SXSW Community Grant

SXSW has created the SXSW Community Grant to recognize good work being done within local communities and help further that work by funding a project or program.

2016 Community Fund Grant Winner, Miracle Foundation. Photo by Lynne Dobson

2016 Community Fund Grant Winner, Miracle Foundation. Photo by Lynne Dobson

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About the SXSW Community Grant


This is a merit-based application process whereby qualified 501(c)(3) public charities may apply for a $10,000 grant from the SXSW Community Fund at Communities Foundation of Texas. SXSW feels that promoting good is one of many ways of helping foster creative innovation.

Applications are now closed for 2017.

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About the Community Grant

Qualified 501(c)(3) public charitable organizations.

A process for qualified 501(c)(3) public charities to apply for a $10,000 project or program grant from the SXSW Community Fund at Communities Foundation of Texas. This application is open to all, but funds can only be granted to qualified 501(c)(3) public charities that are based in the United States.

Each program or project should be related to one of the following SXSW events: Interactive, Film, Music, Eco or Edu. Grantees will also receive up to two registrations to the SXSW in March 2017 and an additional registration to one of our family of events: SXSW Eco 2016, or SXSWedu 2017, if it relates to their work.

The application process will launch at the end of June 2016. Sign up above to receive notification when the application is ready.

The purpose of this grant is to recognize good work being done within our local and global communities and help further that work by funding a
project or program.

Because with so many deserving 501(c)(3) organizations, SXSW would like to recognize, reward and further their good work in the world. We feel that promoting good in local communities is one of many ways of helping foster creative innovation.


1) I’m not sure which area (Interactive, Film, Music, Eco or Edu) to choose for my nonprofit? Can you tell me which one is best?

We’d prefer you to select the event that makes the most sense for your program. Sometimes it’s not so obvious to us and we don’t want you to be placed in the wrong category. Each event has an advisor who will know what resonates best within the chosen event community. If none of the categories make sense for your program, or if it seems like too much of a stretch, these grants may not be the best fit for your nonprofit.

2) What are you looking for specifically?

We’re looking to be surprised and delighted by ideas and innovation that we haven’t seen before. We’re looking for solutions that are making a difference and can have a real impact on future communities. We’re looking for organizations helping people within the communities we represent at SXSW.

We’re not looking for one-off events, such as day-long fundraisers or music or film festivals with a nonprofit beneficiary. We’re most interested in programs or projects envisioned as ongoing or continuing with a hands-on approach. We don’t think most problems can be solved in one day or a few days, so we’re focusing on longer-term solutions.

See some of the grantees from the first year below to get a better idea of the types of programs that did well.

3) When will funds be available?

After the selection process, we’ll begin the funding process and assuming the organization satisfies the criteria to receive funds from our foundation partner, they should be received in Fall of 2016.

Email with any questions not answered above.

2016 SXSW Community Grant Recipients


The 2016 SXSW Community Grant 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.

Swan Songs

One $10,000 grant with a focus on music goes to Swan Songs, an Austin, Texas based nonprofit that fulfills musical wishes at the end of life by organizing private concerts for individuals with terminal illnesses. These concerts allow patients, family and friends to focus beyond the illness and come together for comfort and inspiration through music. Recognizing that the talent and expertise of local musicians are an invaluable part of their success, Swan Songs offers an honorarium that can be donated back to the organization, as the musician chooses. Swan Songs has employed over 200 Austin area musicians and with this grant will increase the pool of musicians by 20% and free concerts for the terminally ill by 33% in 2016.

Skillpoint Alliance’s POWERUp Velocity Prep

One $10,000 grant with a focus on technology will go to Skillpoint Alliance’s POWERUp Velocity Prep program. This high school internship program was developed in response to industry and education leaders’ desire to see students gain hands-on work experience for high-demand science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers in Central Texas. POWERUp will focus on an energy solution for the Community First! Village, a 27-acre master planned community that will provide housing for the chronically homeless. Students will enrich their learning with CAD, coding, energy science, entrepreneurship, engineering, marketing and public speaking to support their solution. Serving a 65% low income, 15% Black and 46% Latino population, this program focuses on guided learning applied through action.

Reel Grrls

One $10,000 grant with a focus on film will go to Reel Grrls, a nonprofit with a mission to cultivate voice and leadership in girls by training them to produce films about issues important to them. Reel Grrls engages girls 9-22 to think critically and creatively about digital media in order to create positive social change. Reel Grrls provides media literacy training to help girls interpret and respond to the flood of gendered images and messages in the media. This grant supports a mobile program designed to surmount the significant transportation barrier for low-income and rural youth. Reel Grrls serves girls of all economic means, with 70% of students receiving Reel Grrls scholarships, including children of migrant working families and youth of color attending CLC schools.

The Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance

One $10,000 grant with a focus on ecology and sustainability, will go to The Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance (GEAA), a nonprofit whose mission is to promote effective broad based grassroots advocacy for aquifer protection throughout the 21 county Edwards region. GEAA‘s program will develop Community Rain Gardens that engage residents in designing and installing Low Impact Development projects such as swales, rain gardens and employing drought tolerant plants that will enhance filtration of stormwater before it enters the aquifer. This project seeks to build pride and commitment to aquifer protection and water conservation through volunteerism and education. Through a partnership with San Antonio schools, this program will serve a 40% economically disadvantaged, 9.3% Black and 48.6% Latino community.

The Miracle Foundation

One $10,000 grant with a focus on education will go to The Miracle Foundation, a nonprofit with a mission to empower orphans to reach their full potential. The Miracle Foundation recognizes that every child is born with 12 rights, including the right to a quality education and to a stable, loving, and nurturing environment. They currently partner with 13 orphanages in rural India. Through pilot programs, the Foundation seeks to teach valuable computer and English language skills as well provide tutor training in innovative ways to engage with children in the classroom. This grant will completely fund all of the Foundation’s education initiatives in an 80-child home for one year.

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