We’re excited to launch a new year with Women United. This group of incredible and passionate women are advancing equity in early childhood education through their membership and we couldn’t be more grateful.
Tracy Fielder is just one of the 210 women who are supporting our youngest Austinities. Learn more about her work in creating a personal legacy of moving the needle on equity here in Greater Austin. Learn more about Tracy and why she joined Women United.
How long have you been in Austin?
“My husband and I moved our young family to Austin in 1996. We feel fortunate to live in such a diverse, creative, and vibrant city.”
What is your favorite thing about Austin?
“I love to be outdoors, and the Lady Bird Hike-and-Bike Trail is my go-to spot. This is where I walk my dogs, connect with friends, laugh, reflect, decompress, and of course, exercise. I also enjoy live music, especially blues and old gospel, at many of our iconic venues. Throw in a yummy bite from one of our local food trucks and I’ve had an amazing day.”
What is one thing you want everyone to know about you?
“I’m compassionate. I care about many things, but inequities in education really matter to me. I grew up in a home where education was the key to everything. My parents set a high bar for academic achievement, but also ensured my sister and I were keenly aware of the educational divide and how fortunate we were. My mother served as a trustee for our school board, rallied for affordable housing in safe areas with good schools, and both parents mentored several young students through their middle and high school years. Faith in her work was tested when my mother was held at gunpoint in our own home by two young men, ironically after attending a march for violence against women. She found forgiveness and remained resolute in her work, affirming that education was and always will be a top priority. I share my mother’s story because this is what drives me. Every day we create our own personal legacy. I hope mine is a story about moving the needle, even a bit, towards equity, not only in education, but in preventative health and wellness.”
What prompted you to join Women United and what interests you in our work around early childhood education?
“I see the significant impact United Way is making for families in need in Greater Austin. When I was introduced to Women United, I immediately wanted to join. The Success by Six Coalition, in particular, resonates with me as I’ve raised three children. I believe every child should have an equal starting point, and early childhood development lays the groundwork for successful academic and career prospects. With quality early programming around the “whole” child, we can mitigate the impact of economic disparity and create young independent learners who want to explore and question the world around them. Our goals are to foster confident, inquisitive minds, eager and ready to move on to the next level of learning. Now that’s meaningful work – literally changing the trajectory of young lives.”
What has your first year as a member of Women United been like? What have you learned?
“Although our ability to gather in person has been put on hold, I have still managed to meet charismatic people and attend informative virtual events. The Empowered Women Empower Women event was incredibly impactful. We heard from an inspiring panel of leaders who shared their experiences around family, work and volunteerism, while conveying their best practices for finding balance. I still have a sticky note on my computer that reads, “Pour yourself into buckets that make you happy . . . Find your own peace.” It’s a good reminder that most of us are juggling quite a bit, and oftentimes self-care is at the bottom of a demanding to-do list. Taking care of ourselves, emotionally and physically, is essential to staying healthy, energized and resilient in our work.”
Women United is a diverse, vibrant donor network supporting United Way for Greater Austin. Members are committed to creating a powerful, female-driven philanthropic force to improve early childhood education in Greater Austin. Women United members support United Way’s early childhood education initiatives, part of a community-wide collaboration called Success By 6.