWATX Partner)
Besides providing great employee benefit services, CLS Partners is also committed to making Austin greater. They’ve been a UWATX partner for several years and regularly participated in Days of Caring – giving their employees time to volunteer in a community-wide day of giving back. CLS Partners is also a member of Austin Gives and has made a commitment to donate at least 1 percent of their pre-tax earnings.
7. Realty Austin
Also a member of Austin Gives, Realty Austin focuses their philanthropic efforts on areas relevant to their business – they focus volunteering and fundraising around affordable housing. Each year, they pledge a certain amount, a matching fund and a number of volunteer hours to help families realize their dream of home ownership, thus linking their professional work with their philanthropic work.
Bazaarvoice believes in giving locally – whether that’s at home in Austin or abroad at offices in Amsterdam and elsewhere. In 2013, the company was recognized with the Community Excellence Award from the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Central Texas and was listed #15 in the ABJ’s List of Austin Corporate Philanthropists in 2008.
9. ThunderCloud Subs
For ThunderCloud Subs, supporting our community is part of who they are. Founded in Austin in 1975, they’ve been making Austin greater and making fresh sandwiches for more than 40 years. ThunderCloud puts half of it’s marketing budget each year into sponsoring nonprofit events, and they specifically focus on food issues, a tie-in to their business. They are also a member of Austin Gives.
BONUS shout-outs: There are just too many giving Austin companies to only include nine – so here’s a few extras: Tiff’s Treats includes a nonprofit element in every new location opening, buildasign.com has a giving program, Creative Suitcase has helped define the visual style of some of Austin’s most iconic organizations (including UWATX!) and H-E-B, though they started in San Antonio, are a true model of philanthropy and community engagement in every way.