About The Austin Civic Fund

Austin is experiencing dynamic growth, leading to success for many, but real challenges for our most vulnerable citizens, and for the future of Austin. The Austin Civic Fund, formed by young local leaders who envision a future for Austin where all have the opportunity to succeed, believe the time to address these critical issues is now.


We recognize that affordability, traffic, land use, homelessness, displacement, and other pressing issues can no longer be effectively ignored. The Fund is intended to connect Austinites to effective policy solutions that have real, sustainable results. We identify the most pressing issues facing the city of Austin, define effective policy alternatives, and elevate public awareness of the best solutions.

The Problems We Are Facing


Population Growth
From 2010 to 2018


Cost Of Living Increase
From 2017 to 2018

47 Hrs

Avg. Time Per Year Spent
in Traffic by Austinites

Executive Director

Michael Searle

Michael Searle is the Executive Director of Austin Civic Fund. Michael, like many Austinites, came to Austin from California to pursue his dreams. Since coming to Austin, he has worked in state and local politics, has been an activist for causes he cares deeply about such as criminal justice reform and has built broad-based coalitions to inspire new methods of advancing transparency and effective governance at both the state and city level. He  wants to ensure his new home does not become like his old home, San Francisco, a place where only the very wealthy can live comfortably.

As well as serving as Executive Director of the Austin Civic Fund, Michael serves on the City of Austin Tourism Commission, the board of the Austin Independent Business Alliance, who supports Austin’s local and small businesses, and on the board of Just Liberty, a bipartisan criminal justice reform organization.

Chairman of the Board

Chris Covo is Chairman of the Austin Civic Fund. When he’s not helping groups solve local problems, he is helping to keep the city clean as Vice President at Professional Janitorial Services and Co-Founder of Exterior Cleaning Solutions, which specializes in high-rise commercial window cleaning and pressure washing. He previously worked at Hill & Knowlton Strategies and in the Texas Legislature.

Chris graduated from Texas State University, where he served as Student Body President and was appointed by Governor Rick Perry as Student Regent. He received an MA in Legal and Political Theory from the University College London. He serves on the Building Owners and Managers Association Board of Directors and the City of Austin Board of Adjustment.