As Austinites, we’re blessed to live in a city that is progressive, experiential, experimental, game-changing, conscious and, lets face it, awesomely cool. In such a city, you’d expect the population to match, and in the ATX, we don’t disappoint. This Capital City is chock-full of amazing citizens who strive to better the city on a daily basis. From writers to activists, entrepreneurs to artists, we’ve rounded up a diverse group of Austinites that help make this city great.
Austin is the largest “No Kill” city in the country for the fourth consecutive year—a designation that’s largely due to the efforts of Ellen Jefferson. The veterinarian and executive director of Austin Pets Alive! helped devise the comprehensive programs, like neonatal kitten nurseries and parvo puppy ICUs, that have saved the lives of 91 percent of the city’s homeless animals. “Austin is so far ahead of the curve,” Jefferson says about the local organization’s pioneering success and recent expansion to American Pets Alive! “Other cities don’t know how to do this yet and we’re helping other communities make big changes.” Jefferson and her family clan—two dogs, two cats, a bird, a handful of foster dogs at any given time, “and a husband,” she adds—live close to the APA shelter on Lady Bird Lake, where Jefferson is raising funds for expanded facilities.