In Episode 83 of the Charity Charge Show, Stephen talks to Rebecca Powers, Author of Trust Your Cape & Founder of Impact Austin, whose mission is to cultivate and expand the knowledge, passion, and generosity of their members to make a positive impact by developing strong relationships and leveraging the power of collective giving. Stephen and Rebecca Powers talk about her new book Trust Your Cape that chronicles her journey of starting, building, leading and then letting go of Impact Austin.
In 2003, Rebecca Warren Powers lost her brother and, as a result, founded Impact Austin, a collective giving organization that brings women and their financial resources together to make a profound impact in Central Texas. Rebecca has received multiple awards recognizing her leadership and speaks nationally along with mentoring women in cities across the US as they form their own collectives. Rebecca is well-known in Austin, Texas, for her philanthropic passion and empowering women to help others. She graduated from the University of Richmond with a B.S. in Business Administration in 1976 and worked as a sales rep for IBM for 14 years before retiring to raise her children. Rebecca and her husband live in Austin, Texas. They have two grown children, a wonderful son-in-law, and one perfect grandson.
Rebecca on what she learned when letting go of Impact Austin:
I always said that the day, the pain of running Impact Austin, was more than the joy that I got from it was the day it was time for me to retire because that meant what I loved doing and what I was good at doing was no longer what Impact Austin needed. When I did step down it was time for us to hire someone because no one was going to do what I did as the founder for free and work all those hours which meant that we became a different kind of organization, we had an employee, and that transition was messy. We had several missteps in that and it was hard for me to let go of my baby, but it was never my intention for Impact Austin to be “Rebecca’s Impact Austin”; it needed to be the community. However, it was hard for me to let go of it when I didn’t feel like it was able to blossom and fly on it’s own. In hindsight, I should have let go a little easier than I did. Luckily I always had good people around me who called me to attention, and that’s what you need is for people who are tough saying, “This isn’t your place anymore. This is what we need, and this is how we’re going to move forward.” I was grateful for the people who told me that. Now I know Impact Austin is thriving without me because there are members now who are like, “I’ve heard of Rebecca Powers but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen her or if I just know the name.” Which to me is like, “Yay, I’m not seen as an influence, and keeping my thumb on the organization.” But it’s hard to let go of your baby, I think it was harder to let go of Impact Austin than to let each of my kids go off to college.
Interested in listening to the full episode and hearing more from other nonprofits? Check out more episodes here Charity Charge Show