Amplify Austin donations help homeless young adults

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Amplify Austin is hosting its third annual 24-hour fundraiser to benefit over 500 local nonprofits. One of the participating organizations, LifeWorks, helps struggling families and young adults get back on their feet.

“We have emergency shelter, transitional living and also apartments to help youth make a very safe and sustainable transition into adulthood,” said LifeWorks Executive Director Susan McDowell.

In a promotional video highlighting one of LifeWorks’ success stories, 21-year-old Franklin reveals his rough upbringing. For years, Franklin said he was in and out of foster care homes, and at one point was even homeless.

“I was living under a bridge near the River Walk so I as very scared. I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “I didn’t know if I was going to be living the next day, I didn’t know if I was going to eat the next day.”

Franklin says his life turned around when he got involved with LifeWorks.

“Here’s a young man who everyone had sort of given up on, but at LifeWorks, he got a chance. He had a lot of people who believed in him and was given a lot of opportunities,” said McDowell. “Last year LifeWorks raised $17,000 that went directly to programs that helped at risk youth achieve self-sufficiency.”

The funds raised by Amplify Austin will help LifeWorks expand these programs and give more young adults like Franklin a second chance.

“What LifeWorks made different was they give you a chance,”  said McDowell. “It’s the program that if you work through it and you push through it, it will change your life.”

Online donations will remain open until 6 p.m. March 6.

St. David’s Foundation is matching up to $1 million for contributions made to any of their 55 partnering organizations. University Federal Credit Union will match all contributions up to $72,000. UFCU plans on distributing that amount to all 515 participating nonprofits.

In the last two years, Amplify Austin has raised $8.5 million for Austin nonprofits during the 24-hour giving period. They’ve also seen success in other cities like Portland, Seattle and Colorado. Every gift is 100 percent tax deductible. Amplify Austin’s goal for 2015 is to raise $7 million.

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