2017 New Board Members

Bringing New Talent “On Board”

Last month, we were thrilled to welcome three new community leaders to our board of directors:

As an associate at Duggins Wren Mann & Romero, LLP, James Nortey focuses on commercial litigation, commercial transactions, administrative law, and energy matters.  James has been awarded the Leadership Austin Ascendant Award, the Greater Austin Black Chamber Emerging Leader of the Year, and the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award from Austin Young Lawyers Association.

At JPMorgan Chase, Yvette Ruiz serves as the Vice President of Community Relations and Nonprofit Management, a role primarily focused on supporting the needs of low-income communities by advancing policies and programs that are key to economic growth and prosperity.   Yvette was appointed by Mayor Adler to the City of Austin Commission for Women and by Sherri Gallo to the City of Austin Hispanic and Latino Quality of Life Commission.

Vesna Sviglin recently began a role as the Business Process Improvement Manager at Centene Corporation, a multi-national healthcare enterprise.   

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Congrats, Student Opportunity Fund Recipients!

In the Fall of 2016, Austin Ed Fund launched a new program:  the Student Opportunity Fund!

This initiative supports small time-sensitive campus-based projects that support educational enhancement opportunities for economically disadvantaged students.  We know our talented students can accomplish great feats when they are provided opportunities and resources.  That’s where the Student Opportunity Fund comes in.

Austin Ed Fund is thrilled to announce our inaugural recipients, funded for projects totaling $50,000 in fall 2016:

  • Maverick Green STEM Launch: Supporting quality STEM-focused field trips, digital cameras, and creation of a Community Garden as part of Mendez Middle School’s new signature STEM academy
  • Refugee Student and Family Support: Funding native-language academic tutoring and bilingual dictionaries for refugee students across the district to support their academic, social, cultural, and language transition to Austin ISD
  • Student-Led Incentives for Brotherhood Accountability: Funding incentive-based field trips at Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy,
Andrews pic

An Apple for Teacher…and Much More!

It has been a whirlwind last month for Austin Ed Fund- training, supporting, celebrating, surprising, visiting, and honoring our most valuable resources here in Austin ISD…..our teachers.

We know our students cannot succeed without stellar, motivated, supported educators at the helm each and every day.  We are so grateful to have community support behind Austin Ed Fund to help ensure our teachers have the resources they need to be creative with their students.  We believe our teachers are champions and we’re glad our supporters believe that, too!

Our adventures started in late May when our board and staff journeyed around the city, surprising the 2016 Innovation Grants award winners in front of their students and campus leadership.  This year’s application process was particularly competitive and it was a challenge to narrow the grant requests down to the $75,000 awarded.  To bring a smile to your face, check out photos from these joyful visits here.  We can’t wait to hear what our grant recipients accomplish with their students in 2016-17.

TIU Live winners

Innovation is the Name of the Game

The buzzword for Spring 2016 in our office: Innovation.

It started with co-hosting the Think It Up Live event at Crockett Middle School in early March.  This “Shark Tank for Students” competition brought nearly 50 AISD middle and high school student-teacher teams together for a fast-paced opportunity to brainstorm, develop, and pitch their most creative project ideas to a panel of judges for funding.  A beaming team from the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, featured above with celebrity judges Andy Roddick and Brooklyn Decker, won the grand prize of $1,000 for their “Green SAFE” produce spoilage tracker project.

They weren’t the only big winners of the day, however: thanks to the generosity of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), all participating teams earned seed funding for their projects and the potential to secure additional matching funds by posting their projects on Donors Choose.  Thank you for your investment in our community,

Jesse Mayor


Thank you.  Thank you.  Our gratitude is boundless.

Thank you to all our community supporters who helped make our inaugural  Inspire the Future Luncheon on November 5th a success, helping raise nearly $220,000 to support our mission.  From our amazing sponsors to those who joined as founding members of our Leadership Giving Circle, our community showed its willingness to invest in our students- and thus to invest in the future of Austin.  Thank you to our media sponsor the Austin American-Statesman for highlighting the importance of our work and encouraging others to join us as champions for public education. We’re grateful to Mayor Steve Adler and other leaders for showing support for our work.

Thank you to the AISD team worked tirelessly to make this event a success- particularly the Office of Innovation and Development and the Department of Communications and Community Engagement.  Channel 22’s stellar team perfectly captured why each student hopes the Austin community will “Invest in Me.”


New Year, New Opportunities

Ahhh, the first day of school. There’s an excitement in the air, a skip in one’s step, an enthusiasm for the adventures to come…..accompanied by a little bit of nervousness. “Things are different than my classroom last year—will this new grade and teacher be harder? How will I figure out exactly what’s expected of me?” That mix of anticipation and apprehension is as much a part of the first day of school as the brand new spiral notebooks and unsharpened pencils.

It’s a “new day of school” here at Austin Ed Fund too. We’ve spent all spring and summer preparing for our transformation and we couldn’t be more excited that the time has finally arrived. Our inaugural Innovation Grants opportunity opened for teacher applications last week. (Teachers, apply by September 24th for a chance to win funding for your most creative project ideas!) We’re eagerly preparing for our first formal fundraising event, the Inspire the Future Luncheon on November 5th. (There are still opportunities to get involved as a sponsor—learn more here!


And We’re Live!

Welcome to the new Austin Ed Fund website! We’re thrilled to launch this space to showcase all the amazing things going on in AISD and all the ways that you, our community, can get involved in supporting and investing in our next generation of scholars, professionals, and community leaders.

We’re excited that the Austin American-Statesman recently published an editorial about our organization’s transformation authored by our Board Chair, Darrell Pierce. Read on to learn about our new direction and how we plan to support innovation and excellence in AISD.


Announcing Innovation Grants

Austin Ed Fund is pleased to announce the launch of its Innovation Grants (IG) program in Fall 2015. An exciting opportunity exclusively for Austin ISD classrooms and campuses, Innovation Grants are designed to encourage, facilitate, recognize and reward innovative and creative instructional approaches to the accomplishment of learning objectives.

At Austin Ed Fund, we believe that often the most transformational educational ideas come from our teachers, students, and administrators—and we also recognize that there is typically not room in the campus budgets to make these ideas a reality. This is where funds we raise from the greater community can have a transformational impact.