SXSW Community Service Awards

The SXSW Community Service Awards celebrate the spirit of community in Austin that we think is unique to SXSW. Each spring, six individuals and six organizations are recognized for their community service. Each honoree or organization will receive complimentary badges to SXSW, a grant, and a chance to spread the word about their work to the SXSW community.

SXSW Community Service Awards

2017 SXSW Community Grant recipient, Songwriting:WithSoldiers - Photo courtesy Songwriting:WithSoldiers

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The SXSW Community Service Awards celebrate the spirit of community in Austin that we think is unique to SXSW. Each spring, six individuals and six organizations are recognized for their community service. Each honoree or organization will receive complimentary badges to SXSW, a grant, and a chance to spread the word about their work to the SXSW community.

SXSW Community Service Awards for Individuals


Six individuals will receive a grant to an eligible 501(c)(3) or eligible charity of their choice as well as a complimentary registration to SXSW 2018. The Community Service Award is intended to honor the breadth of community service work of 6 individuals rather than organizations or groups. We are looking for individuals whose creative community service work bridges the digital divide, impacts the community positively and includes some degree of grassroots or hands-on organizing. This community service award celebrates the life and work of SXSW Interactive co-founder, Dewey Winburne. Learn more about Dewey’s life here.

For grants for nonprofit charitable organizations, please see SXSW Community Service Awards for Organizations below.

2017 Recipients: SXSW Community Service Awards for Individuals

Dr. Michelle Ferrier (Athens, GA)

Dr. Michelle Ferrier is the founder of, a service for women writers and journalists experiencing online harassment. Ferrier is an award-winning columnist and author. She is featured in the 2016 edition of Attacks on the Press, for “Progression of Hate,” a story of her personal hate mail attacks. She is a digital content architect with 30 years experience in media entrepreneurship and new media technologies. She is the president of Journalism That Matters and the creator of the Create or Die series of startup gatherings for media innovation. Ferrier is the principal investigator for the Media Deserts Project that uses GIS technologies to examine where fresh news and information are lacking. Ferrier is an associate professor in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and a 2016 Reynolds Journalism Institute Fellow. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Central Florida in Texts and Technologies.

Blair Glencorse (London, UK)

Blair Glencorse is leading a movement for accountability and integrity around the world through the Accountability Lab. The Lab works in communities across West Africa and South Asia to support young people in their efforts to make governments more responsible- using the arts, media and technology. Blair is also the co-founder of the first co-working and innovation space in Liberia and TEDxMonrovia; and he is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Anti-Corruption and Transparency. Previously he was a Social Impact Fellow at the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania and worked for the World Bank on issues of governance and development.

Nicolas Hazard (San Francisco, CA)

Nicolas Hazard is a serial social entrepreneur. He is President of CALSO (an award-winning 501c3 nonprofit organization with operations in California and Texas), Vice-Chairman of GROUPE SOS (the European leading social enterprise with $900M turnover and 15,000 employees) and Founder of INCO, a consortium supporting social enterprises in 18 countries. Nicolas is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Social Innovation, the European Commission Social Business Experts Group, and the French National Council for International Development and Solidarity. He is the author of the essay “Capitalism for All, 20 Enterprises that Change the World” (Edit the World, 2013). He also writes a monthly column on social entrepreneurship in Le Monde and contributes to The Guardian and the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Nicolas holds Master’s degrees in Business, Economics and Politics from The Sorbonne University, FU Berlin, HEC and Sciences-Po Paris.

Teresa Y. Hodge (Baltimore, MD)

Teresa Y. Hodge, recently named a 2016 Open Society Soros Justice Fellow is a passionate advocate for people with criminal connections, is committed to reducing the lasting harm caused by prison. It was a 70-month federal prison sentence for a white-collar, non-violent, first-time offense that introduced her first-hand to the justice system and mass incarceration in America. Upon coming home, she and her daughter Laurin Hodge co-founded Mission: Launch, Inc. a non-profit focused on introducing technology and entrepreneurship to previously incarcerated individuals as a way of ensuring self-sufficiency. Additionally, the organization manages the Rebuilding Re-Entry Coalition, a citizen-led movement committed to ensuring a more efficient and safer re-entry for everyone. As the Director of Strategy & Innovation for Mission: Launch, Inc., Teresa plays a critical role in building strategic partnerships and establishing social enterprise models for greater reach and sustainability.

Kwaku Kyei (Kumasi, Ghana)

An alumnus of the Valley View University, Kwaku Kyei is a serial social entrepreneur and environmentalist. He is one of the most dynamic young people in Ghana with tremendous impact in helping people with disabilities to be motivated, productive, and successful. As President/Founder of the award-winning Recnowa Initiative, he addresses issues of plastic waste recycling and poverty reduction with a special focus on empowering people with disabilities to a brighter future, to engage as entrepreneurs and to move beyond micro businesses into more ambitious ventures, within a society that presents significant hurdles for people with disabilities in the norms of tradition and culture. Kyei has won the 2015 Agfund Prize, the 2013 International Women Alliance World of Difference Award, the UNFCCC Momentum For Change Award and the 2011 SEED Initiative Award. He sits on the board of the DawaDawa Impact Investment Fund and the WIPO Green.

Bobby Moore (Baltimore, MD)

Bobby Moore is a Baltimore City teacher turned social entrepreneur. He taught in West Baltimore for a period of four years through Teach For America. He also pursued a Masters in Urban Education from Johns Hopkins University and worked as a CEO Fellow at the Baltimore City Schools Office of Achievement and Accountability. During his last year of teaching, he formed an ed-tech non-profit called SOAR. SOAR is an online platform that digitally empowers students to showcase and fund their academic needs, interests and passions. Bobby accelerated the development of SOAR through the Johns Hopkins Social Innovation Lab and the Halcyon Social Incubator in Georgetown. Bobby also co-founded “brightspots media,” a company focused empowering people, cities, and organizations – at all stages of growth – to solve thorny problems and celebrate their strengths through storytelling and deep mentorship.

Barbara Moser-Mercer (Geneva, Switzerland)

Barbara Moser-Mercer is Professor of conference interpreting and founder and Director of InZone, University of Geneva. Her research focuses on cognitive and cognitive neuro-science aspects of the interpreting process, the human performance dimension of skill development, and on factors that enable digital learning in fragile contexts. Through the development and installation of InZone Higher Education Spaces in refugee camps in the Horn of Africa and in MENA she has expanded InZone’s mission to design and implement innovative digital learning models for Higher Education in Emergencies working in close collaboration with UNHCR, the International Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), ICRC, INGOs and higher education institutions in the Global North and South. She was a member of the High Level Group on Multilingualism of the EU Commission, and coordinated the European Masters in Conference Interpreting. She is also an active conference interpreter, member of AIIC.

Mgr. Ing. Dita Přikrylová (Prague, Czech Republic)

Mgr. Ing. Dita Přikrylová is co-founder and (cheer)leader of Czechitas, organization educating women and underprivileged groups in IT. The main purpose of the social enterprise is to break barriers and stereotypes that prevent women from entering STEM careers and provide them with technical skills and confidence. The organization has been awarded with Social Impact Award 2015, nominated for best internet projects Kristalova Lupa 2015 and 2016. Dita belongs to NewEurope100 innovators by Financial Times, Google and Visegrad Fund, selected among 30 youngest leaders in Czech Republic under the age of 30 by Forbes magazine and awarded by European Citizen 2016 by EU.

Courtney Santana (Austin, TX)

Courtney Santana is a loving wife and mother, a well-known vocalist, actress, and performer, a renowned public speaker and advocate, as well as a community volunteer and mother. A survivor of domestic violence, she tirelessly works to create opportunities, resources, and awareness for her survivor family. She has a diverse background in volunteerism and community philanthropy. She also serves on the task force for Domestic Violence and serves as an advocate for Vice President Biden and the Violence Against Women Act. Courtney has toured the country, speaking about the power of empowerment over victimization. In 2011, she started the survivor support initiative Survive2Thrive Foundation, to help provide direct services to survivors of domestic violence. She is using connection and innovation in technology and thought to bring light and action to growing epidemic in the domestic violence community, forced homelessness and displacement for victims and their families.

Dese’Rae L. Stage (Philadelphia, PA)

Dese’Rae L. Stage is an award-winning artist, suicide awareness activist, public speaker, and creator of Live Through This. Live Through This is a collection of portraits and true stories of 170 suicide attempt survivors in 30 cities across the U.S. It re-imbues the topic of suicide with humanity by putting faces and names to statistics that have been the only representation of attempt survivors in the past. Stage survived a long struggle with self-injury and a suicide attempt catalyzed by an abusive relationship. These experiences, coupled with the loss of friends to suicide and the lack of resources for attempt survivors, that prompted her to create Live Through This. Stage speaks nationwide about Live Through This and suicide prevention in the media. Live Through This has received extensive media coverage, including features in the New York Times and the Associated Press. Stage lives in Philadelphia with her wife.

SXSW Community Service Awards for Organizations


Six organizations will also receive a grant to continue or begin their work and will be honored at the SXSW Community Service Awards. To qualify, an organization must be a charitable organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) or be otherwise qualified to receive charitable contributions.

The selection committee chooses organization grantees based on their connection to one of the following aspects of SXSW: Interactive, Film, Music, Edu, or Gaming. We are additionally looking for projects and programs that generally serve the Austin / Central Texas community. We will also ask that you share your strategic plans for use of the grant funds and what kind of budget you need.

This grant process is goal and outcome focused. We will ask all grantees to measure and report back the outcome of their work or project. These grants focus on hands-on solutions to community issues, especially where they improve the lives of the underprivileged or disenfranchised.

These grants are designated to to further the work of organizations, not individuals. (For grants geared toward individuals, please see Community Service Awards for Individuals above.)

For questions not answered here or in the application, please contact us at

2017 Recipients: SXSW Community Service Awards for Organizations

Formerly called the SXSW Community Grant, the 2017 SXSW Community Service Awards for Organizations recipients are listed below. SXSW arrived at these recipients through an application process and selections were made by an outside selection committee working in conjunction with SXSW.

Austin Youth River Watch

Austin Youth River Watch provides an intensive after–school and summer program that combines youth development with a hands-on, experiential approach to environmental science. Each year about 125 students, or “River Watchers,” from 10 public high schools learn to collect, analyze, and publish water quality data from 27 sites along Austin-area streams and the Colorado River.


Moms-in-Film is piloting a mobile childcare unit: a flexible space to care for children while their parents work nearby. This ‘wagon’ will be used as an advocacy tool as well as a practical service for parents who want proximity to their children while on set or at festivals. As part of Moms-in-Film’s mission, the organization aims to provide affordable and innovative childcare solutions for parents working in film. The industry is not currently structured to support parents; a reality that disproportionately affects women and accounts for some of the industry’s gender imbalance.

The Nobelity Project

The Nobelity Project builds stronger communities through education. In Kenya, Latin America and the U.S., their partnerships build critically needed school infrastructure, support literacy and scholarship, and promote conservation and community service. The chief goal of this grant is to support educational success and equity by providing marginalized students access to information that is readily available to students in developed regions.

Cancer research is broken. Weak connections exist between patients and scientists. As a result, scientists don’t have access to tumor samples and medical information needed to develop treatments. This problem is especially pronounced for rare cancers, since most medical centers see too few rare cancer patients to observe patterns of the disease. bridges the gap between cancer patients and scientists, enabling patients to directly donate their tissue and medical data to high-impact research projects. In this way, empowers patients to be involved in cancer research.


After Austin singer-songwriter Darden Smith performed for wounded service members at a U.S. military hospital in Germany, he returned home determined to “use the art of songwriting in the service of our brothers and sisters in arms.” SongwritingWith:Soldiers pairs veterans with professional songwriters in retreat settings to craft songs about combat and the transition home. Through an innovative collaborative process, participants build trust, talk about their experiences (often for the first time), and connect with others. “I sat down with a stranger and described my worst moments…now I have a beautiful song and a new friend.”

Learn More

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Past SXSW Community Service Awards Honorees


The SXSW Community Service Awards (formerly Dewey Awards) honors community do-gooders who employ new media tools and strategies to make the world a better place. From 2000 to 2011, all honorees lived in the Central Texas area. Beginning in 2012, we opened the process to recognize national and international community activists.

2016 Honorees

Kara Andrade, Richard Bbaale, Maria Rose Belding, Emile Cambry, Jr., Robi Damelin, Ali Gohar, Marissa Jennings, Meghana Reddy, Marty Tenenbaum, Priya Verma

2015 Honorees

Karthik Dinakar, Justin Graves, Jukay Hsu, Karen Kocher, Brittany Martin, Rebecca McDonald, Libby Powell, Tembinkosi Qondela, Dr. Catalina Rojas, and Dr. Abdullah Saleh

2014 Honorees

Gwendolyn Floyd, Clara Tsao, Marie Duffy, Noeline Kirabo, Stephanie Downs, Alejandro Maza, George Luc, Mark Horvath, Raymar Hampshire, and Tony Carr

2013 Honorees

Madhura Bhat, Elizabeth Davidson, Arlene Ducao, Rey Faustino, Gene Gurkoff, Elena Lagoudi, Simeon Oriko, Amanda Quraishi, Ben Sawyer, and Rich Schwerdtfeger

2012 Honorees

Judy Brewer, Laura Deutch, Brian Elliot, Izzy Johnston, Jacquie Jones, Becci Manson, Jose Gomez Marquez, Aleph Molinari, Josh Nesbit, and Humberto Pérez

2011 Honorees

Jim Allan, Tricia Barry, Lisa Byrd, Roberta Przybylski, Brian Ramos, Mando Rayo, Connie Reece, Carl Settles, Allan Weeks, and Monica Williams

2010 Honorees

Meredith Beal, Stacy Bouwman, Sue Cole, Dario “Marty” Martinez, Gordon Montgomery, Maria Morrissey, David Neff, Angela-Jo Touza-Medina, and Ken Starks

2009 Honorees

Anthony Bertucci, Andres Carvallo, Julia Cuba, Laura Donnelly, Juan Garcia, Leroy Jones, Lisa McWilliams, Joanna Nigrelli, Alicia Rascon, and Sam Robertson

2008 Honorees

Maria Morrissey, Diana Prechter, Betty Sue Flowers, Linda Litowsky, Ron Lucey, Lisa Moretti, Heberto Ochoa-Morales, Christian Raymond, Lodis Rhodes, Gene Rodgers, and Glenda Sims

2007 Honorees

Branda Adrian, Shahed Amanullah, Donny Branam, Rodney Gibbs, Bobbie Guerra, Kathy Keller, Joyce Lauck, Pat Pound, Harvey Smith, and Stefan Wray

2006 Honorees

Silona Bonewald, Jeanine Christensen, Thea Eaton, Joe Faulk, Sheena Harden, Sheri Graner Ray, Dave Sanders, Dr. John Slatin, Dale Thompson, and Richard Yu

2005 Honorees

Tiffany Galligan, Steve Guengerich, Wendell Handy, Josie Hughes, Adina Levin, Nick Lewis, Chip Rosenthal, Randi Shade, Roger Steele, and Artis C. Street

2004 Honorees

Janet Blake, Perce Collins, Tim Harell, Katherine Jones, Walter Lenoir, Herman Lessard, Rich MacKinnon, Trent Sharp, Adam Weinroth and Kevin Zappernick

2003 Honorees

Bianca Bickford, Gary Chapman, Jaynes Cravens, Teresa Ferguson, Richard Halpin, Rondella Hawkins, Jan McSorley, Monica Roesch, Leroy Smith, and Sharon Strover

2002 Honorees

Ilekna Abounader, Steve Amos, Dennis Borel, Lisa Goldman Carney, Ana Cisnette, Danny Gomez, Mona Gonzalez, Jon Lebkowsky, Sharron Rush, and Melvin White

2001 Honorees

Ana Cisnette, Karen Krepps, Keith Rutledge, and Rachel Muir

2000 Honorees

Dave and Jennifer Evans

1999 Honorees

Dorothy Winburne

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