SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals, and we believe people have the power to change the world for the better.

Committed to being a responsible corporate citizen, SXSW's initiatives encompass a commitment to invest in our local community, protect our natural environment, and promote human rights.

Covid-19 Relief Efforts


South by Southwest dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals – and that includes supporting front line workers during the COVID-19 crisis.

SXSW has donated roughly 3,000 shirts for mask-making and 2,000 SXSW 2020 Big Bags to carry PPE gear.

In continued support of Austin-area musicians, SXSW has donated 1,000 SXSW 2020 Big Bags to package necessities to benefit area musicians through the Austin Texas Musicians organization.

Local Initiatives


SXSW staff volunteer at events throughout the year at community organizations such as: Central Texas Food Bank , Health Alliance for Austin Musicians , AIDS Services of Austin, and more.

We also provide support to: Austin Film Society, Austin Music People, Austin Parks Foundation, Austin School of Film, Austin Theatre Alliance, CASA of Travis County, Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO), Habitat for Humanity, Humanitarian Respite Center, Junior League of Austin, Keep Austin Beautiful, KLRU, KUT, People’s Community Clinic, Rainforest Partnership, SIMS Foundation, Street Youth Ministry, and Waller Creek Conservancy.

Community Partnerships

SXSW partners with local businesses to invest in our community through fundraising events for area nonprofits including Pride Pizza Party, Tiniest Bar Biggest Hearts, and Geeks Who Drink - Quiz for a Cause.

SXSW also participates in community events such as the Pride Parade, AIDS Walk, and also hosts showcase on HAAM Benefit Day each year with live music by SXSW alumni artists.

This year, SXSW staff left a lasting impact on our local community by helping to build a home with Habitat for Humanity.

See photos from some of our past volunteer events below.

Environmental Initiatives


SXSW Center

The SXSW Center received Austin Energy 2-star certification and LEED Gold Certification. Some of the features that helped to achieve these certifications are a rain garden on the front plaza, nestled along a grove of live oak trees; low VOC interior finishes; low-flow plumbing fixtures; roof terraces; xeriscaping or native landscaping; bicycle rooms and showers; compliance with the Universal Recycling Ordinance (URO), including composting; and a high-performance curtain wall and efficient mechanical systems that will result in 14 percent more efficient performance than a baseline building.

SXSW Event Initiatives

SXSW produces all standing signs on a 100 percent recyclable material called EagleCell and all large scale directional signs on a similar 100 percent recyclable material called Reboard. In 2019, SXSW produced 342 standing signs on EagleCell and 51 towers on Reboard.

Indoor banners used at SXSW are also made from a biodegradable material.

The 2020 SXSW Big Bag will be printed on 50 percent recycled woven tote bags. Additionally, all SXSW Placards will be digital, saving thousands of sheets of cardstock.

Through compost and recycling efforts, the vast majority of waste at the 15,000 person capacity Outdoor Stage is diverted away from the landfill.

SXSW is partnering with Freeman Exhibitor Services to oversee an upcycling program for the 2020 Trade Show. Initiatives will include a pack-in/pack-out policy, a donation program in coordination with local non-profits, and an environmental performance report post event.

For more information about the hub for SXSW - the Austin Convention Center - and their sustainability standards, please see this page.

SXSW Initiatives


SXSW Community Service Awards

The SXSW Community Service Awards celebrate the spirit of community in Austin that we think is unique to SXSW. Six organizations are recognized each year at the event. All honorees receive complimentary badges to SXSW, a monetary grant, and the opportunity to spread the word about their work to the SXSW community.

SXSW Platinum Opportunity Scholarship

Fostering the next generation of innovative professionals in the Interactive, Film, and Music industries, the SXSW Platinum Opportunity Scholarship offers college-level students a chance to receive a Platinum Badge to SXSW Conference & Festivals. Continuing its affiliation with the City of Austin’s African American Resource Advisory Commission, SXSW awards the Platinum Opportunity Scholarship to a group of eligible students from historically underserved communities.

SXSW Free Events

SXSW offers several free and open-to-the public events during March, including expos, concerts, and more.

Explore SXSW

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