A tireless guide for nonprofits
Scarborough a busy volunteer for variety og groups in Austin.
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