Vision Awards

Each year since 2004, Liveable City has presented the annual Liveable Vision Awards to recognize outstanding individuals, businesses and organizations who have made a positive difference in the life of our community. Since their inception, the Awards have evolved into five distinct categories, representing the “Five E´s of Sustainability” – Economy, Engagement, Environment, Equity, and Esthetics. Past Vision Award winners are listed below by year.

2011 Vision Award Winners

Economy: Austin Small Business Development Program

For going the extra mile to help our local businesses stay strong. Created in 2000, this program is the only 100% locally funded small business program in the country, offering free and low-cost tools to help Austin entrpreneurs grow their businesses. Austin is now ranked the number one city in America for small business creation.

Engagement: Save Texas Schools

A completely volunteer grassroots organization that was less than two months old at the time – pulled off the biggest demonstration in recent Texas history. Over 13,000 people showed up from all over Texas during spring break to speak out at the Capital against funding cuts for public education. Since then, the Save Texas Schools movement has continued to grow, with volunteer chapters forming all across the state.

Environment: Save Our Spring Alliance

As it turns 21, the Save Our Springs Alliance still leads the fight to ensure a clean sustainable water source for our growing city. SOS has been at the forefront of almost every major environmental or conservation effort in this city for the last twenty years, bringing science, data, and endless passion to this cause. Every person who drinks a glass of water in Austin today owes them an extraordinary debt of gratitude.

Equity: The Equal Justice Center

For helping to ensure that all working people receive a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. EJC empowers low- and moderate-income workers in recovering millions in improperly withheld wages. Many of the workers they’ve helped are now effectively enforcing their own wage rights, achieving new levels of empowerment and affirmative civic engagement.

Esthetics: Deep Eddy Mural Project

For preserving our history, strengthening our community, and creating an artwork of lasting beauty. Austin artists Wanda Montemayor and Lisa Orr worked with art students from eight area middle and high schools, and countless community volunteers to create a mosaic mural that tells the story of Deep Eddy, one of Austin’s most loved pools.

2010 Vision Award Winners

Economy: Austin Independent Business Alliance

For working to ensure the success of hundreds of locally-owned businesses, keeping three times the money in our local economy compared to national chains – and keeping Austin from becoming Anywhere USA.

Engagement: Franklin Gardens/ Chestnut Neighborhood Revitalization Corporation

For engaging a neighborhood to preserve its roots with affordable senior housing that lets longtime residents stay in the place they call home.

Environment:  Sustainable Food Center

For showing Austinites from every zip code how to keep toxins out of our earth, air and water – and how to put healthy food on our tables.

Equity: TexHealth Central Texas

For using a groundbreaking nonprofit model to offer low-cost health insurance to small area businesses – providing equitable, affordable health care for the people who make Austin work every day.

Esthetics: Sunflowers – An Electric Garden

For bringing art to the I-35 access road with a people’s choice solar-powered installation that generates clean energy by day and a mesmerizing blue glow by night.

2009 Vision Award Winners

Economy: Foundation Communities´ Community Tax Centers.

These free tax preparation centers helped over 17,000 low-income Austinites get back more than $20 million in rightfully–earned tax refunds last year, providing a vital boost for Austin’s working families, as well as our local economy.

Engagement: Red Salmon Arts/Resistencia Bookstore.

Carrying on the spirit of its late founder Raul Salinas, this Austin treasure continues to draw diverse crowds for political forums and events featuring progressive writers, human rights activists, indigenous artists and other important voices.

Environment: Shudde Fath and Save Barton Creek Association.

With tireless efforts spanning 27 years, these environmental champions have worked to protect that which sustains us all – the six watersheds of the Barton Springs and the Edwards Aquifer.

Equity: PeopleTrust.

An offshoot of PeopleFund, PeopleTrust has pioneered a shared equity program that helps working families secure affordable homes and build wealth, while ensuring a continued stock of affordable housing in Austin.

Esthetics: Theatre Action Project.

Using theater and visual arts, TAP works with over 14,000 students in Austin´s public schools to spark kids´ creativity while helping them develop tools to address real–life problems like bullying, discrimination and illiteracy.

2008 Vision Award Winners

Engagement: Create Austin.

For their recently completed community cultural plan which emphasized broad public participation and dialogue on how to best steward and enhance Austin´s “creative ecosystem”.

Environment: Texas Campaign for the Environment (TCE) and Dell.

For TCE´s low tech, high impact organizing that led Dell to create a recycling program for all their machines even if owners were not purchasing new Dell equipment.

Equity: Austin Voices for Youth.

For their community organizing to expand educational opportunities for Austin youth.

Economy: Heliovolt.

For locating its flagship manufacturing facility for thin solar film in Austin and significantly strengthening Austin´s green economy.

Esthetics: Town Lake Park.

For creating a uniquely Austin park for families, friends and downtowners to splash in a fountain, watch the moon or share a kiss.

2007 Vision Award Winners

Mueller Neighborhood Coalition.

This successful multi–neighborhood coalition put in years of hard work and uncountable volunteer hours to bring forth a true community vision on the site of Austin´s old airport.

Responsible Growth for Northcross.

When a surprise supercenter threatened their neighborhood, this extraordinary group of residents and local businesses came together in a matter of weeks to protect their community, garnering citywide support and planting the seeds for long-term community involvement among thousands of neighbors.

St. John Neighborhood.

Overcoming a “transitional neighborhood” tag, St. John area residents showed they have what it takes to protect and improve their community, hosting clean–up efforts, forging community partnerships and leading the successful effort to save their neighborhood middle school.

Save Town Lake

.With massive commercial projects proposed for the banks of the Colorado, Save Town Lake arose to lead the charge for lakefront preservation and responsible development, reinvigorating the community debate on how to best protect Austin’s crown jewel and ensure its open natural beauty remains available to all.


Austin´s own award–winning TV series showcases the dynamic environment of history, architecture, people and arts that converge in downtown Austin. A co–production of the Downtown Austin Alliance, Action Figure, and KLRU, “Downtown” turns a bold eye on the heart of our town, a vivid snapshot of the brazen, fluid, enchanting mix that keeps us coming back each week.

2006 Liveable Vision Awards

The 2006 Vision Award focused on the theme of “Building Civic Spirit.” Winners included:

African American Quality of Life Initiative Community Teams

The African American Quality of Life Initiative representing an unprecedented community response to Austin´s persistent racial inequities and tensions. The group´s position paper detailed 58 recommendations to improve the lives of Austin´s African American residents and the entire city, with tangible results including a new health clinic and proposed bond funding.

Capital IDEA

Capital IDEA´s programs lift unemployed and underemployed adults out of poverty through long–term job training into high skill jobs. By addressing needs including child care, literacy, and short–term financial assistance, this organization has helped hundreds of Austinites find jobs offering good wages, benefits, and further career advancement.

Las Manitas

A gathering place for Austinites and visitors from all walks of life for over 25 years, Las Manitas is a downtown icon of good food and community. Owners Cynthia and Lidia Perez have created a warm and welcoming space for conversation, business, politics, and art.

2005 Liveable Vision Awards

The 2005 Vision Awards focused on the area of affordable housing. Winners were:


A new broad-based coalition, HousingWorks brings together citizens and activists with a wide range of skills and knowledge to improve access to affordable housing for all Austinites.

Greg Weaver and ProLogis

Greg Weaver and ProLogis worked to create a precedent-setting commitment to 25% affordable housing in the Mueller Redevelopment Project.

The Homestead Preservation Act

State Representative Eddie Rodriguez’s innovative Homestead Preservation Act has created a new financing tool to provide housing for the people of East Austin.

2004 Liveable Vision Awards

The 2004 Vision Awards focused on the area of Renewable and Sustainable Energy. The winners were:

Roger Duncan, Austin Energy

Under the leadership of Roger Duncan, Austin Energy has worked to create critical energy conservation and environmental programs, notably the Green Choice program and Austin Energy’s Strategic Plan.

Austin Clean Energy Initiative, Chip Wolfe and Carrie Norton

The Austin Clean Energy Initiative is a group of entrepreneurs, business people, and researchers who belive Austin can be a worldwide center of excellence for the emergence of clean energy technologies, products, and services.

Michael Osborne, Austin Energy

Michael Osborne is an author, inventor, policy maker, and futurist. He has served on the Steering Committee of the State of Texas Energy Policy Partnership, The Sustainable Energy Development Task Force under Governor Ann Richards, and the Texas Energy Coordinating Council. He presently serves as the Director of the Community of the Future Initiative for Austin Energy.

Solar Austin, Amanda Bybee

Solar Austin is a grassroots coalition of individuals, businesses, and organizations working to make Austin a leader in solar energy. Solar Austin led efforts to move the Austin City Council and Austin Energy to set aggressive goals in renewable energy and were a key force in establishing Austin Energy’s solar rebate program. They have assembled a coalition of over 6,000 supporters and 75 businesses that are focused on achieving a sustainable and transformative energy industry for Austin. Solar Austin believes that by leveraging the power of Austin’s municipal utility and its investment base, we can create new jobs, stabilize energy costs and lower pollution of our community.