Courtney Manuel

Courtney ManuelCourtney Manuel is the executive director at I Live Here I Give Here. She has more than 15 years of experience in fund development, management, and leadership. Before I Live Here I Give Here, she held a variety of positions at the University of Texas at Austin where she advanced to eventually serve as executive director for development at Dell Medical School.

Courtney’s professional experience at UT Austin boasts many impressive highlights, including leading a campaign at Dell Medical School that during her time there raised over $210 million towards a $1 billion, 10-year goal. To accomplish this goal, she worked closely with visionary donors, the Dell Medical School dean, and faculty, as well as key University of Texas partners, to create a case for support and a comprehensive, successful development plan. Additionally, she designed the development department structure and strategically selected a talented team of development professionals to support this work.

Prior to joining the Dell Medical School team, Courtney served in lead positions at the University Development Office and the School of Undergraduate Studies at UT. She has previously held leadership roles in corporate philanthropy, special events and outreach for organizations such as the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago, Literacy Chicago and Jewish Family Service of Greater Los Angeles.

Courtney and her husband Jake have two awesome kiddos, Jordan (10) and Harris (8). When she is not working to make Austin the most philanthropic community in America, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, watching live music, enjoying Austin’s amazing food scene, and volunteering on the board of directors at Shalom Austin.

Discussion guide

Think about Austin, TX, and you might think of South by Southwest, the annual ingathering of tens of thousands of music lovers, innovators, and film lovers. Or you might think of Austin City Limits, the longest running music series on TV. I Live Here I Give Here (ILHIGH) and Impact Austin want us to think of Austin as the most generous city in the country. The missions of these two different nonprofits are aligned to encourage generosity among as many people as possible in central Texas.

Amplify Austin Day is a signature project of ILHIGH. Leveraging technology, Amplify Austin raised $12.3 million in a single day in 2020, accomplishing that goal just before COVID-19 shuttered the South by Southwest festival and the city closed down. The collective giving organization Impact Austin has engaged more than 2,000 women across the Austin area, awarding nearly $7 million in grants to 60 nonprofits since 2003.

What does it take to create the most generous city in the country?



  1. Why did Austin choose the word “generous” rather than “philanthropic” to describe their efforts to grow giving in their city?
  2. What are examples of organizations in your community that encourage generosity? Collaboration is one of the key themes in the most generous city podcast. How do organizations in your community collaborate? How does collaboration affect outcomes?
  3. As a result of COVID-19, Impact Austin has had to think differently about how to bring people together. Primarily a face-to-face group, they are adapting innovative approaches to all aspects of their work from recruiting members to grant discussions, and the highly anticipated annual meeting. How are you and the nonprofits you work with adapting to the new landscape in philanthropy? What role is technology serving to connect people?
  4. In the podcast related to this discussion guide, the nonprofit leaders talk candidly about their organizations’ intentional focus on diversity, inclusion, and equity. Austin offers implicit bias training. What organizations offer implicit bias training in your community?
  5. How might you and the nonprofits in your community develop a campaign to challenge Austin as the most generous city in the country?