New "Oballa Fund" gives Austin community the opportunity to give back

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(ABC 6 NEWS) – A new community partnership in Austin is offering people a way to get involved and give back to local nonprofits.

"I feel like Austin was the America that I’d been imagining," said Austin City Councilman Oballa Oballa.

When Oballa joined the Austin City Council, he joined because he believes in public service He thought he would be working for free.

Then his first check came in the mail.

"It said ‘City of Austin.’ I look at it and I’m like what is this check for? Do we get paid for this?" he said.

So, Oballa is directing around 30 percent of his city council paycheck into something called the Oballa fund. Set up with the Austin Area Foundation, anyone can donate to the fund no matter how small the dollar amount.

"Something that can build Austin to be a community – more than a community – a family. When you move to Austin and you need help, there will be help there when you ask. But when you get that help, what can you do to help another person?" Oballa said.

Once the fund reaches $5,000 Oballa and the Austin Area Foundation will donate the money to various nonprofits throughout the city such as the Salvation Army and the YMCA.

"Whether it’s arts, education, or basic needs, we are there to help the community," said Steve Barrett, executive director of the Austin Area Foundation.

People with the foundation said that nonprofits often struggle with getting enough money fulfill their mission. And know it can be difficult getting their message out to the public.

"I don’t know that there’s a nonprofit that couldn’t use more funding," said Taggert Medgaarden, board chair of the Austin Area Foundation.

They hope to start distributing the fund in two to three years. Those who wish to donate to the Oballa Fund can do so here.