Event Photographs

Valor y Sueños Luncheon 2017



Special thanks to Vaughn Luciano Photography for capturing these moments!


Soñemos Juntos Pre-Party 2017

Catalina Berry & Stephanie Cardenas

Picture 1 of 18

Legacy Giving Circle

Join the Legacy Giving Circle


Mother and baby image

Becoming a Legacy Giving Circle major donor is an investment in the future of hundreds of low-income children under the age of three and their parents. The Legacy Giving Circle provides a sustaining stream of revenue to support the mission of AVANCE to unlock America’s potential by strengthening families with very young children living in at risk communities with a dual generation approach. Gifts from donors in the Legacy Giving Circle enable the agency to transform, sustain, and scale our programs to address root causes of trans-generational poverty and make a significant social impact in our community.


Special thanks to our current Legacy Giving Circle Members:

Danna & J.H. “Crutch” Crutchfield

Balie & Beverly Griffith

Robbie & Tom Ausley

Katherine Bailey

Rosie & Richard Mendoza





Areli & Lily

AVANCE-Austin 2017 Graduates

Areli and Lily give thanks for a life-changing AVANCE program year

Areli and Lily are a beloved mother-and-daughter team here at AVANCE-Austin. Areli is a quiet, affectionate and determined mother who saw AVANCE’s program as a rich educational opportunity for her vivacious, effervescent toddler, Lily, and herself. 

Areli initially decided to enroll in AVANCE because she feared Lily was too isolated. Areli works long shifts and was concerned about Lily’s shyness and lack of socialization with children her own age. During AVANCE’s program, she was overjoyed to see how Lily flourished. Now, Lily socializes easily with her peers and adults, and her communication capabilities have vastly improved.

Witnessing the positive change in Lily served as the motivating force behind her weekly decision to attend class. Areli would finish her late-night shift at a restaurant, squeeze in a few hours of rest before waking before dawn to take her oldest daughter to school, and then commute from the far north side of town to AVANCE’s eastside campus.

Lily and Areli are all smiles following the May 2017 graduation ceremony.

The significant commute and lack of rest was worth it to Areli. AVANCE’s emphasis on incorporating play into a home routine has drastically bettered her relationship with Lily. She admitted to not playing with Lily when she was younger, mostly because she was exhausted from work. Now, no matter how tired she is, she makes time to engage in play with her daughter because she understands how precious and valuable this early time is for her child. She seizes every opportunity – even those few minutes of play – to encourage and embolden her daughter to succeed. 

Lily will continue to succeed because she has a mother who, despite a busy work schedule, and the challenges of single-parenting, made her daughter’s optimal rise her priority, and this act of selfless love affirms Areli to be the best teacher and life-model for her daughter. 

Valor y Sueños Luncheon 2017


If you still need to make a payment, click here.

Our Community Grows!

The Austin area is truly a community that honors the Courage it Takes to Dream! On November 1st, we nurtured and celebrated this welcoming philosophy. Our deepest thanks to the over 400 guests who took part in our 2017 Valor y Sueños Luncheon and helped make it a great success! With your help, we raised a record-breaking $164,000 to ensure that very young children and their parents have the chance to thrive in our community. 



Valor y Sueños Highlights

Our afternoon included special features from Invocation Speaker Rev. Laura Brewster of Northwest Hills United Methodist Church, Valor y Sueños Co-Chairs Blanca Zamora Garcia & Rosie Mendoza, Legacy Donors Balie Griffith & John “Crutch” Crutchfield, and more. Special thanks to Joy Diaz, our vibrant Master of Ceremonies, for keeping us energized and empowered!


L-R: Longtime supporter Beverly Griffith & Master of Ceremonies Joy Diaz; Invocation Speaker Rev. Laura Brewster; Luncheon Co-Chairs Rosie Mendoza & Blanca Zamora-Garcia; and Crutch Crutchfield co-presenting the Griffith Family Award


Many thanks to our co-chairs & event committee who worked many months to help our most important fundraising event reach new heights.  
Event Committee: James Aldrete, Catalina Berry, Crystal Flores Crouch, Kelly Hyten, Yvonne Jauregui, Kelly Jedele, Melissa Preston, & Amber Walker
Our deep gratitude to the Junior League of Austin for their partnership to provide volunteer support on the day of the event. 


A Word from our Executive Director, Marie Felan


Marie with AVANCE-Austin staff members.

It brings me great joy to be at special events with our wonderful partners and friends and even greater joy to come to work each day. I get to see the most amazing journeys such as what you will see in our video presented at the Luncheon and available below. Please view it and SHARE with your friends and family!
Last program year, AVANCE served 390 parents and children under age 3. But, we could be serving thousands. Your support could help us do that. Thank You! 

Video Premiere: And Then Came AVANCE


Watch the special video that inspired so many at the luncheon. Two of our families share their story of how AVANCE-Austin changed their lives.  

Special thanks to video producer Ron Oliveira of Oliveira Public Communications. 


Congratulations to our Honorees


In honor of their long-term commitment to the AVANCE-Austin mission, we were proud to present The Long Foundation with the 2017 Griffith Family Legacy Award.  

Mitchell Long accepting the Griffith Family Legacy Award, presented by Balie Griffith & Crutch Crutchfield


We were pleased to recognize this year’s special AVANCE Heroes!


Barbara Rush

Individual Hero

Accepted by Barbara Rush in memory of her late sister, Pat Crow


Wells Fargo 

Corporate Hero


Accepted by Theresa Alvarez, Community Development Officer, and David O’Neil, Area President, Greater Texas South Region


Travis County 

Partner Hero


Accepted by Sherri Fleming, County Executive – Travis County Health and Human Services Department


Thanks to all of our supporters and guests.

YOU are all heroes!


Featured Speaker: AVANCE Graduate Siglinda Orozco


A huge AVANCE thanks to Siglinda, AVANCE-Austin Class of 2014, for sharing her inspiring story of success. 
When Siglinda moved to the U.S. to live with her mother, she felt lonely and isolated. AVANCE made it possible for Siglinda to connect with other women and build a new life in Austin. Siglinda’s experiences at AVANCE made her a passionate advocate for community resources, so she applied and was hired as a Parent Support Specialist with Austin ISD. Siglinda cherishes her role in giving back to the community that gave her so much when she needed it most.
“Every AVANCE hour was exciting for me. I loved toy making, nutrition classes, English classes, learning new things about this country, and all the resources we have. I was so hungry to know everything about how to be a better parent. But the best thing and what kept me moving forward was sharing things with my classmates. I noticed that many of my peers were from the same country as me and they spoke the same language.  I found out they were my neighbors. Some of us were dealing with problems of depression and we stayed together and supported each other. Thanks AVANCE for giving us these connections.”  

Fund-a-Need: Your chance to have fun and change lives!


We were excited to introduce Fund-a-Need, a new feature to our event led by professional auctioneer Gayle Stallings of FUNauctions and her partner Robin Stallings. Gayle and Robin definitely put the fun in fundraising! 
Our sincere appreciation to Ascension | Seton and the Griffith Family Fund for their donations totaling $40,000 to be used as a challenge grant so that all gifts given during this portion would be matched. Thanks to so many of you, we surpassed our challenge match!
Kendra Scott Raffle: Congratulations to our winner, Maria Lozano!  


There’s still time to give!

As Gayle emphasized, right now there are tens of thousands of moms like Siglinda – and YOU can be their champion and give them the courage it takes to dream.
Click here to contribute online today!   
For other payment options, please contact Melinda Gonzales Boe, Development Director via email or phone at 512-414-6126.  


11th Chair


Mil gracias to the dozens of AVANCE-Austin graduates who visited with our guests and illuminated the role that YOU play in their unique stories of success. Thank you for providing a welcoming space for everyone, both at our luncheon and in our community.





Visit the Valor y Sueños Photo Gallery


L-R: AVANCE board members Dawn Lewis and Valinda Bolton with guests Ann Denkler & Hon. Bruce Elfant; AVANCE board member Amber Walker with Wells Fargo table guests.

L-R: Luncheon committee member Melissa Preston; Luncheon honoree Mitchell Long of The Long Foundation with AVANCE board member Phillip Martin; and Luncheon guest Mary Apostolou with AVANCE board member Krista Moore.


Our thanks to Vaughn Luciano for the beautiful photos!




Mil Gracias to our Sponsors!









Dell EMC Channel
Joe & Janis Pinnelli



Beverly & Balie Griffith
Casa Blanca Realty
Cristina Valdés, REALTOR®
Daphne A. Calderon / Yvonne K. Puig
Elma & James Aldrete
Evans Family Law Group
Heather Neville & Julie Wiley / “The Poker Girls”
Mr. John Donisi & The Honorable Gina Hinojosa 
The Long Foundation
Maria Cantu-Hexsel / Kristin Benton-Haddican / Melissa Caro-Preston
R. Mendoza & Company, P.C.
Texas Gas Service
Wells Fargo


 Table Sponsors:

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
Austin Junior Forum
Austin Pets Alive!
Cowgirls & Valley Girls
Cristina Cornejo
Dawn Lewis
Dr. Emma Lou Linn
The Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation
The Honorable Lloyd Doggett & Mrs. Libby Doggett
Marie Felan & Rachael Felan
Pat Crow & Barbara Rush Fan Club
Phillip Martin
Sheryl Cole & Associates
Dr. Stacey Shackelford
Travis County Judges
Travis County Women Judges
University of Texas Steve Hicks School of Social Work



Caitlin Brown
Garry Mauro
i2i Group Media Design
Jamie Holden
Jerry Haddican
Judge John Lipscombe & Judge Jan Breland
JW Marriott Austin
Lou O’Hanlon
Markey’s Rental & Staging
Mitchell Long
Oliveira Public Communications
Judge Nancy Hohengarten
New York Life
Nivi Nityanand
Steven Jackobs
Susan Moffatt
Tom Mast


Special performance by the EAPrep Mariachi Amozoc under the direction of Franklin Piland & Hermes Camacho!



Café y Cuentos


Café y Cuentos (Coffee and Stories) is our monthly tour open to the public for a behind-the-scenes look of our Parent-Child Education Program. While you enjoy a light complementary breakfast, you’ll hear more about AVANCE-Austin’s unique dual-generation services while meeting our remarkable families. Learn how children are getting school ready and how parents are preparing for their successful futures together.

Upcoming Tours

Tuesday, November 28, 2017, 9:00-10:00AM
Please register here.


For questions or more information, please contact Melinda Gonzales Boe.


Annual Luncheon 2016

2016 Annual Luncheon

On October 19, AVANCE-Austin held its 9th Annual Luncheon at the Four Seasons Hotel. The event, co-sponsored by H-E-B and Seton Ascension featured the Emmy-award winning television journalist, John Quiñones as our inspiring keynote speaker.

Click here to see how we did!

October 19, 2016
11:30 – 1:00 PM
At the Four Seasons Hotel





Event Chairs


Elma Cantú Aldrete  Kathy Vale Castillo  
Elma Cantu Aldrete headshot Kathy Vale Castillo headshot  






Keynote Speaker, John Quiñones  Master of Ceremonies, Olga Campos  
cropped head shot Olga Campos_headshot  








Griffith Family Legacy Award:

Danna and “Crutch” Crutchfield
John and Danna Cructchfield



Corporate Hero Award:




Individual Hero(es) Award:
John Donisi and Hon. Gina Hinojosa

John Donisi and Gina Hinojosa family



Partner Hero Award:
United Way of Greater Austin

 United Way for GATX











Our Events

PicMonkey Collage

Click here for upcoming events

Annual Luncheon (October 19)
Our biggest fundraising event of the year. Every October, we honor an individual, community and/or corporate partner who have made a significant contribution to dual generational and early childhood education in the Austin area. In 2015, we raised over $126,000.

Holiday Party (December)
300 of our children and families celebrate the holidays with volunteers serving a warm lunch, and enjoying fun festivities. Blue Santa donates gifts to all of our families in need.

Amplify Austin (Early March) 
During this 24-hour community-wide event of online giving, AVANCE-Austin is participating among hundreds of non-profits in the Austin community to raise millions of dollars together while promoting dual-generation education.

Día de los niños/Day of the Child (April 30)
Held on a Saturday in April during the International Day of the Child, AVANCE families and children gather for a picnic, entertainment, games, educational activities while volunteers read and pass out books.

Graduation (May 26)
The culmination of AVANCE’s signature Parent-Child Education Program. 300 families and children every year walk the stage in their cap and gown to receive their diploma. Volunteers are always needed to sign in special guests and families.

Host your own event
Have an idea to Unlock America’s Potential? In the past, we’ve had cocktail parties, hosted at the Kendra Scott Gives Back event. Please contact Marie Felan at mfelan.aus@avance.org to get started!

Interested in volunteering? We’re always looking for individuals, corporate and civic groups, and businesses to donate their time and skills.
Please contact 512-414-6127 for more information.