Texanthropy Spotlight is where First Lady Cecilia Abbott will highlight individuals and organizations from all across Texas who are helping to make a difference through service and volunteering.
There were eleven GVA winners in 2016 and eight have been highlighted so far. Today I’m going to tell you about the winner of the GVA for Corporate Community Impact: Blue Corps, which is a group of employee volunteers at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.
The Corporate Community Impact Award recognizes a private sector entity for implementing employee volunteer programs that have had a positive community impact. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas has community service as a core value and business strategy, but they go beyond occasional volunteering and are committed to long-term community engagement. Blue Corps is a perfect example of that. For more than 80 years, Blue Corps employee volunteers have lived, worked, and volunteered in their communities. And not only do Blue Corps employee volunteers give their time, they also earn matching grants for the organizations – which they call Community Partners – they serve. For each hour an employee volunteers with a Community Partner, money is donated to that Partner. In 2015 alone, more than 1,875 Blue Corps employee volunteers donated 33,021 personal volunteer hours to 83 Community Partners, which received $101,380 matching dollars.
Congratulations to Blue Corps for your outstanding commitment to improving your communities and the lives of your neighbors, and thank you to all of the Blue Corps employee volunteers – and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas – for all that you have done to help your fellow Texans succeed.
As Texans, we really are one family, and we are called to care for each other. This weekend I am attending a very special event that aims to inspire and educate Texans about the ways they can support one particular population of Texans – the children and families in the state’s foster care system.
The fun-filled, free, family-friendly The Place to Stay concert will feature the music of Radney Foster and Kyle Hutton from their newly released album, The Foster EP, and it is sure to be a blast! The Foster EP is a collection of songs exploring the emotions and realities of the children in the Texas foster care system, and the concert hopes to inspire and educate attendees on the opportunities to become involved in enriching the lives of these children and families.
The concert will take place at the LifeAustin Amphitheatre and starts at 6pm. I hope you'll join me, Texas Music Office Director Brendon Anthony, Radney Foster, Kyle Hutton, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner Hank Whitman and others on Sunday. Come on out and help support the children and families in the Texas foster care system.
If you love Texas history and music as much as I do, then you will definitely want to check out the Texas Dance Hall Tour.
Texas music legend Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel has created what he calls a “land cruise” – a six-day tour making stops at five historic dance halls in the Texas Hill Country and East Texas, including Luckenbach Dance Hall and Sengelmann Hall. This tour will introduce visitors to the true charm of Texas and raise awareness of the growing need to help preserve our historic dance halls.
Sengelmann Hall in Schulenburg
The 2017 Texas Dance Hall Tour is March 20th to 26th, and proceeds from the tour benefit the Texas Dance Hall Preservation, an incredible organization that is committed to saving historic Texas dance halls and the authentic music and culture that is still found in them.
Texas dance halls have been the heart and soul of communities throughout our history. In fact, at the turn of the 20th century, more than 1,000 dance halls flourished throughout the state as bastions of Texas culture and pride. Sadly, there are only about 400 dance halls remaining, and they need our help to continue to succeed so that they can be enjoyed for generations to come.
Twin Sisters Dance Hall in Blanco
Anyone who participates in the Texas Dance Hall Tour can expect a unique and unforgettable experience, complete with dance lessons – including, of course, the “Texas Two-Step” – as well as Texas-style dinners and various regional daytime activities, including trips to a Texas whiskey distillery, a winery, and a buggy barn that features more than 140 buggies dating back to the 1860s. In addition to Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel, other well-known country music artists participating in the tour include Lee Ann Womack and Dale Watson.
Time to do some boot scootin’ for a good cause.
Over the past four years, thousands of Austinites have donated millions of dollars to hundreds of local nonprofits through Amplify Austin.
Amplify Austin is a 24-hour online giving spree where generous Texans can make monetary donations to local nonprofits, with the goal of raising as much money as possible in 24 hours. Just last year, over 61,000 monetary donations were made to a wide variety of nonprofits, all in the name of serving others and strengthening the Austin community. And thanks to the support of generous sponsors, the donations are “amplified” by matching dollars.
This year’s Amplify Austin starts tomorrow! It begins at 6pm on Thursday, March 2nd and ends 24 hours later at 6pm on Friday, March 3rd.
If you feel called to serve your fellow Texans by participating in Amplify Austin, I would encourage you to visit http://www.amplifyatx.org/ to learn more about how you can get involved! You can also follow Amplify Austin on Facebook and Twitter, and be sure to use the hashtag #AmplifyATX if you participate!
This week we are spotlighting The Medical Center of the Americas Foundation, El Paso, the winner of the 2016 Governor’s Volunteer Award for Community Leadership - Health. This award recognizes an individual, group, or organization for strengthening the health and wellbeing of their community.
The Medical Center of the Americas Foundation understands the importance of developing connections between groups and individuals to help craft collaborative solutions to local needs. In 2006, The Medical Center of the Americas Foundation was created in response to a shared vision to develop a “center for excellence in healthcare education, research and services in the Paso Del Norte region.” A team of universities, healthcare professionals, researchers, business and community leaders have invested thousands of volunteer hours and leveraged their skills and knowledge to successfully launch a biomedical industry in El Paso.
In June 2016, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and the Medical Center of the Americas Foundation added the newest addition to the 440-acre Medical Center of the Americas Foundation campus – the Cardwell Collaborative. The Cardwell Collaborative is a 60,000 square foot, $28 million building which houses a biomedical research/technology incubator. Medical Center of the Americas Foundation has become a change agent for the El Paso region, and continues to serve as an icon for the emerging biomedical industry and a model of innovation.