Free Minds represents an innovative collaboration between three major project partners: UT Austin, Austin Community College, and Foundation Communities. Since 2006 these three organizations have brought together their unique strengths to enable adult students to explore their intellectual potential, build their skills and confidence, and jumpstart their education.
UT’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement
Free Minds is proud to be part of UT Austin’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE). Led by Dr. Gregory Vincent, the DDCE was founded on the idea that institutional and cultural justice and excellence requires collaboration between diverse people and perspectives. Free Minds represents just one of many “dynamic community-university partnerships” fostered by the DDCE in order to create cross-pollination between a top research institution and the broader community. You can learn more about the mission and other projects of the DDCE by visiting its website.
Through the DDCE, UT Austin provides an administrative home for the program and its staff, as well as academic resources including classroom instruction for our students from top-level faculty.
Austin Community College
Austin Community College has been a crucial part of the work of Free Minds since the inception of the program. One of the fastest growing community colleges in the country, ACC aims to improve communities in Central Texas by making higher education more affordable and accessible to students from all backgrounds. ACC provides the Free Minds project with course credit, two faculty members, one-on-one academic advising, and annual opportunities to present their work during the Carnival Ah! celebration.
Foundation Communities is an Austin-area non-profit that provides high quality affordable housing and support services to thousands of low-income families and individuals. Their unique model helps both residents and neighbors to achieve educational success and financial stability. Foundation Communities owns and operates 17 properties in Austin and North Texas and serves as a third major partner for Free Minds, offering community classroom space for adults and children, as well as case management designed to help students succeed.
Camp Fire USA
We are also grateful to Camp Fire USA Balcones Council for providing a rich learning experience for the children of students enrolled in Free Minds.
The generosity of the following partners has made it possible for Free Minds to serve six classes of adult students as well as support program alumni.
- Austin Community Foundation
- KDK-Harman Foundation
- Kelleher Family Charitable Trust
- Mitte Foundation
- Sooch Foundation
- TG Public Benefit Grant Program
- Webber Family Foundation
Free Minds works with numerous community organizations to spread the word about the program and identify applicants for our classes. We are proud to have worked with the following organizations.
- Any Baby Can
- Austin Area Urban League
- Austin Free Net
- Austin Parks and Recreation Department
- Austin Public Library
- Capital Idea
- Capital Metro
- Caritas of Austin
- City of Austin Human Resources Division
- College Forward
- Communities in Schools
- David Chapel
- Dress for Success
- Feria Para Aprender
- Goodwill of Austin
- Housing Authority of the City of Austin
- KAZI Radio
- KUT Radio
- Skillpoint Alliance
- St. Louise House
- Texas Comptroller’s Office
- The Villager