Partnerships of Non-Profit Organizations in Central Texas: Strengthening Capacity and Maximizing Impact

Austin Together is a non-profit organization that works to strengthen the capacity of religious and community organizations in Central Texas. It was founded by an advisory board of business, civic and non-profit leaders, with the intention of creating better outcomes for the local community. The organization helps to build stronger partnerships between organizations and to expand faith-based and community-based initiatives. The 82nd Texas Legislature passed the 1965 House of Representatives bill, which directs the expansion of faith-based and community-based initiatives in Texas.

The main components of these initiatives include agency liaison activities, the inter-agency coordination group, and the Working Group to improve relationships with non-profit organizations. The first step is to improve coordination and metrics for quality OST programs in Central Texas. Steven Rathgeb Smith, in his book Government Funding for Nonprofit Activities, examines the many ways in which the government finances non-profit activities and considers the potential impact of this funding on the organizational culture of nonprofit organizations and the services they provide. Wealthy communities can also use nonprofit organizations to meet their needs, while not providing tax revenues for public education and other human and public health services for low-income residents. Nonprofit organizations that have broad public purposes and are organized for educational, religious, scientific, literary, poverty alleviation, and other public benefit activities can apply for charitable organization status under section 501 (c) () (of the Tax Code). Vermont had a density of 15 organizations per 10,000 people, compared to five in Texas and nearly seven nationwide (see Figure I).

Nonprofit organizations in the United States are primarily defined and regulated under the federal tax code. Civil rights groups, in collaboration with religious and other organizations, attacked racial segregation in this country through direct action, lobbying, advocacy, litigation, and public education. Community members see voluntary organizations in more organic terms, as the forerunners of government and the market and, therefore, as one of the most basic social relationships that connect people and create communities. Austin Together is accepting applications from nonprofit organizations interested in exploring collaborations and is seeking new funding partners to support impactful alliances in Central Texas. The members of the working group are representatives of a state non-profit organization, a local government, a religious group, a community group, consultants from non-profit corporations, an expert in grant writing, and a state association of non-profit organizations. The two organizations signed a management contract with the intention of merging and are carrying out a due diligence process as the final step in the merger process. Founded by an advisory board of business, civic and non-profit leaders, Austin Together helps strengthen nonprofit organizations in Central Texas through sustained collaborations that increase capacity and maximize impact.

There are 1.5 million children waiting to enroll in OST programs in Central Texas alone; more than 7 million children live in Texas overall; and more than 5 million attend public schools.

Tara Hudspeth
Tara Hudspeth

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