Since 2009, the Mission Capital Awards (then, Nonprofit Excellence Awards) have recognized exemplary achievement in our social sector. The 2018 winners were announced and honored at the Mission Capital Award Reception on October 17.

Nonprofit Leadership Award

The Nonprofit Leadership Award is presented to a current nonprofit CEO/Executive Director whose notable achievements over the course of his or her career have resulted in lasting community impact. Recognized by peers as a longstanding sector leader, this individual has served one or more organizations with a track record of effective leadership and lasting outcomes. A model of excellence, this leader inspires and empowers others to achieve meaningful, measurable and sustainable solutions to critical community challenges.

  • Ann Beeson | Center for Public Policy Priorities
  • Shilpa Shamapant | Austin Speech Labs – 2018 WINNER
  • Larry Elsner | Open Door Preschool

Outstanding Nonprofit Award

This award is presented to a stand-out organization whose relentless focus on results has created powerful progress for the Central Texas community. Regardless of size, this nonprofit has demonstrated significant, measurable community impact, especially within the past year. Through a clearly defined vision, creative program delivery and smart operations, this nonprofit balances innovation that addresses the challenges of today with long-term sustainability.

  • Austin Creative Reuse
  • Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas
  • Mothers’ Milk Bank – 2018 WINNER

Catalyst for Change Award

The Catalyst for Change Award is presented to an inspiring individual in the nonprofit, corporate, or government sectors who is making significant change in their approach to addressing a social issue or cause.

  • Mia Johns | Dress for Success – 2018 WINNER
  • Kyndel Bennett | Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas
  • Christina Collazo | Todos Juntos Learning Center

Aligned Impact Award

This award is presented to a cross-sector, mission-driven collaborative working to create deep, system-wide change in Central Texas. It recognizes that some of our community challenges are so complex that only a strategically collaborative approach can bring about meaningful transformation. Ownership and decision-making authority in this collaborative reach beyond a single partner, and the collective work is guided by shared leadership. The activities of each partner contribute to the collaborative’s clearly aligned, collective goals. The collaborative has established shared metrics, tracks progress and can demonstrate real impact in an area of clear community need.

  • School Readiness Action Plan – 2018 WINNER
  • Best Single Source Plus (BSS+)
  • ServeAustin

Nonprofit Community

The Nonprofit Community Award is presented to an inspiring organization that has been voted on by their peers. This organization inspires others to do more within their organization, and is admired in the community for their work on a specific cause.

  • Health Alliance for Austin Musicians – 2018 WINNER
  • Moody Foundation
  • TreeFolks

2018 Libby Malone Community Leader of the Year Award

Named in recognition of its inaugural recipient, this award honors an individual who passionately champions transformational community impact. Past winners of this award include Libby Malone (2013), Earl Maxwell (2014), Jeff and Deanna Serra (2015) and Senator Kirk Watson (2017).

2018 Community Leader of the Year Award Winner, Toya Cirica Bell

Mission Capital is proud to celebrate Toya Cirica Bell for her extraordinary service in support of this community we all love! As a longtime public servant and career attorney with a legacy of professional and community engagement, Toya has truly made community service and trusteeship a central part of her life.

Toya has served on numerous boards and held leadership positions with local mission-driven organizations including Austin Young Lawyers Association, American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, Austin Black Lawyers Association, Travis County Women Lawyers Association, Junior League of Austin, Lone Star Girl Scouts Council, Long Center for the Performing Arts, Mission Capital , Executive Women in Texas Government, the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce and many more. She is the immediate past board chair of Leadership Austin. In 2016, Toya received an Attorney Award from the Travis County Women Lawyers Association and Foundation and in 2017, was featured in the inaugural edition of Achievements in Black Austin.

As the Board Chair for Leadership Austin, she led a collaborative initiative to convene Courageous Conversation—Beyond Diversity training for the greater Austin community. Thus far, nine sessions are at capacity for this transformative training experience. She began her board service in 2011, after being selected as the 2011 Essential Class Representative to the Board.

On why she serves, Toya shared, “I believe in community service and community trusteeship as a central part of my life. I’ve always enjoyed helping others and thinking about the big picture. I grew up in a family where giving back was encouraged at an early age. I recall collecting donations with my grandmother for various causes including a charitable organization that she and her friends founded — and all the things I learned from her about empathy and having a charitable heart.”