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Philanthropitch Finalist, Goodwill, Amplifies Impact in Central Texas

Three months ago, Matt Williams, Vice President of Education at Goodwill of Central Texas, stood on stage at the Zach Theater and shared the Goodwill Career and Technical Academy’s (GCTA) vision for a new approach to workforce development.  An approach designed to bridge the gap between employers with good jobs and the un-and underemployed eager to fill those positions.

It was Austin’s fourth annual Philanthropitch, and GCTA was granted $25,000 that night, including the 2nd place Audience award. The audience proved to be more valuable to Matt than he could have known leaving the Zach that night. From her seat in the audience, Virginia Potter heard Matt’s pitch. When it came time to text in her vote for the Audience Choice Award, she texted GCTA. She also heard Matt explain that to truly launch GCTA would need a total of $125,000 in initial capital. Lucky for Matt, Virginia is Portfolio Director of Central Texas with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and knows how to make GCTA’s vision a reality.

“I am really excited about this partnership with GCTA,” said Virginia Potter. “They have an incredible vision of how to bridge the workforce gap in Austin which aligns with the foundation’s desire to close the poverty gap in Central Texas.”

In his pitch, Matt described two Austins: One with low-wage workers seeking employment opportunities and another with employers hard-pressed to find qualified workers. In partnership with industry, GCTA pitched an initiative to bridge this gap with trainings that put people to work in higher paying roles quickly. Virginia saw a connection point with her work at the foundation in K-12 education by providing high school seniors job training as well.  

With the money received at Philanthropitch and the extra funding from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, GCTA has surpassed their initial goal reaching $150,000!  

And it’s not just about the money.  Virginia envisions a truly collaborative process to develop a strong program to measure impact. “The great thing about the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is that they’re in it with us and they understand it’s total innovation,” said Matt. Instead of relying on traditional industry benchmarks, their joint goals are focused on long-term success in the workforce development sector.

GCTA will continue to fundraise to ensure the sustainability of the program. They are also participating in the Mission Capital Accelerator program – a spot awarded to them by the Social Venture Partners at Philanthropitch. According to Matt, the Accelerator has already been helpful in developing the model and their network.

Matt and GCTA appreciate the value of participating in Philanthropitch. “This network is really valuable and the most important piece is to truly understand who is in the room at the event,” said Matt.