Juanita Budd

Executive Director, Austin Free-Net




Juanita Budd has more than 18 years of nonprofit experience in a plethora of roles including strategic planning, volunteer, board member, and staff. Ms. Budd serves as the Executive Director of Austin Free-Net and is responsible for the strategic vision of direct delivery of programs and services. She drives forward the organization’s mission to eradicate the digital divide. A sub-recipient of a 9.3Million federal grant from the Broadband Technology Opportunity (BTOP) grant program awarded by Department of Commerce under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, to create, enhance and improve public computer centers in Austin. Since her tenure, she has collaborated with over 30 organizations to educate and improve broadband adoption and digital literacy programs.

Previously, Ms. Budd served as a Human Resources Director, Administrative & Operations Director, Chief Operations Officer and Vice President of Programs for a large nonprofit organizations which served 46 Texas counties. She implemented the strategic vision and leadership for the direct delivery of services and programs to adults and volunteers through the region, managing staff across five locations.

In addition, Ms. Budd recently spoke at South by South West, SXSW, in Austin TX March 2014 on Digital Inclusion and Gigabit speed coming to Austin through Google. She also served as an Campus Advisory Council for National American University; Board Member for The Austin School for the Performing  & Visual Arts, Member One Voice Central Texas, panelist for Austin Human Resources Management Association (AHRMA) and has been invited to speak at the iConference 2014 in Berlin Germany.

Ms. Budd holds a BA in Political Science from Bucknell University; HR Management Certification from the University of Texas at Austin; is a certified Mediator through the Dispute Resolution Center; and received her Certificate in Texas Nonprofit Leadership & Management Program in 2008. She served as a member on the Texas Statewide Task Force on “Improving Relations with Nonprofits” recommended by the 83rd Texas Legislature. She served as one of the lead speaker in the Digital Inclusion Conference in Texas (“A Conference & Colloquium” at the University of Texas).

In 2014, she spoke at the Brookings Institute in Washington D.C.  She has been featured in various media outlets, including radio, print, and television. Ms. Budd serves faithfully at her local congregation as a Stephen Minister Leader.

Brief statement why you have accepted appointment and what you would consider to have been a successful tenure when your term:

I believe that as it takes a village to raise children and it also takes a community to support the work of nonprofits. Nonprofits support society by filling in the un-intentional gaps left from the private and public work.  The work is both global and complex; therefore, multiple resources, experiences, expertise, and collaborations are necessary to support the work.

The Community Leadership Council will serve as a resource for those leaders brave enough to take on the challenges of nonprofit management.  It will also support the work of small business and other entities that need the available expertise in one place.

Serving as an executive director, I am faced with the concerns of the overall health and well being of my organization and am aware of the conflicting requirements to achieve goals. Using my experience to help others will in turn help and support the work I do.  In addition, if I am able to give back and help someone else, it brings the goals of service full circle. My experience equipped me for this opportunity as I have served as an Human Resources Director, Chief Operations Officer, Vice President of Programs, IT Manager and fund raising. Collaborating with other nonprofits, local agencies, government and businesses can create a rich learning opportunity for all.


Brief statement on your sense of the Center’s impact for its first 15 years and its potential for future:

As a nonprofit leader searching for relevant resources to provide me with the expertise and hands on experience needed to continue to develop my career, I found the Center for Nonprofit Leadership program invaluable.  I was able to work on “real life” experiences not the hypothetically analysis found in text book, which are often outdated, or not specific enough to your cause, demographics, or other variable.  I was able to meet others in my city facing similar issues. Developed long term executive level friendships and the ability to inform and share resources.