Community

GSRJ has the distinct privilege to serve in the community it calls home: Austin, Texas. We consider our community involvement to be an integral part of our law firm’s identity. Although our clients are from all over the world, we recognize the particular importance of supporting those in our local community, and beyond. We strive for excellence in serving the individuals and families who are our clients and in our positive contributions to the world at large. Our patronage and participation encompass a number of areas, including hunger relief, social justice and humanitarian aid, family and community servicesanimal welfare, arts and humanities, and nature and conservation.

GSRJ is also honored to have been a founding corporate sponsor of The Contemporary Austin and actively supports its ongoing efforts to develop a world-class contemporary arts presence in Austin.

Animal Welfare

Barn Sanctuary at McKernan Farm provides shelter to horses, cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, sheep, goats, and rabbits that have been rescued from abuse, abandonment and natural disasters. It is a hands-on animal sanctuary dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and caring for animals while educating visitors on the harmful effects of factory farming.

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Dogtoberfest is an Austin-based organization created to raise awareness and much needed funding for local dog rescue organizations. In 2016, the organization helped support the following rescue groups: Austin Boxer Rescue, Austin Dog Rescue, Austin German Shepherd Rescue, Austin Sheltie Rescue, Hound Rescue, Pug Rescue of Austin, Texas Sweeties Dog Rescue and Wee Rescue.

Dogtoberfest also holds an annual event (of the same name) at The Domain which includes a silent auction, canine costume contest, pet-related demonstrations and more. It is consistently ranked as Austin’s “Most Awesome-ist Pet Related Event” in the Austin Pets Directory Annual Readers Poll.

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Farm Sanctuary is committed to ending cruelty to farm animals and promoting compassionate vegan living through rescue, education, and advocacy. Founded in 1986, the non-profit works to combat the abuses of factory farming and encourage a new awareness and understanding about farm animals. Today, Farm Sanctuary is the nation’s largest and most effective farm animal rescue and protection organization, having rescued thousands of animals.

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Pug Rescue of Austin is dedicated to rescuing and placing abused, neglected and unwanted pugs. Its mission is to provide a safe, caring and humane refuge for abandoned pugs and to ensure quality adoptive homes. The organization promotes responsible pug ownership through public education about the unique needs of pugs and a mandatory spay/neuter policy.

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Service Dogs, Inc. (SDI) transforms abandoned shelter dogs into lifelines for people living with hearing loss or mobility challenges. Founded in 1988 by Austin attorney Sheri Soltes, SDI provides the dogs and training free of charge. The organization provides hearing and service dog training; offers sessions to professional dog trainers interested in hearing and service dog training; and, mentors youth in the custody of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department to teach them positive dog training skills, which fosters a greater sense of responsibility and companionship.

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Arts and Humanities

The Young Performing Artist Program (YPAP) assists pre-college guitarists in their education and development. It is a special project of Austin Creative Alliance, which works to advance, connect and advocate for Austin’s arts, cultural, and creative communities in order to strengthen and protect the character, quality of life, and economic prosperity of our region.

The YPAP is funded entirely by voluntary donations.

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The Austin Film Society (AFS) is a non-profit organization that empowers the Austin community to make, watch, and love film and creative media. It was founded in 1985 when a group of friends got together to watch films that weren’t distributed to the general public. Since then, AFS has committed itself to honoring classic and independent film with screenings in venues all over Austin.

The organization exhibits more than 200 films annually and supports film, television and digital media at its 20-acre production facility, Austin Studios. AFS has provided $1.5 million in filmmaker grants since 1996 and manages an array of community media programs.

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Anchored by critically acclaimed productions and the highest artistic standards, Austin Opera has inspired Central Texans for the past 25 years with extraordinary musical experiences. Founded in May 1986 as Austin Lyric Opera, the city’s first professional opera company, Austin Opera has become a cultural touchstone for the fine arts community in the Central Texas region and has gained national acclaim as a producer of great opera.

Since its inaugural production in 1987–which sold out–the company has strived to produce operatic performances and educational programs that meet and preserve the highest standards of artistic excellence that culturally enrich the lives of Texans.

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aso logoThe mission of the Austin Symphony Orchestra (ASO) is to enhance the cultural quality of life for the adults and young people of Austin and Central Texas by providing excellence in music performance and educational programming. Founded in 1911, the Austin Symphony Orchestra is Austin’s oldest performing arts group.

The orchestra offers a complete season of musical and educational programming, including community concerts and outreach to local schools. ASO performs a series of eight classical concert pairs each month between September through June, along with the Sarah & Ernest Butler Pops Series in October and February, and the December & June Pops at Palmer Events Center.

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With a rich history spanning five decades, acclaimed productions, a commitment to creating access to programs, and operating a combined training facility, Ballet Austin is the 11th largest classical ballet company in the country. In 2008, it became a founding resident company for the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Center for the Performing Arts.

The Ballet Austin Academy is the official ballet school of Ballet Austin. Founded in 1956, it is one of the largest in the United States, providing high-quality dance instruction to more than 900 students each year.

 

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Showcasing two renowned and architecturally unique locations, The Contemporary Austin reflects the spectrum of contemporary art through multidisciplinary exhibitions, commissions, education, and the collection. Launched in 2013 as the new brand of the Austin Museum of Art–which changed its name from the Laguna Gloria Art Museum in 1996–the Contemporary brings engaging programs and enticing special events to the city’s visual arts landscape.

The museum aspires to be the contemporary art museum for Austin and an essential part of city life. Through its unique combination of urban and outdoor sites, The Contemporary will embody an eclectic and collaborative spirit.

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KLRU-TV, Austin PBS is dedicated to telling stories that entertain, inspire and change our lives. Since its inception, Austin’s community licensed public television station has highlighted what makes the city unique by creating and distributing award-winning original content. While best known for growing Austin City Limits into the longest running music series in television history, KLRU is also home to award-winning programs like Arts In Context, Central Texas Gardener, Overheard with Evan Smith and BBQ with Franklin. As a nonprofit educational organization, KLRU also prepares children to succeed in school and creates lifelong learning opportunities for all.

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KMFA 89.5 is an independent public classical radio station that serves approximately 100,000 Central Texas listeners each week. Listener-supported since its launch in 1967, after Austin’s only classical radio station transitioned to pop music, KMFA features both locally produced shows and nationally distributed programming from Public Radio International, American Public Media and National Public Radio. Decades later, KMFA continues to rely on the generosity of Central Texas to keep classical music and cultural programming available to all.

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Established in 1958, KUT 90.5 FM is committed to supporting civic and cultural life in Central Texas through daily news coverage, high-quality documentary production, and exceptional music programming that reflects the Austin experience. It broadcasts from The University of Texas at Austin.

KUT launched Central Texas’ first full-time public radio news operation in 2002; since then, it has become one of the best performing public radio stations in the country, with more than 250,000 Central Texas listeners each week. The station has received more than 100 state, national, and international awards since its inception, including two national Edward R. Murrow awards, seven National Headliners awards, and 11 New York Festival awards.

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Family and Community Services

Austin Police Operation Blue Santa is a community-based non-profit organized by the Austin Police Department, with support from the Austin Fire Department, Austin Energy, Austin Water, and the Texas National Guard. Through generous contributions, they provide families with a full holiday meal and toys for each child up to the age of 14.  Packages are delivered to the family by Blue Santa volunteers – Santa’s Helpers. Operation Blue Santa launched in 1972, serving 20 Austin families. They currently serve more than 5,000.

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AJA10YRLOGOCOLORSince opening its doors in 1997, Austin Jewish Academy (AJA) has been committed to preparing young minds both for their academic careers and their roles as critically-thinking leaders. AJA’s progressive and rigorous curriculum for transitional kindergarten through eighth grade provides opportunities for hands-on, collaborative learning within a nurturing environment. The academy is dedicated to empowering students to reach their full potential both in the classroom and in the world by instilling the core values of tikkun olam, community, tradition, empowerment, excellence and integrity.

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In 1928, The Young Men’s Business League (YMBL) of Austin recognized the serious community threat of youth tuberculosis and established the Austin YMBL Summer Sunshine Camps in Zilker Park. The park provided a space in which local economically disadvantaged children could gain weight, grow strong and spend time outdoors.

Austin YMBL Sunshine Camps is still serving youth living near or below the poverty line. As the only free camp in Central Texas, it provides a nurturing environment where Austin’s low income youth are introduced to camping, conservation, nature studies, physical exercise, and social interaction while enjoying the outdoors. Their programs enrich the community by encouraging and facilitating the power to succeed through education and healthy living.

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CASA of Travis County is driven by the belief that every child who’s been abused or neglected deserves to have a dedicated advocate sin court, at school and in the community. A court appointed special advocate—CASA—volunteer is a trained community member who is appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of a child or family of children in the court system. They serve as the child’s guardian ad litem—an official representative in cases involving Child Protective Services—which entitles them to access pertinent information about the child’s situation and submit reports to the court. Volunteers spend 15-20 hours a month getting to know the child, gathering information from family members, teachers, doctors, caregivers and others, all in an effort to speak for the child when he or she cannot.

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For more than 120 years, Helping Hand Home for Children has provided a place to heal for abused, neglected and abandoned children. Helping Hand provides residential treatment services, therapeutic foster care, adoption services, and an on-site charter school for children who have suffered severe abuse and neglect. Governed by members of the Helping Hand Society, the home is the oldest continuously operating residential childcare agency in Travis County. It is a priceless resource kept strong and viable through community support; children, whose young lives were once filled with fear, pain, and chaos, are learning to trust adults to take care of them and reclaim their childhood.

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NEWjlalogo ResizedThe Junior League of Austin (JLA) is a diverse group of dedicated women working to make Austin a better place. Formed in 1934, the organization is committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the Austin community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. JLA members are involved with nearly 30 non-profit agencies and programs throughout the metro area; volunteers support initiatives to enhance education, health and well-being, safety and crisis intervention, the arts, and the environment.

The Junior League of Austin is part of the larger Association of Junior Leagues International, which includes more than 290 Junior Leagues throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.

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In May 1997 the first Police Unity Tour was organized by Officer Patrick P. Montuore of the Florham Park Police Department, with the goal of honoring the sacrifices of police officers who have died in the line of duty. Eighteen riders embarked on a four-day fundraising bicycle ride from Florham Park, New Jersey to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., ultimately raising $18,000. Nearly two decades later, thousands of riders from all around the country regularly participate and the tour has contributed nearly $18 million to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

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SA_Holiday Logo_HR ResizedEvery year The Salvation Army provides Christmas assistance to families in need in Travis and Williamson Counties. Through the Angel Tree program, donors can give joy to a child in need during the holiday season. Found in local malls, companies and churches, Angel Trees are decorated with numbered paper angel tags with the first name, age and gender of a child in need of gifts. Contributors remove one or more tags from the tree and purchase appropriate gifts, clothing, and/or toys for the child or children described on the tags. Last year, 200 companies, organizations and individuals helped fulfill the gift requests of more than 6,350 local children who would otherwise have not had gifts at Christmas.

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final-sf4c-logo-copyThe Standish Foundation for Child and Family Centered Healthcare was founded in 2010 to ensure that children and their families experience healthcare in a way that promotes hope, healing and happiness.  With global health volunteers in more than 20 countries, they work with healthcare providers to create customized child and family centered programs; provide funding and material resources to healthcare providers and institutions; and collaborate with partners to support networking and education exchanges. The foundation is focused on supporting and sharing tools and strategies that enable child and family-friendly healthcare techniques, which can have a monumental impact on the lives pediatric medical staff, child patients and their families.

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Wonders & Worries was launched in 2001 to provide individual and group support services for children who have a parent battling a chronic or life-threatening illness. The organization also provides parenting support for parents and caregivers. The organization’s comprehensive model of using child life specialists to help children cope with a family member’s illness is unduplicated in North America.

The child life staff has worked with more than 1,250 families and 5,000 individuals affected by illnesses like cancer, ALS, MS, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and more. The illnesses may be different, but the challenges families face are the same. They fight to keep their families intact and maintain a sense of normalcy and stability for their children.

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Hunger Relief

The Anthony Robbins Foundation is a non-profit organization created to empower individuals and organizations to make a significant difference in the quality of life of people often forgotten – youth, homeless and hungry, prisoners, elderly and disabled. Created in 1991, the Foundation was built upon the belief system that, regardless of stature, only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy; true fulfillment. It has products and programs estimated to be in more than 2,000 schools, more than 800 prisons, and countless health and human service organizations.

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Cropwalk logo resizeCROP Hunger Walks help support the overall ministry of Church World Service (CWS), which was formed in the aftermath of World War II when 17 denominations came together to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, comfort the aged, and shelter the homeless. Soon after its founding, CWS created CROP, the Christian Rural Overseas Program, in 1947, to help Midwest farm families to share their grain with hungry neighbors in post-World War II Europe and Asia.

The first CROP Walk was held in 1969 in order to raise money for, and raise awareness of, worldwide hunger. Currently, well over 2,000 communities across the United States join in more than 1,300 CROP Hunger Walks each year.

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Mobile Loaves & Fishes provides food and clothing to Austin’s homeless and working poor. The non-profit was launched in 1998 when five parishioners of St. John Neumann Catholic Church were moved by the scripture to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The small group began delivering meals from the back of a single minivan, but the organization has since become largest prepared feeding program to the homeless and working poor in Austin, having served more than four million meals with the support of 18,000+ volunteers. They’ve expanded into four cities across three states and created two complementary projects: the Community First! Housing program, a 27-acre master planned community that provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for the disabled, chronically homeless in Central Texas; and the Community Works program, which offers micro-enterprise opportunities such as gardening, art, blacksmithing, woodworking and concessions, to allow participants to earn a living income.

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SFC_LOGO_HI-RESSustainable Food Center is involved in every step of the Austin community’s local food system. Founded in 1993, with roots dating back to 1975 as Austin Community Gardens, SFC’s mission is to cultivate a healthy community by strengthening the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable food. The organization envisions a food-secure community where all children and adults grow, share, and prepare healthy, local food.

Through organic food gardening, relationships with area farmers, interactive cooking classes and nutrition education, children and adults have increased access to locally grown food and are empowered to improve the longterm health of Central Texans and our environment.

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Nature and Conservation

The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to conserve, restore and create healthy landscapes. Originally founded by former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson and actress Helen Hayes as the National Wildflower Research Center, the organization was tasked with preserving and restoring the beauty and biological richness of North America. Since then, the Center has become one of the country’s most credible research institutions and effective advocates for native plants.

The Wildflower Center gardens display the myriad of native plants of Texas, while its Plant Conservation Program protects the ecological heritage of the Lone Star State by conserving its rare and endangered flora.

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Social Justice and Humanitarian Aid

nuday-syriaFounded in 2013, NuDay Syria provides desperately needed humanitarian aid to displaced Syrians inside the country and living along its borders. They are especially concerned with the plight and vulnerability of displaced women and girls, whose needs are often overlooked and voices not heard. NuDay Syria advocates for girls and women who now find themselves with no male breadwinners and lacking the necessary skills or experience to earn a living and provide for their families.

Founded by Nadia Alawa, a mother of eight who could no longer sit idle as the Syrian humanitarian crisis unfolded, NuDay Syria is a purposeful extension of relief efforts in and around the New England area. The charity is unique in that it depends on dedicated volunteers and activists on the ground to provide direct support and create tangible change in various ways. Among other things, the 501c(3) non-profit provides milk and diapers for babies; organizes K-12 schooling and sponsors orphans in Syria and neighboring Turkey; delivers care packages (in 40-foot tractor trailers) containing food, clothing, personal hygiene and bedding supplies, medical supplies and hospital equipment; establishes soup kitchens; provides social support and skills training; coordinates specialized medical relief; and helps restore wells to provide clean, safe drinking water.

 

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New Logo Missy Project ResizedThe Missy Project is dedicated to raising awareness of brain aneurysm disease, or BAD, in children through education, outreach and early detection research. The organization was established by the Magel family on November 24, 1999 – what would have been their daughter Missy’s 13th birthday. Missy passed away suddenly while at summer camp from the undetected disease.

The Missy Project sponsors the only BAD early detection program for children and adults, at Austin Brain & Spine Institute in Austin, providing free magnetic resonance angiography screenings to anyone who has a familial history of the disease.

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The SAFE Alliance–Stop Abuse for Everyone–is a structured partnership between SafePlace and Austin Children’s Shelter, two organizations that serve the survivors of child abuse and neglect, sexual assault and exploitation, and domestic violence. SafePlace has a unique place in Austin’s history; its predecessors, the Austin Rape Crisis Center and Center for Battered Women, were founded more than 40 years ago.

The agencies ultimately combined to create SafePlace, a nationally recognized and unified source for women, children and men hurt by sexual and domestic violence.

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Sandy Hook Promise is a national non-profit organization founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. Based in Newtown, Connecticut, the organization’s goal is to honor all victims of gun violence by turning the personal tragedy of its founding members into a moment of transformation through programs and practices that protect children from gun violence. Its mission is to prevent gun-related deaths due to crime, suicide and accidental discharge so that no other parent experiences the loss of a child.

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St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church prides itself on being a part of the Progressive Christianity community of believers. Its mission is to learn and teach the radical and universal love of Jesus Christ by nurturing individual spirituality and growth, fostering community, sharing and celebrating the circle of life, providing space and time for personal and communal reverence, and championing universal human rights and courageously acting to overcome injustice. Congregants are engaged in a number of ministries and programs, including a food pantry and on-site garden, social justice efforts, community partnership and conservation efforts, and the Shawl Ministry, which provides gifts of support to ailing members and those in crisis.

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582361_123612481155643_988264639_nThe West Austin Lions Club has served the Austin-area community for more than 50 years; as a local affiliate of Lions Club International, the club  50 years works to the global mission of empowering volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding. West Austin Lions Club is focused on addressing several issues throughout the Austin area, including sight, health, youth, elderly, the environment and disaster relief.

Lions Club International was founded in 1917 on the basis of one question: “What if people put their talents to work improving their communities?” A century later, the Lions Club has become the world’s largest service club organization, with 1.35 million members in more than 45,000 clubs in more than 206 countries and geographies around the world.

 

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