Donation Information
$ 360.00
$ 180.00

Tikkun Austin Giving Circle

Congratulations to our 2015 Grant Recipients:

Housing & Community Building $10,000




GRANT PURPOSE: LifeWorks serves youth and families who want to change the direction of their lives, whether they are homeless, parenting or “aging out” of the foster care system. We offer 20 different results-focused programs – ranging from shelter, education and counseling to workforce development and affordable housing – all focused on helping clients find their path to self-sufficiency.

LifeWorks is requesting a grant to serve up to 36 homeless mothers and fathers ages 18-21 and their children in Austin, Texas. The Young Parents Program (YPP) provides families with an apartment and focuses on increasing independent living skills, basic parenting, as well as healthy child development practices. Youth attain educational and employment skills, information and counseling to prevent, treat and reduce substance use and abuse. Residents access other services, (medical/mental health, basic needs) through participation in Lifeworks’ continuum of services and community collaborations. The program gives young residents a safe and stable home where they can focus on building a future

Health & Nutrition $10,000

Volunteer Health Clinic



GRANT PURPOSE: The Volunteer Healthcare Clinic is the oldest and only free, volunteer-driven healthcare clinic in Austin.  Since 1966, we have served as a medical safety net for the most vulnerable in our community by providing basically free, high quality health care to low income and uninsured Travis County residents. 

Using a dedicated corps of more than 400 volunteers, we provide a barrier-free, seamless system that responds to the needs of each adult and child we serve.  Through three evening, acute/primary care clinics each week, we provide the necessary health care, medications, testing, referrals and health education to empower clients to improve and manage their health and enhance their quality of life.

Education & Literacy $10,000

Worker’s Defense Project



GRANT PURPOSE: Through its Adult Education and Training program, Workers Defense Project provides comprehensive professional development training to immigrant and Spanish-speaking workers in an effort to stop the cycles of poverty and improve their lives.

Workers Defense Project believes that in order for immigrant workers to overcome the challenges that they face in construction, they must have access to high quality education that will enable them to stay safe, avoid mistreatment, and become leaders at work. Unfortunately, immigrant workers in Central Texas have minimal access to these kinds of programs because of language, cultural, and other barriers. As a result, two in three untrained construction workers in Texas want to enroll in courses but cannot, and they remain vulnerable to wage theft and other serious workplace problems.

Workers Defense Project created its Adult Education and Training program nearly ten years ago to address this problem. As one of the leading organizations for immigrants in the United States, WDP has a unique perspective on the unique challenges that they face and how best to teach to them. Over time, Workers Defense Project has honed each of its course offerings, and it has become one leading educators of immigrant workers in Central Texas.

Saint Louise House, Sustainable Food Center and BookSpring will all receive a $500 gift from our Giving Circle as well for their time spent educating our group about the good work that they do in Greater Austin. We hope you feel a great amount of pride in being part of this Jewish communal effort to give back to Greater Austin and make an impact together! Thank you for your generosity, patience and ongoing support!

Happy Holidays,

Melanie Susswein, Tikkun Austin Giving Circle Chair
Dana Epstein, Assistant Executive Director, Jewish Federation of Greater Austin              

GRANT PURPOSE: For over 40 years and in partnership with more than 150 non-profits, schools and medical clinics, BookSpring is increasing the literacy level of our community’s low-income children through continuum of services from birth through 5th grade. Approximately 2/3rds of children living in poverty do not have any children’s books in their homes. This literacy gap leaves them far behind their more affluent peers, resulting in long-lasting academic disadvantages that perpetuate the cycle of poverty. With increasing inequity of wealth in Austin, we need to expand the reach of our services.

The BookSpring in Elementary Schools program will provide 15,480 very low-income, culturally diverse Central Texas children with over 46,000 books at no-charge to their families, along with motivational read-aloud experiences. The program fosters children's literacy through reading motivation, family and community involvement, and the excitement of choosing free books -building their personal home libraries. The program has been confirmed in peer-reviewed research to be instrumental in helping improve the motivation to read in children with lasting benefits of increased academic and social success. Tikkun Austin Giving Circle funding would support the purchase high-quality children’s books, materials for motivational activities, training for volunteers, parents, and school partners, and program supervision.

The Tikkun Austin Giving Circle creates a community of stakeholders who want to leverage their dollars to make substantial gifts in the local Austin community. Make an impact through collaborative Jewish philanthropy!

In addition to being able to learn so much about Austin and the nonprofits that do so much valuable work in the city, it has been terrific meeting other like-minded people in the community. I joined as an opportunity to help others, but also was able to develop my own skills and deepen my network.– Kendra Fox, Giving Circle Founding Member

Giving circles encourage collective learning, decision-making and giving. Stakeholders in the Tikkun Austin Giving Circle will get to:
•    build community, have meaningful conversations about issues confronting our community and make real-world decisions about where to invest our dollars
•    learn about local community issues and become deeply involved in nonprofit organizations you may never have known existed. Read this article by Dan Zehr, Austin American Statesman, on the issues facing a growing Austin.
•    See firsthand the impact and result of our contributions to the community
•    decide how much or how little you want to be involved in the work of the circle. Various levels of engagement are available.

FAQs for Potential Giving Circle Members

How it works:
1. Make a donation of $360 (or $180) and you'll get to vote to decide which local Austin organizations will receive a grant to continue or expand their successful work in our community. Individuals, groups and/or organizations can make a combined gift but will still get 1 vote and must decide together.
Tikkun Austin Giving Circle Membership for donors age 30 and under is $180.

2. Volunteer to join the grants committee to help research the possible organizations that are addressing poverty related issues and help narrow down the top choices. The charge of the grants committee is to seek out organizations that are doing exceptional work to fight and overcome poverty in Austin. The grants committee will work to recommend organizations for full membership vote that reflect our tradition of Jewish values around giving.  All committee members must also be Giving Circle donors. If you are interested in being on the Grants Committee in 2015, please email to let her know.
Read the Grants Committee Members Overview.

3. Voting on the 6 finalists happened in November 2015. Stay tuned for the videos from each of these organizations which will help you make your decisions!

Giving Circle Donors 2015

Patricia & Mike Abkowitz
Sarah & Eric Abrahams
Alison Alter & Jeremi Suri 
Irit & Hillel Benavi
Anne & Rabbi Neil Blumofe
Cindy Boldebuck & Harry Zimmerman 
Marvin & Leslie Brittman
CAARS 8th Grade Class
Elaine Caplan Allyson & Brian Caplovitz
Sandy & Carol Dochen
Bobby & Susan Epstein 
Dana Epstein
Jacquetta & Lowell Feldman
Kelly & David Finkel
Bettie Forman
Bob & Sherrie Frachtman
Pam & David Frager
Terry Franklin
Melyssa Fratkin
Sandra & Buddy Freed
Friedel Family Foundation
Alice Friedman
Diana & Ron Ginor
Val & Joel Granoff
Gary Greenblum

Treva Horwitz
Lea Isgur
Clariette & Marvin Joseph
David & Andrea Kahn
Lonnie Karotkin Taub & Albert Taub 
Jennifer & David Kaufman
Beverly Kogut
Rabbi David Komerofsky & Ronit Sherwin 
Heather & Adam Kruger
Michael & Alice Kuhn 
Barbara & Ronnie Laudenheimer
Stephanie & Josh Leen
Cynthia & Stanford Levinson

Melanie Lewis
Craig & Melissa Markman
Arlene & Lawrence Maze
Lauren & Steven Meyers
Cyral Miller & Fred Jones 
Sally & Wade Monroe
Val & Jeff Newberg 
Sinead O'Carroll & Juan Alonzo
Rebecca Osborne
Eve Panzer 
Diane & Charles Radin
Marcia Raff
Diana Resnik
Rachel & Alex Robinson
Ellen & Mark Rozman
Carol & Jay Rubin
Deborah & Rick Rudy
Mark Salmanson
Susan & Steve Schaffer 
Cathy Schechter & Eddie Selig 
Donna & Philip Schmidt
Jan & Harold Schneider 
Kim & Matt Schocket
Nancy & Alan Schumann
Nora & Marcus Shaftel 
Karen Siegel & Ted Toth
Barry & Marcia Silverberg
Celia & David Smith
Irene & Byron Smith
Peter & Tamara Stone 
Melanie & Gary Susswein
Mitchell Susswein, Bar Mitzvah Donation
Gay & Lee Thompson 
Janet Walkow & Irl Barg
Amy & Jerry Webberman
Phyllis & Marc Worob

Lital & Arik Yaacob

as of 12/21/15
* Names in bold denote couples that have each given under their own name.