Ella Austin Community Center


Ella Austin Orphanage on Burnet Street (photo from the San Antonio Light Collection)

Our History

For over 100 years, the Ella Austin Community Center has served the City of San Antonio and Bexar County. In 1897, Mrs. Ella Austin, a revered African American who was committed to serving her community, founded Ella Austin Orphans Home, located at 1920 Burnet. When she passed away at the age of 46, her life’s work was taken up by community members and through their philanthropic efforts they kept her vision alive.

On November 1, 1968, the children’s home was converted into a multi-purpose community center and relocated to what was once the Ralph Waldo Emerson Middle School on Pine Street. The neighborhood-based center, one of Texas’ largest, is also a one-stop shop from early childhood development to senior services.

People of many ethnic and cultural backgrounds appear among the agency’s board of directors, staff and clientele. The center’s expansion of services, personnel and funding has provided an economic and social impact on the San Antonio community. The Ella Austin Community Center was the first, and remains one of the only agencies, offering comprehensive social services in the eastern sector of the city.


We are a multi-purpose service agency offering affordable day care, parenting classes, youth and family services including after school and summer youth programs, assistance to individuals and families in crisis of food, clothing, and utilities assistance, senior nutrition, senior activities and volunteer income tax assistance programs.

Our Leadership

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Liz Franklin

Interim Chief Executive Officer

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Linda Bryant

Director | Early Head Start

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Veronica Gonzales

Director | Youth Development

Woman in White Blouse

Lucy Pantoja

Director | Senior Center

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Pamela Duesing

Director | Reading Program

Our Board

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Beverly Watts Davis


Chief Operating Officer

Westcare Foundation

Stewart Blanton


Corporate Trainer, Resources & Support

Veterans Canteen Service

Jerry Durham


IAC Group


Gaye Preston

Chief Financial Officer

Lighthouse for the Blind

San Antonio

Tammie Zacharie

President / CEO

Select Federal Credit Union

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Victor Zuniga


Director of Marketing

Core Commercial 

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Frank Dunn

Frank Dunn Insurance Agency

Adam Dusenbury

Chief Executive Officer

White Cloud Drones LLC

Nishell Robinson

AVP Branch Manager

Comerica Bank