Building Capacity and Wagging Tails 


In 2015 the Foundation had the opportunity to provide essential capital to help two nonprofits that provide veterinary care for the animal companions of people with low-incomes build their capacity through a merger. A grant of $126,000, one of the largest made from the Community Grants program in the Foundation’s 40-year history, brought together the best services of two well-loved groups, Emancipet and Animal Trustees of Austin.

Animal Trustees and Emancipet had collaborated for many years on programs and initiatives to improve the lives of Austin pets, and the boards of both groups decided a merger would best benefit our community.  Together, they could do more good for local pets.

“We were proud to support the merger of these two organizations. Our investment clearly helped them leverage their strengths while building efficiency and enhancing their mission,” recalls Mike Nellis, CEO of Austin Community Foundation. 

“The Foundation is committed to providing working capital to nonprofit organizations at every stage of their development through grants and impact investments.”

The merged organization, Emancipet, is now greater than the sum of its parts, serving more Austin-area people and pets with safe, affordable and compassionate veterinary services. Because of the merger, more low-income families in Central Texas have the accessibility to care for a pet.

The Community Grants Program is how the Foundation leverages the interests and resources of its funds and fundholders in response to local nonprofit grant requests. In 2016, the Foundation awarded $2.3 million in Community Grants to organizations in our community.