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Austin-based business and technology leader philanthropist Brian Sheth recently partnered with the Cicero Institute to bring a fresh approach to the city’s homelessness problem. Fellow business professional Joe Lonsdale joined Sheth and the Cicero Institute to work on the new initiative. Both Brian Sheth and Joe Lonsdale have already contributed significant funds from their charitable organizations. The men have also personally invested many hours working with the Cicero Institute to help get homeless people in Austin off the streets and into a safe, affordable living environment.
Cicero Institute, Sheth, and Lonsdale Looking to Launch a New Non-Profit
The Cicero Institute acknowledges that the new homelessness initiative would not be possible without Brian Sheth and Joe Lonsdale. Even so, the organization is seeking a person with a Master’s in Business Education (MBA) and a strong entrepreneurial drive to create a separate non-profit and lead the homelessness initiative. The person selected to lead the new mission would work closely with Sheth and Lonsdale, each of whom has created thousands of jobs and launched several companies of their own.
Judge Glock of the Cicero Institute will serve as an advisor for the project. The organization hopes the work of the new non-profit will inspire organizations serving the homeless in other large cities to take a more innovative approach to their work. The person who fills this position will have the job title of Entrepreneur in Residence with these core responsibilities:
- Establish and perform analysis of other Austin-based groups working on the issue of homelessness. Each analysis should take both a qualitative and quantitative approach. The head of the new non-profit will also analyze the effectiveness of mental health and substance abuse interventions.
- Create and implement business-style principles to eliminate homelessness in the greater Austin metropolitan area. The Entrepreneur in Residence should feel comfortable collaborating with officials representing the city of Austin and the state of Texas and other groups focused on the eradication of homelessness.
- Work in cooperation with a documentary film team. The film will be a public education tool to present the reality of homelessness in Austin to the public and explore new solutions to solving the crisis.
Homelessness in Austin is on the Rise
Ten years ago, the homeless population in Austin was approximately 2,000 people. The city pledged funds to build what administrators referred to as permanent supportive housing with enough beds for all who needed them. Several years later, the Austin City Council approved another plan to tackle homelessness. The council members stated that this plan would end homelessness because it allowed for more permissive camping. The taxpayer-funded plan cost the city more than $500,000 million dollars.
Despite these two initiatives over the last decade, the problem of homelessness in Austin has only grown larger. The city recently released these statistics:
- Homelessness has increased by more than 30 percent in the last few years.
- The number of people living on the streets increased by 50 percent.
- The number of deaths among the homeless population tripled.
Ban on Public Camping in Austin Presents New Opportunity to Solve Homelessness
Permissive camping gave way to a ban on camping in May 2021. Homelessness advocates like Brian Sheth view the change as encouraging because the city can direct people towards shelters, mental health facilities, and drug treatment programs instead. Staff at each of these facilities will work with homeless clients to overcome barriers to permanent housing. Brian Sheth is one of several people involved with the new homelessness initiative who feels that this will ultimately be a better solution than allowing people to camp in outdoor public spaces.
About Philanthropist Brian Sheth and the Sheth Sangreal Foundation
As a business professional and conservationist, Brian Sheth has pledged half of his personal salary toward philanthropic efforts. He is the founder of the Sheth Sangreal Foundation based in Austin, Texas. The foundation supports partners that are in the best position to resolve problems in areas of priority impact. Besides homelessness, the Sheth Sangreal Foundation raises and provides funds to organizations that work to resolve environmental, education, child poverty, and species preservation.
Brian Sheth is a big believer in impactful philanthropy. Because of this, he seeks to use the time, resources, and talents of the Sheth Sangreal Foundation team in meaningful ways. The overarching goal of impactful philanthropy is to give in a manner that supports system change, effectiveness, and equity. His work with the Cicero Institute provides him with an excellent opportunity to achieve these goals.
Here are three other examples of Brian Sheth’s impactful philanthropy over the past year:
- Helped 120,000 children around the world connect with new learning programs.
- Contributed to the development of a new Boys & Girls Club in Austin whose mission is to serve underprivileged children.
- Saved 83 animal species from facing extinction.
Brian Sheth has had a heart for the homeless for decades. As the son of an Indian immigrant to America, he feels grateful for the business opportunities he has had in the Austin area and sees his work with the Cicero Institute as just one way to give back.