Sponsored Post – from Earth Day Austin
Written by Janis Bookout, Executive Director of Earth Day Austin, the new, independent, and locally-based nonprofit behind the Earth Day ATX festival.
A couple of weeks ago, we published the following open letter as we approached the rescheduled festival date for Earth Day ATX. Since then, we received enough community support to be able to produce the rescheduled event—a beautiful success with live music, exhibitors, and interactive activities for all ages. Thank you to everyone who came together and made this possible. We were thrilled to be able to produce the festival this year, and we are excited to move forward with our year-round work as well as preparation for the 50th anniversary festival in 2020. But we still need your support. Please read below and consider what you can do to ensure Earth Day Austin can continue to provide one of the best (and free) family festivals in Central Texas, and prepare for an incredible 50th anniversary Earth Day event next year. Make a donation now or read on for our story and more ways to help. You can also read more about our year-round work.
There are moments in life when you realize you need to stop and ask for help. Earth Day Austin is at that point. I’m Janis Bookout, and I’d like to share our story with you and ask for your support. Below is how to help, and here is our story:
When Earth Day Texas Austin (the previous non-profit behind the Earth Day ATX festival) closed its doors last summer, I decided to pick up the torch and create a new, independent and locally-funded nonprofit, Earth Day Austin. I had two reasons: 1) I did not want to see the best, free, family festival go away the year before the 50th anniversary of Earth Day; and 2) because Earth Day Austin could serve the community well by convening community leaders to facilitate systemic solutions that make a difference for all Austinites.
I work with the most committed and passionate people you’ll meet in our city. The interconnected community of activists and organizers, of nonprofit and business leaders, all have one thing in common: they are guided by their vision of the future they want for Austin and beyond. This is a city with heart.
Shortly after the decision to move forward with my vision, Liz Belete from the Science March joined me to form this new nonprofit. Starting from zero operational funding, we worked six months with no income, followed by very tight budget management. We built one of the strongest and most inclusive Board of Directors in town, followed shortly thereafter by an incredible staff team. We did this in the face of a significant financial gap and through tireless work. We raised the money; we curated a beautiful event.
Canceling the festival on April 13th was heartbreaking. The event line up included incredible interactive activities for people of all ages, over 150 exhibitors, live music, and multilingual interpreters for our attendees. The stage, tables, and chairs were delivered and set. Exhibitors were setting up. It was our community coming together, on display at Huston-Tillotson University.
After re-evaluating our next steps, we decided to move forward with the rain date April 27th, despite financial challenges due to already paying for one festival this year. We still wanted to keep our word to provide a space for our community to come together and to begin conversations on longer-term initiatives that we can carry forward through the remainder of the year leading up to our 2020 event. That space must be accessible and open to every person in our community, because everyone’s voice matters – no matter their background, financial situation, language, or ability. Earth Day is for every one of us.
So what’s next? Now that the 2019 Earth Day ATX festival is complete, we still need to cover significant costs, including staffing the festival and other operational expenses. We’re closing the gap, but we’re not there yet. Coming soon, we will announce a big fund-raising event, but in the meantime, all contributions are much-needed and very welcome.
At the heart of community leadership is the community itself – rising naturally behind a shared vision. Here’s Earth Day’s vision: a resilient community of communities working in partnership toward a vibrant Austin that works for everyone.
If you can support this vision and the festival, below is how to help.
Thank you for your partnership,
Please note – editorials and sponsored posts are written by guest writers to inform and educate the community on a variety of different viewpoints, as well as to share information about local eco-friendly businesses and organizations. However, they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Austin EcoNetwork.