2015 Annual Report

There is Much to Celebrate in a Year of Transition for CAN
CAN staff: Catie Bialick, Research Specialist; Hannah Brown, Program Coordinator; Raul Alvarez, Executive Director; Mary Dodd, Assistant Director
I will always think of 2015 as the year that I returned to CAN. I had the pleasure of serving as one of the two City Council representatives on the CAN governing board from 2000-2006. In 2015, I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to return to the organization as Executive Director - only the third person to serve in this role in CAN's 23 year history. I will work hard to bring the same level of commitment to the job as my two predecessors, Fred Butler and Vanessa Sarria!

The accomplishments highlighted below clearly demonstrate that CAN did not skip a beat with regard to its efforts to convene, connect and inform during this year of transition. I must give credit to CAN staff, especially Mary Dodd for serving as CAN Interim Executive Director during the transition. Mary effectively guided the organization in accomplishing its 2015 Work Plan while at the same time facilitating the search for a new Executive Director. I must also acknowledge the active engagement of CAN Board Chair Erica Saenz, CAN Community Council Chair Anne Harutunian and the entire CAN Executive Committee during this year of transition.
As we look forward to 2016, I am greatly encouraged by the energy, commitment and drive of the individuals and organizations that make-up CAN and look forward to what we will accomplish in the coming year through our collective efforts.

Raul Alvarez 
CAN Executive Director 
Highlights of 2015 Accomplishments 
CAN Dashboard: Setting a Common Agenda
CAN published the sixth annual  CAN Community Dashboard Report. This report and its accompanying website, www.cancommunitydashboard.org, have become a signature product of CAN.  This annual snapshot of our community's well-being provides a backdrop for the CAN partners' conversations and helps to direct the work of CAN by highlighting areas that require our collaborative attention and focus. 
Cultural Competence, Diversity & Inclusion
CAN began 2015 with four training sessions, specifically designed for senior staff from CAN's partner agencies. Many thanks to CAN Board Chair Erica Saenz for leading this Work Group and to Cardea Services, Jeremy Solomons & Associates and Jelani Consulting for designing and presenting the training sessions. CAN also released results of a Language Access Survey and convened meetings of local stakeholders to consider how they can collaborate and share resources to better meet the language needs of our community's diversifying population. Click here to learn more about these sessions.   
Asset Based Community Development 
Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) focuses on building on and developing the strengths within communities to affect change. All first-year students at Huston-Tillotson University participated in an Asset Based Community Development training, hosted by CAN, on their campus. The students were joined by non-profit organizations and others in the community, with whom they had been working on first-year projects. A second ABCD training was held in the Rundberg community for neighborhood leaders. Both training sessions were led by Dan Duncan, a nationally-regarded expert in Asset Based Community Development.
Building a Person-Centered Community
The CAN Community Council devoted its work in 2015 to better understanding how non-profit organizations strive to provide services with a person-centered approach. As a culmination of its work, the Community Council hosted "Building a Person-Centered Community: A Participatory Summit" in October at the Austin ISD Performing Arts Center. CAN partners, service providers, funding organizations and other community stakeholders came together to consider what action we can take individually and collaboratively to create a more person-centered community.
CAN Community Council's Person-Centered Summit
CAN Community Council's Person-Centered Summit

Expanding Opportunity: A Central Texas Summit on Bridging the Economic Divide 
Policy makers, business and community leaders, service providers, and educators from across the five-county Austin metro area came together to consider how to ensure that the opportunity provided by our region's growth is expanded to all people. 
Click here for links to an event summary, pictures and CAPCOG Economic Development manager Chris Schreck's presentation of demographic, educational and economic data for the five county Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos metro area. 

Food in Our Community Stakeholder Forums
In September 2015, CAN worked with partner organizations Manor ISD and Del Valle ISD to host two stakeholder meetings - one in Manor and the other in Del Valle - to discuss food access in those communities. The forums were designed to gather information about food access for the Travis County Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) and to to identify opportunities for local action to improve food access.  Click here for a presentation on outcomes from the two forums. 

Community Dialogue on Equity and Opportunity
CAN, Leadership Austin, Interfaith Action Central Texas (iACT), and Civic Collaboration are participating in a Kettering Foundation Learning Collaborative to develop a framework for community dialogues around the issue of equity and opportunity.  Along with our partners, we have held listening sessions with members of the community to find out what they think can be done to ensure that all members of our community are included in the opportunities that emerge from Austin's vibrant economy.  What we hear from these sessions will help us develop an issue guide that will serve as a backdrop to community dialogues to be held in 2016.  

Ready by 21 
CAN updated the Ready By 21 Dashboard of indicators that helps our community gauge whether our children and youth are ready for school, work and life.   

Continuing to set the table for dialogue
Many of the conversations of last year will continue into this year. The CAN Board of Directors approved this  2016 CAN Work Plan at its December 11, 2015 meeting.  
 CAN Partners


Austin Chamber of Commerce

Austin Community College

Austin ISD


Austin Travis County Integral Care
Capital Area Black
Chamber of Commerce
Capital Metro

Central Health

City of Austin
City of Pflugerville

Community Justice Council
Del Valle ISD
Goodwill Industries
of Central Texas
Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce
Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Huston-Tillotson University
interfaith Action of    Central Texas
Manor ISD

One Voice Central Texas

Seton Healthcare Family


St. David's Foundation


St. Edward's University


Travis County


United Way for Greater Austin


University of Texas at Austin


Workforce Solutions - Capital Area


CAN Vision
Our richly diverse 
community will be healthy, safe, educated, just and compassionate where all people work together to achieve their full potential and celebrate their lives.
CAN Mission
CAN is a partnership of governmental, non-profit, private and faith-based organizations which leverage mutual resources to collectively improve social, health, educational and economic opportunities in our community. 
Connecting and Informing
Stay connected with CAN and informed about community issues and planning efforts...


Looking Ahead to the Coming Year




can logo

CAN Welcomes New Leaders for 2016    
2016 Board leadership: Simone Talma Flowers, Vice Chair; Erica Saenz, Past Chair; Jeremy Martin, Chair
CAN Board of Directors
Jeremy Martin, Senior Vice President of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, will Chair the CAN Board of Directors in 2016.

Simone Talma Flowers, Executive Director of Interfaith Action Central Texas (iACT) will serve as Vice Chair.

We greatly appreciate the hard work and dedication of our 2015 Board Chair, Erica Saenz, Associate Vice President for Community and External Relations with the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at UT Austin. Erica's commitment to CAN and our community is simply outstanding!

The CAN Board of Directors is made up of Board members and executive leaders of the 25 CAN partner organizations. 
2016 CAN Community Council Leaders: Ara Merjanian, Vice Chair; Eileen Schrandt, Chair; Anne H. Harutunian, Past Chair

CAN Community Council
Eileen Schrandt, Director of Community Development for the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, will Chair the CAN Community Council in 2016. 

Ara Merjanian, a management consultant, will serve as Vice Chair. A heartfelt thanks to Anne Harutunian for serving as chair in 2015 and for her many years of service on the Community Council.

The CAN Community Council is a self-appointed board of individuals who reflect the diversity of interests, concerns, organizations, issues and populations of the Central Texas community. The role of the Community Council is to provide a link between the community at large and the CAN Board of Directors.  Click here to learn about applying to serve on the CAN Community Council.