Louise Epstein and John Henry McDonald are tremendous, long-time, supporters of the Austin Classical Guitar Society, as is the company John Henry founded: Austin Asset Management Company.  The Austin Classical Guitar Society has been on a steady growth trend over the course of the last 15 years but there is no doubt in my mind that a new level of transformation occurred with the arrival of John Henry on the ACGS Board of Directors, and the tremendous energy, vision and support that he and Louise brought with them.

Austin Asset Management Company is a presenting sponsor of Austin Pictures.  The Louise Epstein and John Henry McDonald Trust is a supporting sponsor of this Saturday evening as well.  Both Company and Trust are also lead sponsors of the ACGS Education Gala “Guitars Under the Stars” set for this coming February 11th at One World Theater with superstar guest Eliot Fisk!

Community-based arts programming thrives only with the generous support of individuals like Louise and John Henry, and we sat down with John Henry recently to learn a bit more about them.

Matthew Hinsley: John Henry, we can’t thank you enough for your generous support of Austin Pictures, and your continued support of ACGS.  I’d love it if you would tell us a bit about Louise and yourself.

John Henry McDonald: My wife, my business and I are all long time Austinites.  My wife, Louise Epstein wins the prize as she was three months old when she and her folks settled here.  I’ve been in Austin since 1976, and Austin Asset Management Company was founded nearly 25 years ago.

Louise has been at the helm of the city itself as City Councilwoman 1990-1993, and most recently she has served as the Entrepreneur in Residence at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas here in Austin.  She currently serves as CEO of eCampusTutors.com.

I founded and developed the leadership team at Austin Asset Management Company.  The CEO is Eric Hehman, and  Greg Van Wyk and Jonathan Davidson round out the shareholders of our firm.  They are responsible for providing family office services and money management for nearly 300 families worldwide.  This includes daily stewardship of over $425 million of our clients’ money.

Our families, our employees, and our businesses all believe that as we focus on serving the community first, the community we serve will pay us back in kind.

MH: What organizations in town that you and Louise are particularly passionate about?

JHM: Austin Classical Guitar Society, One World Theater, First Tee of Austin, Any Baby Can, Capital Idea, and Austin Community College Foundation are all recipients of funding from either Austin Asset Management Company or the Louise Epstein and John Henry McDonald Trust.

MH: What has led you to philanthropy?

JHM: It’s said best in the Austin Asset Management credo: “you can’t out give a giver.”

MH: Well we cannot thank you enough for shining your bright lights on ACGS and Austin Pictures – and we’re looking forward to seeing you both on Saturday night!