We recently caught up with Tammy Lynn Gilmore, Senior Conference Programmer & Nonprofit Grant Specialist at SXSW, to learn more about her badass job, the incredible people she gets to meet through her role, and the SXSW Community Service Awards. Here's the scoop.
Gilmore works as a programmer for the social impact tract of SXSW, which includes administering the Community Service Awards during the fest (aka telling people they've won an awesome grant and cash money). These awards celebrate innovative, forward-thinking individuals and organizations that are creating new ways to improve their communities. During the fest, she gets to meet these grant honorees that are doing incredible, selfless work, and those that are affected by these groups giving back. (Oh and by the way, the deadline to apply to win a $5,000 grant this Friday, August 4 - so get on it!)
WHY IS YOUR JOB AWESOME?
I get to work with some of the most giving, philanthropic people that come to Austin in March. That's very fulfilling.
BEING MARRIED TO A MUSICIAN (COLIN GILMORE), YOU'RE NO STRANGER TO HOW MUSIC AND OTHER ART STYLES CAN CHANGE LIVES. ARE THEIR ANY PARTICULAR AWARD WINNERS THAT HAVE SURPRISED YOU OR LEFT A STRONG IMPRESSION?
Our first year's winners really blew me away. I knew there was a need for this grant program, but it was amazing to see the different nonprofits talk about their work. Swan Songs fulfills musical wishes at the end of life by organizing private concerts for individuals with a terminal illness – that application made everyone cry.
HAS WORKING IN THE SOCIAL IMPACT FIELD CHANGED HOW YOU SEE THINGS?
Definitely, I have a lot more knowledge about how to vote with my wallet, how to talk about certain issues, and MUCH more knowledge of what's going on in countries all over the world.
WHO SHOULD APPLY FOR THE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARDS?
For the individual award – anyone doing work to improve their community, especially those with a body of work that isn't necessarily related to their job (and community can be geographic or virtual). For the organizations, we are really looking for orgs specializing in helping the following communities: Music, Film, Interactive, Edu and Gaming. We're trying to give back to the communities we serve with our festivals.
ANY ADVICE FOR FIRST-TIMERS?
Touch people's hearts with your story, and then back it up with data. Show us how the $5,000 can do the most good for you. It's not a huge amount of money, so we want to be sure we're granting it to an organization where it will really make a difference.
There you have it, y'all. You have a few days left to apply for the Awards, and you can do so here. Winners will be notified in the fall, and invited to attend the awards ceremony in March during SXSW. The SXSW Community Service Awards are free and open to the public, so you can come too!
Want to bump in to Tammy Lynn Gilmore? She'll be attending the Cherrywood Art Fair this December (we will too!), a good party that raises money for the Chula League and their art programs. See you there.