AUSTIN (KXAN) — You often hear people say every penny counts, and starting Thursday night 740 nonprofits will count every one of them. It’s all part of Amplify Austin, a 24-hour operation with the goal to raise as much money for nonprofits across Central Texas.
Last year, nearly 70,000 people raised more than $10 million. This year, a new goal: $11 million.
Foundation Communities is one of those benefiting from donations. The nonprofit is known for providing affordable housing with supportive services.
Bluebonnet Studios on South Lamar Boulevard is one of those locations, there you’ll find Lisa Long with her furry best friend, Ollie.
“I swear, how I got into this apartment is nothing short of a miracle,” Long said.
She’s lived at Bluebonnet Studios for three years now after she lost her job in 2016 following a cancer diagnosis.
“My job in the middle of my treatment decided they no longer wanted to pay my premiums anymore so they fired me,” she said.
Long was on the brink of homelessness when a friend offered her a place to stay, but that would only be temporary. She quickly had to figure out what her next move would be, and with no money and no options, she was running out of time.
A social worker at her treatment facility helped her make a connection that would change her life.
“(Social worker) said, ‘There is a woman here, I don’t have a personal relationship with her, but she’s a patient and she has something to do with Foundation Communities.’ Now, obviously, I don’t know who this woman was but she saved my life,” Long said recalling that day.
She applied for services and was finally able to lease an apartment in March 2017. She pays less than $600 in rent every month. This, she says, has eliminated her financial stress and has allowed her to focus on her ongoing treatment.
“You might look at someone and think why does that person need help? Because they don’t look like they need help, but the truth of the matter is, we all have stories, we all have stories.”
Lisa has been in remission for the last two years but has been dealing with some complications from her lymphoma cancer. This, however, is not the first time Lisa has had cancer.
In 2014, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and due to the high medical bills she incurred, she had to file for bankruptcy.
Thanks to Foundation Communities, Long says she is getting her life back and is currently training to become a peer recovery coach to give back.
Long’s story is a Foundation Communities story, but hundreds of other nonprofits and community servants are asking for your dollars.
One of the ways to make your donation go further is a bunch of groups and businesses are teaming up with more than 100 nonprofits to match your donation.
St. David’s Foundation is matching up to a million dollars, Tito’s Handmade Vodka is promising to match up to $10,000, those who donate just have to type #LoveTitos when donating online.
There are other ways you can participate, Favor and Shake Shack are also donating some proceeds during the 24 hours.
The 24 hours start on Thursday at 6 p.m. A list of all the participating charities can be found here.