Civic Futures Awards

Grants for equity and inclusion

City of Austin

Equity Office

The problem

Small, local grassroots organizations were not able to access City funding and grant opportunities in the past due to prohibitive administrative costs. The City also lacked a framework to directly invest in the lived experience, expertise, innovation, and creativity of the City of Austin community.

Solution / Approach

We collaborated with Austin Public Health to conduct listening sessions with community members who had not received City of Austin grant funding to identify and solve for the barriers. We then created a “Request for Grant Applications,” featuring up-front award of payment instead of costly receipt-based reimbursement, waived insurance requirements to ensure the funding goes directly to the project, and streamlined the application process.

Core team
  • Brion Oaks
  • Brandon Kroos
  • Robert Rowan
Key advisors
  • Amanda Afifi
  • Kimberly Curette
  • Elaina Fowler
  • Kirk Yoshida
  • Laura LaFuente
  • Jesus Pantel
  • Michelle Clemons
  • Gloria Villasenor
  • Meghan Wells
  • John Hilbun
  • Shawn Willett
  • Heather Lockhart
What can make it sustainable?

There is work outside of the funding cycle to connect organizations working on related issues to build coalitions and leverage collective impact.

Advice to others

Be courageous in pushing for new approaches. We received many concerned phone calls about our approach, but in order to transform our City, and transform the outcomes for our communities of color, we cannot continue to try the same approaches we always have.