Austin Executives Association makes organization’s first charitable gift

The Austin Executives Association puts on its business cards that it was established in 1976. Actually, the members aren’t quite sure, but they think that’s right. The group of business executives from around Austin meets every second, third and fourth Wednesday of the month at Texas Land & Cattle Steak House for lunch, networking and learning from the community.

“We refer business, we share stories, we are friends,” said Leah Linney, the group’s secretary, when she describes how the group might differ from other networking groups. “This group is more about building the relationships.”

Statesman Season for Caring’s Jeff Simecek, center, receives a giant check from Austin Executives Association board members: Secretary Leah Linney, Program Director Patti Riggs, President John Fincher and Treasurer Drexel Johnson. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

When they invited Statesman Season for Caring representatives to talk to the group on Nov. 15, we thought we were just coming to share what amazing things Season for Caring has been able to do for the community since 1999 as well as talk a little bit about how the program works. Maybe a member of the group would want to donate something or put us in touch with a company that could.

And then association president John Fincher presented us with a $1,000 check. It was the group’s first charitable donation ever. Sure, they’ve asked their members to give donations to worthy causes from time to time, but they’ve never used the organization’s funds to give to a nonprofit organization.

A lot of the group’s members do charity work, but when the group decided to donate some of its surplus, Fincher said, “We didn’t want to pick one from our own group.”

The leadership came up with some different ideas and put it out to the group. Season for Caring won.

The donation will be split evenly among Season for Caring’s 12 chosen local nonprofit agencies this year: Any Baby Can, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area, CareBox Program, Caritas of Austin, Family Eldercare, Foundation Communities, Hospice Austin, Interfaith Action of Central Texas, LifeWorks, Meals on Wheels Central Texas, Opportunities for Williamson & Burnet Counties, and Wonders & Worries.

To find out more about Statesman Season for Caring or to make a donation, go to Statesman.com/seasonforcaring. Now through Dec. 11, up to $100,0000 in donations are being matched by the Sheth Family.