Her core cause is men­tal ill­ness

Out & About

Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN360 DAILY - Con­tact Michael Barnes at 445-3970 or mbarnes@ states­man.com. Twit­ter: @ outandabout

would be pretty plain with­out them. Th­ese elo­quent per­sonal his­to­ries have planted the seeds for many an Out & About col­umn.

Along the way, Scar­bor­ough has backed Bal­let Austin, Planned Par­ent­hood and Zach The­atre.

She’s of­ten sur­prised by how much more so­phis­ti­cated Austin has be­come, es­pe­cially in the area of char­i­ta­ble giv­ing. Just 30 years ago, a check for $1,000 would have over­whelmed a fundraiser with joy. While still wel­come, those three ze­ros are dwarfed by the more than $1 bil­lion raised in the past 15 years just for lo­cal causes.

“I grew up with the town,” Scar­bor­ough says of Austin. “It’s a lot bet­ter. Even though we com­plain — all of us kvetch about the traf­fic and the crowds. But there is so much more. I can re­mem­ber when there was one Chi­nese restau­rant in town. It was out on South Congress and it was aw­ful. Out­side of the univer­sity, there was very lit­tle cul­tural life. Very lit­tle di­ver­sity. It’s al­ways been a pretty town. What’s go­ing on now is mind-bog­gling. There are 10 big events ev­ery night of the week.”

The rain­maker for New Mile­stones, which held its sig­na­ture event Mon­day, would be re­miss if she didn’t men­tion her core cause th­ese days.

“There’s men­tal ill­ness in ev­ery fam­ily,” she says with­out drama. “When you ex­pand that to al­co­holism and de­pres­sion, it touches ev­ery­body. I can talk to any per­son in any room, and I’d hear about a cousin with de­pres­sion or an aunt who died by sui­cide or their child that has autism. The good news: There is treat­ment.”

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