2019 SXSW Community Service Awards honorees

Sept 6: Community Service Deadline

The Forrest Four-Cast: Sept. 2, 2019

UPDATE: Deadline now extended to end of day on Sun, Sept 8

Summer is officially over so it’s time to start planning a spring break! The application process for the many competitions that are part of SXSW 2020 is well underway with some key milestones coming up at the end of this week.

To this end, the deadline to apply for the 2020 SXSW Community Service Awards is the end of the day on Friday, September 6. These awards recognize six individuals and six organizations for their dedication to fostering positive community impact, and present up to $50,000 in total grants, in addition to free registration to SXSW to help recipients further their goals.

The Community Service Awards celebrate the life and work of SXSW Interactive co-founder, Dewey Winburne. SXSW stuff as well as an Austin-based committee review all nominations with an eye to the qualities of community, compassion, care, and education that Winburne brought to his tenure at SXSW.

The six winning individuals will each receive a grant to an eligible 501(c)(3) or eligible charity of their choice as well as a complimentary registration to SXSW 2020.

Judges are looking for individuals whose creative community service work bridges the digital divide and includes some degree of grassroots or hands-on organizing, and who have a body of work and a track record of community service.

Learn more about the 2019 Recipients below.

Aideé Granados: In 2014, two years after being diagnosed with breast cancer, Granados became a certified as a Wellness Coach and founded Rosa Es Rojo, Inc., a nonprofit committed to educating Latinas on wellness and cancer prevention, starting in North Texas.

Mauricio Villada Lopera: Committed to working with marginalized communities, Lopera left his job at a leading bank in Colombia to create positive change in Medellin. He and Beatriz Peña Vasquez created Expovoluntariado, which has impacted more than 120 social organizations in the country, and brings together organizations and projects with volunteers who are willing to donate their time to transform the world.

Rwenshaun Miller: In 2013, Miller founded Eustress, Inc., a nonprofit organization that raises mental health awareness through educational and inspirational content, trainings, workshops, and annual multi-city “Let’s Talk About It” walks. Through Eustress, he uses his experience as therapist, author, and social entrepreneur to shed light on issues that affect our mental health and to provide tools and techniques to manage them.

Sheena McFeely: An author, creator, and motivational speaker, McFeely is a proud Deaf woman who believes that doing gets you somewhere, while talking gets you nowhere. She produced, directed, and distributed ASL Nook online, which has reached more than a million hits and has been featured on The Nate Berkus Talk Show, A&E’s Deaf Out Loud documentary, and more.

Estella Sanchez: An artist, activist, educator, and organizer, Sanchez is the founder and Executive Director of Sol Collective, which serves as a multicultural hub in Northern California and beyond, working to support and cultivate artists, creative businesses, community groups, and arts programming.

Fran Tarr: A renowned artist, arts educator and creative activist, Tarr founded Breaking Walls in 2011. She continues to direct this U.S.-based international youth empowerment movement, which fosters global dialogue among the leaders of tomorrow by creating artistic, educational and community-building opportunities for youth to become empathetic, system changing leaders.

To apply for an organizational award, 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.

These winners are selected based on their connection to one of the following aspects of SXSW: Interactive, Film, Music, EDU, or Gaming. We give an edge to projects and programs that generally serve the Austin/Central Texas community, and to organizations that can demonstrate hands-on solutions to community issues, especially where they improve the lives of the underprivileged or disenfranchised.

Learn more about the 2019 winners below.

Born2Walk: Striving to provide inexpensive, adjustable and modular below-knee prosthetics to developing countries, Born2Walk uses 3-D modeling and printing to custom make prosthetic pieces that are combined to form a leg and, most recently, feet.

Black Girls CODE: Since 2011, Black Girls CODE has been committed to providing girls from underrepresented communities access to technology and the 21st century skills necessary to become tech leaders. It has reached more than 8,000 young women in 14 chapters around the world.

HRA Studios and Foundation (HRAF): Providing music and arts outreach to treatment centers, clinics, schools, shelters, and individuals from ages 3 to 80, this organization has established a music program at a Tijuana orphanage, recorded original music by a young cancer survivor at Hollywood’s Capitol Studios, and donated over a thousand instruments and creative tools in its “Play It Forward” program.

Lights Camera Discover: Devoted to developing strategies and bringing out positive skill sets for youth, Lights Camera Discover provides workshops to students throughout the country that teach components of performing and digital arts, including acting, digital filmmaking, photography, screenwriting, digital editing, web design, motion graphics and more.

StreetBooksATX: An offshoot of a Portland, Ore. non-profit established in 2011, StreetRootsATX cultivates compassionate and inclusive communities through the love of literature with a mobile lending library for members of the local community with no fixed address.

The Colorado River Alliance: Championing the long-term vitality of the Texas Colorado River through education and engagement, the Colorado River Alliance offers programs that reach over 14,000 students and community members annually. One of the Alliance’s main programs, the Mobile River, is a water-science-center-on-wheels that delivers hands-on aquatic science and water-stewardship education directly to 7th grade students.

Find links to apply for the 2020 Community Service Awards here, and send any questions about individual or organization Community Service Awards to communitygrant@sxsw.com. And don’t forget the deadline — end of the day on Friday, September 6.

Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.




Celebrating creativity at SXSW. Also, reading reading reading, the Boston Red Sox, good food, exercise when possible and sleep sleep sleep.

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Hugh Forrest

Hugh Forrest

Celebrating creativity at SXSW. Also, reading reading reading, the Boston Red Sox, good food, exercise when possible and sleep sleep sleep.

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