Give 5 Manifesto

As consumers and citizens, we make choices every day.

We choose where to eat, where to drink, where to shop, where to be entertained, where to take leisure, who to vote for, whether or not to recycle, whether or not to ride our bikes or drive a car. Moment to moment, these may seem like small choices. But over time the effects of these choices add up and have big impacts on our world.

At Give 5 to Mother Earth, our mission is to support nonprofit organizations who are working to preserve and protect the health and longevity of our community – both its natural environment and its inhabitants.

Each year around Earth Day, we gather together around this purpose, working alongside socially conscious business owners in Austin to raise funds for our nonprofit beneficiaries in an effort to keep Austin clean, green, and healthy.

On Give 5 Day, Friday, April 21st, we ask Austinites to rally and “Eat, Shop & Play” by patronizing the businesses who are standing beside our nonprofit partners, generously choosing to pay it forward by dedicating a portion of their profits from Give 5 Day toward making our city a better place.

We recognize that each and every Austinite has a choice about where to eat, where to drink, where to shop, and we hope that all of our fellow citizens will make those choices wisely on Give 5 Day and on every day.

We ask both businesses and citizens to join us on Friday, April 21, 2017 in our mission to keep Austin clean, green, and healthy by becoming part of the Give 5 initiative.

Here are a few easy ways you can get involved:

We look forward to seeing you on Give 5 Day!

TreeFolks: Saving the Environment One Tree at a Time

2 million. That is how many trees TreeFolks has planted in Central Texas since being founded in 1989. TreeFolks mission is to empower Central Texans to build stronger communities through planting and caring for trees. In our interview with TreeFolks Executive Director, Thais Perkins, we learn how TreeFolks is making this mission possible through community building, education, reforestation, and urban forest building. 

 How has Give 5 helped TreeFolks in the past?
Give 5 raises awareness of our environmental nonprofit community in audiences that may not usually interact with us, and has provided an easy way for the Austin community to give back to the environment. The funds raised from Give 5 last year enabled 1,000 trees to be planted along Blanco River in Hays County.
Why should people care about your cause?

Trees in urban settings like Austin clean the air, filter pollution, slow flooding, and provide shade. Trees give us a sense of place – people who move here tend to cite Austin’s green landscape as one of the main reason’s they’re drawn here. The urban forest is under increasing pressure from drought and ongoing development, so the attraction of Austin may be a victim of its own success. It’s up to us to preserve existing trees and plant new ones where we can.

Do you see any effects from the constant construction and expansion of Austin’s urban areas?

Austin is notable, as is much of the rest of Texas, because of successful economic development. As the city evolves, our green spaces must be protected and need to evolve as well cope with the growing urban areas. As building expands, resulting in more ground that cannot soak up water or support plants, the urban heat island expands and we experience more stormwater runoff. Trees are an important and inexpensive way to mitigate many impacts from development. In addition, many of the trees that are removed for new development are hundreds of years old, and trees grow very slowly in Texas’ climate. It is critical to preserve them.

What can Austinites do today that will contribute to the preservation of the Austin environment? 

Plant trees and protect the ones we already have. TreeFolks distributes over 4,200 trees a year to Austin homeowners through a partnership with the City of Austin. So if anyone is interested in planting their own tree give us a call and we can help you with figuring out what kind of tree would best fit within your home’s environment, and we’ll give you tips on how to keep your tree healthy.

Are there any cool projects being worked on now, or that are planned for this coming year?

We are currently implementing a plan to help the homeowners along the Blanco River in Hays County who were impacted by the floods in 2015, in a program meant to plant hundreds of thousands of trees along 61 miles of the Blanco.


In Austin, we are also working on expanding educational activities for kids, such as our free, fun, family Tree ID Walks. We are looking to make them more accessible for different skill levels, and to increase our bilingual offerings. TreeFolks is also looking to help build an outdoor toolshed and learning center, which will provide a place for people to learn how to care for trees.

Any closing comments or thoughts?

Give 5 is a fantastic opportunity to support Central Texas’ environment through a fun night out with friends. I hope folks also use the opportunity to learn a little more about all of the organizations here in Austin that work to make our environment sustainable for future generations.

One Month Away from Give 5 Day!

Austin – SXSW and Spring Break are now behind us. It’s been a busy month, but we are just getting started over here at Give 5 Day!

As of today, we are just one month out from the event.

Don’t worry though – there is still plenty of time to get involved and sign up for the campaign!

We hope all of our local business owners in the community  will consider joining us (and other local businesses like Alamo Drafthouse, Guero’s, Homeslice Pizza, and Juiceland) this year in our mission to keep Austin clean, green, and healthy by supporting 9 environmental nonprofits working to preserve our local environment.

Here are the details:
  • Give 5 to Mother Earth Day will be held on Friday, April 21, 2017, the day before Earth Day;
  • Business partners pledge to donate 5% of gross sales from that one day (or a set amount of at least $200) to the Give 5 Fund, which is equally distributed to our 9 nonprofit partners;
  • Austinites are encouraged to get out to “eat, shop & play” on Give 5 Day to patronize our business partners and raise funds for our beneficiaries. 

We will be promoting the campaign heavily through the media and online in this final month leading up to the event, and we look forward to highlighting the generosity of our business partners!

If you are interested in signing up, you can do so at this link OR send us an email if you have any questions. 
Many thanks to you all, and we look forward to seeing with you on Give 5 Day!

Waller Creek Conservancy: Connecting People to Green Space in the Heart of Austin

Waller Creek Conservancy’s mission is to create and maintain a chain of extraordinary urban parks around a restored Waller Creek, in partnership with the City of Austin, for the benefit of all. We sat down with Waller Creek Conservancy’s Marketing & Communications Manager, Dana Efthim, to talk about how they’re working to achieve their goals. 

How has Give 5 helped Waller Creek Conservancy in the past?

We were thrilled to be invited to participate in the Give 5 program last year––we connected with many brand-new supporters and our organization raised dollars for free programs on Waller Creek. The Give 5 initiative is bringing new interest and awareness to these nine incredible non-profits focused on improving the environment in Central Texas; we couldn’t be more excited to be a beneficiary again this year!

Why should people care about your cause?

Our mission is to create and maintain a chain of extraordinary urban parks around a restored Waller Creek in downtown Austin. The Waller Creek Park district is a place for everyone. Our new parks, along with a restored Waller Creek, will encourage play, renew the natural environment, promote health and wellness, and connect people to green space. The first park, Waterloo Park, and the Moody Amphitheater will open to the public in 2019––inviting all of Austin to experience a new parks district.

Do you see any negative effects from the constant construction and expansion of Austin’s urban areas?

Development and growth in Austin in not necessarily a negative, but we have to grow smart. That means putting people at the core of our city’s expansion and listening to the needs of our community. Reconnecting south and east Austin to the urban core, creating pedestrian and bicycle-friendly mobility options, along with places for kids and families to connect with nature are at the heart of the Conservancy’s revitalization of Waller Creek. Together, we can find solutions that impact everyone in a positive way.

What can Austinites do today that will contribute to the preservation of the Austin environment?

Start small. Joining our young leaders’ group, GenWaller, presents many opportunities for advocacy, leadership, and volunteerism. Consider volunteering at a clean-up or through our new Waller Creek Park Stewards program––launching later this year––designed to give a hands-on approach in the restoration of the creek’s natural environment.

Are there any cool projects being worked on now, or that are planned for this coming year?

Construction on Waller Creek Park’s northern-most section at Waterloo Park begins later this year! This 11-acre park will include the world-class Moody Amphitheater for performing arts events and concerts, along with a variety of green spaces for play and interaction.

Thousands of locals and visitors enjoyed Orly Genger’s interactive art installation, Hurlyburly, at the Waller Delta this past year. Be on the lookout for a new collaborative art exhibit with The Contemporary Austin this summer!


The annual Creek Show event returns for the fourth year this November. Austinites are invited to experience five new light-based art installations along Waller Creek for ten nights. The event also includes live music, kids’ activities, and opens imaginations to the possibility of the future of Waller Creek Park.

Any closing comments or thoughts?

Big thanks to the entire Austin community and Give 5 for their continued support of Waller Creek Conservancy. We have a big mission and we couldn’t do it without you! If you haven’t heard of us, we invite you to come see what we’re all about. Join us at a free event or check us out on social media. #wallercreek

Texas Campaign for the Environment is on a Mission

Texas Campaign for the Environment is an environmental powerhouse group on a mission to fight pollution through sustained grassroots organizing campaigns that shift corporate and governmental policy. We recently interviewed our friend, Zac Trahan, over at Texas Campaign for the Environment about how Give 5 has helped them in the past and why it is so important to care about their cause.


How has Give 5 helped Texas Campaign for the Environment in the past? 
In the four years we’ve been participating in Austin’s Give 5 event, local businesses 
have helped raise thousands of dollars for Texas Campaign for the Environment Fund 
and other terrific non-profit organizations. This has provided us with vital resources to 
fight pollution and work for clean water, air and land in Central Texas and throughout 
the state. 
Why should people care about your cause? 
If you care about sustainability, environmental protection, social justice and public 
health, you should support the organizations that work all day, every day to prevent 
pollution and leave the world a better place for future generations. We believe that 
since all social progress begins locally, supporting local groups ensures that your 
support will make a lasting impact. 
Do you see any negative effects from the constant construction and expansion of 
Austin’s urban areas? 
Austin and its surrounding communities were literally made possible by the unique, 
diverse ecosystem we live in—it’s what has sustained human societies here for 
thousands of years. Development can support our urban population growth, but if it 
comes at the expense of our natural habitat, healthy air and clean water, it will 
ultimately endanger and undermine the very source of our sustenance.  
What can Austinites do today that will contribute to the preservation of the Austin 
There are innumerable ways to help protect and preserve our environment every day. 
Just to name the first few: 
Support organizations that are fighting for local policies and programs that will 
reduce our collective waste of natural resources—water conservation, 
renewable energy, recycling and composting, sustainable development, 
habitat preservation and so much more. Austin is home to many amazing 
non-profit groups, so find the ones that you are most passionate about and 
help them succeed. 
Support the local businesses that make Austin such a great place to 
live—they are typically more invested in the long-term sustainability of our 
region than larger, national chains. Events such as Give 5 highlight this 
Reduce your own impact by finding ways to eliminate waste before it 
starts—avoid disposable products and wasteful packaging, reuse as much as 
possible and then recycle or compost what’s left, make sure your home is
energy and water efficient, find transportation solutions that don’t leave you 
sitting in traffic. 
Get out and enjoy the actual environment so you’ll be more invested in its 
long-term protection! Hike your favorite trails, swim your favorite waters, build 
an appreciation for the sheer natural beauty of Central Texas—and then use 
that appreciation to help fight for its survival. 
Are there any exciting projects being worked on now, or that are planned for this coming 
Our biggest current project has been expanding Austin’s curbside composting 
program to cover all households over the next few years. This will be the biggest leap 
forward for waste reduction since curbside recycling started decades ago—for the first 
time, Austin residents will be sending more resources to recycling and composting 
facilities than to local landfills. That’s a huge step toward our goal to become a Zero 
Waste city by 2040! 
In addition, our next project will be gear toward getting recycling and composting bins 
at all city parks, bus stops and other public places, so that all of us will be able to 
reduce waste wherever we go. 
Any closing comments or thoughts? 
Give 5 is a unique event that adds yet another great perk to living in Austin. You can 
put your own ideals and values into action, support the local businesses you love, and 
provide resources for the non-profits you know are making a difference—all at once. 
Go for it. 

Austin Businesses – Sign Up Today for Give 5 Day 2017!

Spring is springing here in Austin, and we are just 2 months away from Give 5 to Mother Earth Day on Friday, April 21st!

Environmental protection is facing a lot of uncertainty in these times, and we are calling on all local business owners in Austin to join us in supporting 9 community nonprofits working to keep our city clean, green, and healthy.

As a Give 5 Day business partner, you’ll be able to help organizations like Hill Country Conservancy, Shoal Creek Conservancy, TreeFolks, Park Pease Conservancy, Austin Parks Foundation, Waller Creek Conservancy, Texas Campaign for the Environment Fund, Sustainable Food Center, & Friends of Barton Springs Pool in a single day.

Please join us in preserving our Central Texas environment, sign up today, and spread the word!

Give 5% to Mother Earth Campaign Raises Over $45,000

7th Annual Give 5% to Mother Earth Day Raises More than $45K for Local Environmental Nonprofits

With the support of 165 Austin-area businesses and sponsors, the 2016 Give 5% to Mother Earth Day campaign, held on Friday, April 22, 2016, raised more than $45,000 for 9 environmental nonprofit organizations working to keep our Central Texas community clean, green, and healthy.

The amount raised was a record high for the initiative, which is currently in its 7th year.

Give 5 to Mother Earth Day was held on Earth Day, Friday, April 22nd, with support from Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who issued a proclamation declaring April 22nd as “Give 5 to Mother Earth Day.”

Business partners of the campaign pledged to donate 5% of their gross sales on Earth Day to the following organizations: Hill Country Conservancy, Shoal Creek Conservancy, Treefolks, Austin Parks Foundation, Sustainable Food Center, Pease Park Conservancy, Friends of Barton Springs Pool, Texas Campaign for the Environment Fund, and Waller Creek Conservancy.

“We are extremely honored by the generosity of so many local business owners who demonstrated their commitment to protecting and preserving our community this past Earth Day,” said Sarah Andrews, Give 5’s Executive Director. “With continued support from Austin’s business community, we look forward to growing this campaign to new heights in the years to come and making an even greater impact on our environment.”

For more information on this year’s business sponsors, partners and local nonprofit beneficiaries, visit our 2016 campaign page.

Treefolks: Inspiring Difference Makers

TreeFolks: Inspiring People of Austin to Make a Difference in Their Community

TreeFolks Executive Director Thais Perkins shares why her organization is a proud beneficiary of Give 5 to Mother Earth this year.

treefolks image 

Why is your organization participating in 2016’s Give 5 campaign?

TreeFolks is participating in the 2016 Give 5% to Mother Earth Campaign to connect the community with their environment and rally support for additional tree planting and care services in Central Texas.  Each year, TreeFolks organizes the amazing energy of 2,000 volunteers to plant and care for trees in local communities.  Trees are planted at Central Texas schools, parks and neighborhoods, along streets, in community gardens and at people’s homes in fire-ravaged Bastrop County.  We’ve also led hundreds of educational workshops to build a cadre of citizens that are well equipped to care for their urban forest.  The Give 5% campaign will directly support these programs that benefit Central Texas’ urban forests, making Austin a better place to live, work and play. 

Why are initiatives like Give 5 so important to the Austin community?

The Give 5% campaign is so important because it inspires the people of Austin and local businesses to make a difference in their community.  This campaign easily connects Central Texans with environmental causes that are crucial to maintaining healthy, green communities for generations to come.  

What are pressing challenges facing our natural environment in Central Texas? How do you think Give 5 and it’s partner organizations can play a role in addressing these challenges?

Unfortunately, there is no lack of need for TreeFolks’ tree planting services in Central Texas.  Increased tree loss from drought and urban development, devastating wildfires in Bastrop County and record-breaking flooding along the Blanco River are all threatening the health of our ecosystem.  TreeFolks has planted two million trees since a small group of founding volunteers started planting trees in local parks back in 1989.  This year, TreeFolks developed a program to reforest the riparian forest along the Blanco River in Hays County after the Memorial Day floods.  This program will work with private landowners and other restoration groups to replant 650,000 trees along the river and rebuild the riparian ecosystems that clean the water, support wildlife and reduce future flooding.  The Give 5% to Mother Earth campaign and its partner organizations play a major role in addressing these environmental challenges to increase the overall health of our urban ecosystem.

Austin Mayor Proclaims ‘Give 5 Day’

Mayor Steve Adler Proclaims Friday, April 22nd as “Give 5 to Mother Earth Day” in the City of Austin; Encourages Austinites to patronize participating businesses

Austin Mayor Steve Adler has officially proclaimed next Friday, April 22nd as “Give 5 to Mother Earth Day” and is asking Austinites to get out and “eat, shop & play” at Give 5 participating businesses in order to raise funds and awareness for the work of Give 5’s 9 environmental nonprofits.

In the proclamation, Mayor Adler says:

“Austin is known for its stewardship of our environment and, on Earth Day, it is most appropriate to recognize the many people committed to preserving the valuable natural treasures of Central Texas. In order to successfully protect our natural resources and our earth as a whole, our entire community – including local political leaders, community leaders, and business owners must work together.

To celebrate the 46th Anniversary of Earth Day, more than 100 local businesses are donating 5 percent of their sales to a coalition of nonprofit organizations committed to improving the quality of life for all citizens … I call on all Austinites to join me in thanking the participating businesses for generously donating a portion of their Earth Day sales and I urge citizens to celebrate Earth Day by patronizing these businesses.


Waller Creek Conservancy Building Engaged Communities

Waller Creek Conservancy: “An engaged community is the foundation of a sustainable Austin.”

Waller Creek Conservancy CEO Peter Mullan shares why they are excited to be a part of the Give 5 initiative and how the Conservancy is working to create a restored Waller Creek in downtown Austin.

wc iMAGE

Why is your organization participating in 2016’s Give 5 campaign?

We are honored to be a part of the Give 5% to Mother Earth Day Campaign, bringing heightened awareness to eight incredible non-profits working to improve the environment and quality of life for all of Austin. At the Waller Creek Conservancy, we are focused on restoring nature, creating healthy places, and offering a uniquely Austin experience in our parks. The Give 5 initiative is engaging residents to actively participate in the revitalization of Waller Creek.

Why are initiatives like Give 5 so important to the Austin community?

Give 5 is an important effort and shows our community’s commitment to giving back to our community, and to environmentally-focused causes in Austin, in particular. An engaged community is the foundation of a sustainable Austin.

What are pressing challenges facing our natural environment in Central Texas? How do you think Give 5 and its partner orgs can play a role in addressing these challenges?

As Austin continues to grow, and become more urban, greenspace in our urban core becomes even more vital to its future. Give 5 creates awareness of the role that the natural environment plays in a healthy and active city. For example, Waller Creek has for decades faced major environmental challenges—from erosion to damaging floods, invasive species, and pollution. The Waller Creek Conservancy is working to address these historic environmental issues, and the funds raised through Give 5 will help the Waller Creek Conservancy revitalize Waller Creek into a new model for urban parks that will serve all Austinites.

Any additional thoughts you’d like to share?

Creating downtown parks is a great complement to the dense urban development that is occurring in our city. The future Waller Creek parks district will offer both access to nature and a platform for public programming that reflects Austin’s diversity and creative spirit, including music, food, and public art.  Nature and culture–together–that is what make Austin Austin, and Give 5 is helping Waller Creek Conservancy and others to create an engaged city that maintains its authentic character.

(Photo: David Brendan Hall)