Clark Nowlin, a Fort Worth native and member of the inaugural class of Notley Fellows, moved to Austin three years ago after graduating from Baylor University with degrees in finance and entrepreneurship. With his passion for rallying people around exciting and impactful ideas, he started two organizations while at Baylor, an entrepreneurship book club and an enneagram study group for personality analysis. Today he helps run a music nonprofit, ALL ATX, with the mission of keeping Austin a music town by supporting affordable solutions for musicians. Clark was a full-time touring musician for four years prior to moving to Austin and now makes music for fun with friends in his home studio. Clark loves tacos and meeting new people.
We sat down with Clark to discuss what causes are close to his heart, the areas of social impact he wants to change, and the organizations he is passionate about and participating in.
What specific issues are close to your heart and why?
Environment: We’ve only got one planet. Protecting it for future generations to thrive is one of the most important things we can do.
Human rights: All human life is of equal value. Though different from one another, everyone deserves an equal shot at pursuing happiness.
Art: I believe everyone “has a song to sing.” Expressing ourselves through art is one of the most satisfying things to be done. I challenge myself and encourage folks to “sing that song” – the world will be bland if we don’t!
What organizations or cause areas are you currently involved with?
I help run and work closely with ALL ATX for artist promotion/funding and sustaining Austin’s culture. I volunteer with and donate to the Andy Roddick Foundation, which helps kids receive better opportunities in low-income areas. I also donate to Carbonfund.org for CO2 emissions offset.
If you could wake up tomorrow and one world problem would be solved, which problem would it be and why?
Denuclearization of the world’s militaries. Nuclear war is the most immediate threat to society. We should just take it off the table so it's not an option. No inherent upside. Infinite downside.
If you could make one improvement within the social innovation sector what would it be?
I think it’s better to swing for the fences with social issues instead of playing it safe. Encourage nonprofits to take more risk to potentially become effective by strong and specific campaigns and/or earned revenue models. There are lots of comfortable groups out there delivering ambiguous and less-than-optimal social returns on their capital.
In what ways can Austin's corporate sector be better equipped to support local nonprofits?
Consistently invite speakers in for “lunch and learns” to get employees up to speed on issues that are happening. It is an easy way to spread awareness and get long-run community buy in for causes.
Businesses create value that ultimately is put back into ‘business’ or ends up in charitable/philanthropic endeavors. The two work together already and could do so more by using the same problem solving and innovating mindset that it took to build a great company to come up with solutions for social problems. I think it’d be good for any business to adopt a charity and set aside a minimum amount of money & employee time to make an impact with it that the business can truly own. This sustainably helps the community and makes the company look great if executed well. Even better, it’s also go-to for employees to volunteer if it fits in with their philanthropic passions. Win-win.
Who is Clark Twain?
Clark Twain... My Saturday project. I think creativity is a muscle and everyone should exercise it! I make music under the name Clark Twain for fun with friends. It’s a creative outlet to recharge me after a long week. Check out the single & music video here:
Learn more about how you can get involved
ALL ATX, a music education based nonprofit benefiting the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM), The SIMS Foundation, Austin Music Foundation (AMF) and Black Fret.
Andy Roddick Foundation, a nonprofit organization on a mission to close the educational achievement gap by providing opportunities to children in underserved communities.
- Carbonfund.org, a nonprofit on a mission to reduce the carbon footprints of individuals and businesses throughout outreach and education.