Mission Possible: Making Nonprofits More Effective
At the turn of the millennia, Central Texas nonprofit leaders recognized that as Austin grew, local nonprofits needed training and tools to help them be more effective. A key group of nonprofit, public, and private sector leaders met together to share ideas and strategize. To make the initiative truly responsive to the local community, they performed outreach and convened lunchtime listening sessions to determine needs of Central Texas nonprofits.
When the Austin Nonprofit Resource Network (soon to be renamed Greenlights for Nonprofit Success) incorporated in 2001, MariBen Ramsey of the Austin Community Foundation served on its board, former Foundation Board of Governors chair Libby Malone was its first board president, and Austin Community Foundation provided fiscal sponsorship. Deborah Edward served as the first executive director.
“Austin Community Foundation was an important cheerleader, providing access, credibility, and support—including an early seed grant,” recalls Edward. “From the beginning,” she says, “the Foundation helped identify and convene leaders, and modeled a spirit of mutual respect, encouragement, and true collaboration for the common good.”
Since its founding, the organization has trained more than 1,500 people through conferences and courses; includes in its member network more than 3,000 nonprofit professionals, board members, and community leaders; and provides expert tools for leadership, management, social innovation, and governance to help nonprofits increase their impact. The organization has helped lead successful nonprofit mergers and issued pivotal reports on fundraising effectiveness in Central Texas and nonprofit workforce trends. In 2015, Greenlights became Mission Capital, evolving from a nonprofit resource into a community resource and partner focused on solving complex social issues.