A tire­less guide for non­prof­its

Scar­bor­ough a busy vol­un­teer for va­ri­ety og groups in Austin.

Austin American-Statesman - - D LIFE & ARTS - MICHAEL BARNES / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN Out &About con­tin­ued on D6

At count­less char­ity events, Bev­erly Scar­bor­ough is om­nipresent. You spot her chat­ting with a cor­po­rate cap­tain in the lobby. Or shar­ing a ta­ble with a fam­ily of gen­er­ous bene­fac­tors in the ban­quet hall. Or be­hind the scenes, di­rect­ing me­dia or co­or­di­nat­ing helpers.

Scar­bor­ough be­longs to a spe­cial set of so­cial ac­tivists. The devel­op­ment of­fi­cer for Austin Travis County In­te­gral Care, which funds the New Mile­stones Foun­da­tion — an ad­vo­cacy group for chil­dren’s men­tal health ser­vices — is a prac­ticed non­profit guide. At the same time, she’s an in­vet­er­ate vol­un­teer for wor­thy Austin groups.

“It’s just what we do,” she says. “I think it makes the com­mu­nity bet­ter, and it makes your life bet­ter. I’ve got­ten as much out of vol­un­teer­ing as I’ve put into it.”

Scar­bor­ough, 63, is rarely the flashiest dresser in the room. Nor the most at ease in a big crowd. Yet her asym­met­ri­cal smile is gen­uine, and some­thing about her un­fussy features says she’s not just giv­ing lip ser­vice to the causes she sup­ports so fer­vently.

Born in Cincin­nati, she grew up in the so­cially ac­tive Strittmat­ter fam­ily — big on lib­eral, artis­tic and en­vi­ron­men­tal causes. They moved around Arkansas and Mis­souri — her fa­ther was a vet­eri­nar­ian — but even­tu­ally landed in Hous­ton, where Scar­bor­ough grad­u­ated from Lee High School.

An awk­ward child by her own ad­mis­sion, she took school se­ri­ously and read a lot, fa­vor­ing books about cru­sad­ing women. In 1968, she moved to Austin to study jour­nal­ism at the Univer­sity of Texas. She wrote for the rad­i­cal Rag, a po­tent un­der­ground news­pa­per and breed­ing ground for fu­ture ac­tivists.

“We had a re­u­nion a few years ago,” she says. “I was pretty alternative for a long time.”

When Scar­bor­ough turned 18, she also em­braced her in­her­ited but hith­erto ig­nored Jewish faith. She now is ac­tive in the Beth Is­rael con­gre­ga­tion and the Jewish Film Fes­ti­val.

As a less rad­i­cal wife and mother — she has been mar­ried three times and raised three chil­dren — Scar­bor­ough wrote the Neigh­bor col­umn for the Amer­i­can-States­man for some time. She’s keenly sen­si­tized to Austin’s mi­cro­cul­tures, hav­ing lived in French Place on the east side for 23 years and North­west Hills in the other di­rec­tion for 15 years.

Her three chil­dren re­flect dif­fer­ent as­pects of Scar­bor­ough’s past and per­son­al­ity. Me­gan Scar­bor­ough, mar­ried with two chil­dren, con­ducts re­search for the UT School of So­cial Re­search. David Glahn teaches neu­ropsy­chol­ogy at Yale Univer­sity. Ada Scar­bor­ough now works in the film in­dus­try af­ter at­tend­ing beauty school.

Soft­ware en­gi­neer Dan Yahiel is “my cur­rent and hopefully last hus­band,” Scar­bor­ough says.

One of Scar­bor­ough’s most vis­i­ble vol­un­teer projects is a se­ries of short, bi­o­graph­i­cal films made with In­grid Weigand. Th­ese pow­er­ful lit­tle nar­ra­tives that deftly em­ploy fam­ily pho­tos, gen­tle hu­mor and a bat­tery of wit­nesses li­on­ize Austin’s civic high-fliers.

The Girl Scouts’ Women of Dis­tinc­tion hon­ors and the Austin Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion awards, for in­stance,


Robert Earl Keen

Bev­erly Scar­bor­ough

Michael Barnes

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