Austin Startup Week Social Impact Day: Afternoon Recap


Thank you to everyone who attended the Austin Startup Week Social Impact Track this past Tuesday at Meet At Relay. A part of the eighth annual Austin Startup Week, the Social Impact Day was a fantastic mix of networking, panels, talks, learning opportunities, and fun!

Cohosted by The Center for Social Innovation and Techstars Impact, social entrepreneurs, community leaders, and innovators gathered together for a full day of sessions focused on how Austinities are driving impact in everything from more informed voting and civic engagement, to building a purposeful brand, to creating more diverse, homegrown tech talent in Austin.

Check out some of the takeaways from the afternoon session of Austin Startup Week Social Impact Day!

Becoming a More Informed Voter

Texas has the lowest turnout of any state in the country. Kate Donaho from Honor Roll and Sarah Ortiz Shields and David Edmonson from Austin Tech Alliance are on a mission to not only increase voter turnout, but get voters more informed. That’s why they joined us to tell us more about, a place where residents are able to search all questions posed by community groups and get answers direct from the candidates - all in one place!

Building Strategic Parnterships

Many for-profit companies want to create community impact, but get caught up in red tape trying to navigate the nonprofit landscape. Building strategic alignments surrounding shared missions in the community is a turnkey solution that provides all the benefits of a corporate foundation with none of the common challenges associated with running an independent nonprofit organization.

“Mission alignment is the bedrock of finding a good partner. If you don’t have buy-in and alignment on mission, the value of that relationship falls away.” - Austin Buchan ,CEO of College Forward.

“There is a way to repeatedly and reliably create a result. We’re just trying to create the environment and space for those collaborations and innovations to happen.” -Matt McDonnell, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Notley.

Meet the Faces of Social Impact in Austin

We featured four Austin-based social impact entrepreneurs who spoke about their experiences incorporating a social mission as a key component of their for-profit business model.

On the Future of Austin’s Social Impact Ecosystem

Austin’s social impact ecosystem is bigger than ever. Yet historically, Austin has been one of the world capitals for nonprofits - with over 7,000 per capita! As innovative startups and entrepreneurs have flocked to Austin, social impact has begun to spread to business and technology sectors.

Brent Wistrom, Senior Editor at American Inno,  sat down with Dan Graham, CoFounder of Notley, and Trevor Boehm, Program Manager of Techstar’s Impact, to discuss what is on the horizon for Austin’s growing social impact scene. Some of the biggest insights we took away from the conversation included:

  1. “The importance of not losing sight of the founders themselves and the people creating the change.” - Trevor Boehm, Program Manager at Techstars Impact.

  2. When talking about the challenges ahead, Dan Graham shared the need for us to overcome the tendency for innovation and progress to be demonized. Instead, we need to “maintain dialogue and keep the focus on everyday people’s problems.” - Dan Graham, CoFounder of Notley.

  3. “We need to change the way for-profits think about creating impact and the way nonprofits think about scaling their mission.” - Dan Graham

Thanks to Techstars Impact Accelerator and The Center for Social Innovation for co-hosting this year’s first Social Impact Track at Austin Startup Week! Special thanks to Cisco for sponsoring Lyft rides for attendees throughout the day, Meet At Relay for hosting the Impact Track venu, and to Huston-Tillotson for hosting the Relay Coworking popup for panelists and participants to work in between sessions.


Learn more about the Relay Coworking social impact community. Sign up now and receive $50 off dedicated desks and $25 off general memberships for the first 3 months.


Book Meet At Relay for $1,000 for all evening gatherings in October. Includes a 10-hour rental period plus post-event cleaning and on-site venue manager.