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Imagine of rooftops with the ECHO and WoodNext logos and text that says "Microgrants"
April 10, 2024

14 organizations awarded microgrants for diversion and rapid exit through WoodNext Foundation partnership with ECHO

AUSTIN – Fourteen organizations working to end homelessness in Austin and Travis County have a new tool in their toolbox: at least $25,000 each to help eliminate financial barriers unhoused people face when working to find a place to live. Eight of the awarded organizations are now integrated into our community’s Homelessness Response System for the first time.

The awards are a partnership with the WoodNext Foundation, which manages the philanthropy of Roku CEO/founder and Austin resident Anthony Wood and his wife Susan. The WoodNext Foundation, a component fund administered by Greater Houston Community Foundation, awarded ECHO $500,000 in direct assistance dollars to pass through to partner agencies in our community working with folks to find housing. Combined with the Austin Street Outreach Collaborative (ASOC), ECHO equipped providers with $1 million in direct assistance funds over the last two years to help people quickly end their homelessness.

The funds support diversion and rapid exit programs, designed for folks who need only minimal support to secure stable housing. Diversion and rapid exit funds can pay for things like identification and birth certificates, security deposits and other move-in costs, travel expenses, work clothing and equipment needed for stable employment, temporary accommodations while waiting on a permanent place, and more.

ECHO began issuing funds in Spring 2023, and all 14 agencies have now received at least the first installment to begin building programs to get money to people who need it. So far, the awarded organizations have used the funds to help more than 130 people end their homelessness.

The 14 organizations awarded funds through the WoodNext Foundation are:

Click through the gallery to see what some of the funded agencies are saying about the impact of these microgrants:

  • White background with yellow and blue lines in corners, logos of Queertopia, ECHO, and the WoodNext Foundation, and text that says: "As an organization consistently running on individual donations, the WoodNext Foundation Grant has been really integral in assisting Queertopia’s found family into housing. QT’s funding was specifically set to Black & Indigenous LGBTQ+ folks, sex workers of color, and elderly Black Austinites.

Our favorite use of the funding has been the increase in birth certificates, social security cards, and IDs we have been able to order while doing outreach- all necessary for housing. Queertopia literally meets people where they are at instead of forcing them to wait hours downtown at separate buildings and possibly walk away with nothing. The most common response when someone receives their ID is- “I’m a person again!” - and it has been an honor to be able to share that moment with more people. Dani Reichman
President & Co-Founder
  • White background with yellow and blue lines in corners, logos of A New Entry, ECHO, and the WoodNext Foundation, and text that says: "The WoodNext Foundation allowed our organization to assist/support individuals recovering from losses associated with addiction and homelessness with deposits and moving expenses. These funds opened up doors and broke barriers that historically would have decreased the success of our clients moving into sustainable housing. Soleece Watson
Executive Director
A New Entry"
  • White background with yellow and blue lines in corners, logos of SWEET, ECHO, and the WoodNext Foundation, and text that says: "This award from the WoodNext Foundation has significantly enhanced our capacity at Sex Workers Educating & Empowering Texans (SWEET) to provide a low barrier resource to individuals who are often underserved or overlooked. It has especially been a lifeline for individuals fleeing domestic violence or facing chronic housing instability, providing them not just with hope, but with tangible support to reach safer environments. We are immensely proud to offer this crucial resource. Noor Z.K.
Co-founder & Director
Sex Workers Educating & Empowering Texans (SWEET)"
  • White background with yellow and blue lines in corners, logos of Black Men's Health Clinic, ECHO, and the WoodNext Foundation, and text that says: "The funding allowed us to house and provide resources for over 26 individuals and families. Out of those 26, 25 are still housed and continuing on a path of stability and success. Toya Craney

Watch how three of the funded organizations (Black Men’s Health Clinic, Walking by Faith Prison Ministry, and Jail to Jobs) are putting their grants to use to help people end their homelessness quickly and permanently:

About the WoodNext Foundation
The WoodNext Foundation manages the philanthropy of tech innovator and Roku CEO/founder, Anthony Wood, and his wife Susan. Their philanthropic efforts are guided by their overall mission to advance human progress and remove obstacles to a fulfilling life. The WoodNext Foundation makes grants and investments in a variety of areas, including scientific and biomedical research, mental health, homelessness, education, nature conservation, disaster recovery, and economic opportunity, with a focus on addressing root causes.

WoodNext supports regional, national, and international efforts. As the Woods have strong ties to Texas, WoodNext’s domestic grant making has a particular focus on strengthening communities across the southern United States.

About ECHO
The Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) is the backbone of our community’s Homelessness Response System. As the lead agency for the Austin/Travis County Continuum of Care, we lead and align a coalition responsible for planning and implementing community-wide strategies to end homelessness. We work alongside people with firsthand experience of homelessness and nonprofit, government, and philanthropic partners to build a future in which everyone in our community has housing of their choice that provides a foundation for optimal health, success, and stability. Learn more:

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