While standing on the balcony of a hotel in London, Lady Bird Johnson and Ann Butler, the wife of Austin’s mayor, admired the green trail that follows the Thames. The scene inspired them to hatch a plan to beautify their own waterways. Over the next three decades, in partnership with local garden clubs, they planted trees and flowers along the polluted shores of Lady Bird Lake, undoing centuries of damage from the flooding of the Colorado River. Now the trail receives 1.5 million visitors each year and creates an oasis among Austin's skyscrapers and streets. The Trail Foundation implements improvements to the trail’s infrastructure and environment while honoring the vision of its founders. The foundation has built tree groves, landscape lighting, and a bathroom that reduces overall maintenance costs and blends into the natural environment without the use of an invisibility cloak.
Visitors to Austin Free-Net’s computer labs can bolster typing skills, build a resume to submit to potential employers, and embark on the online-job-application process. However, in order to maintain the health of the labs’ systems, its computers run a program that wipes hard drives after each client completes a session, preventing them from saving their work. Austin Free-Net would like to equip those who complete a computer course—such as basic skills or Word basics—with a 1-gigabyte flash drive. The drive contains enough storage space for users to save numerous documents and its portability will allow users to carry their information anywhere they go.
The Kids Cooking for Charity program provides food for people experiencing hunger and an opportunity for young children to engage in a volunteer activity. In 2010, more than 1,600 children and their families assembled and served nearly 3,000 meals to those in need. Children as young as 3 years old can help build sandwiches for homeless residents at Caritas or prepare meals for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House. In order to coordinate the event, LHH needs funding assistance to cover the costs of food for children and their families to prepare.
The Urban Roots program places active youth ages 14 to 17 in the role of paid "farm interns," in which they are responsible for the bounty of a 3.5-acre farm in East Austin. Sixty percent of the farm interns' sustainably grown harvests is sold at farmers' markets and farm stands—with all proceeds reinvested into the program—and the remaining 40% is donated to local hunger-relief programs. Though produce and prices vary depending on the season and other market prices, green-thumbed growers typically have fresh carrots ($3.50/bundle), radishes ($2.50), collard greens ($3/bundle), okra ($4/pound), spinach ($8/pound), basil/dill ($3/bundle), and much more.
Upon arriving at the scene of a fire, the non-profit organization assesses the damage, offers emotional support, and ensures basic needs are met—these services are provided free of charge. Though the American Red Cross relies on a large army of volunteers, resources are needed to train and equip these volunteers with the tools they need to respond to local disasters.
Through its Sprouting Healthy Kids project, SFC combats childhood obesity and diet-related diseases in low-income communities. Sprouting Healthy Kids partners with schools in areas with high levels of obesity, higher prices for limited produce, and inadequate food stores. Through in-class food lessons, an after-school gardening program, field trips to local farms, and taste tests, the campaign aims to empower kids to make healthy nutrition decisions as well as foster a preference for fresh produce instead of unhealthy foods.