Our History

Mrs. Ella Austin
Mrs. Ella Austin

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.

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

We provide the services and programs that improve lives. If you would like to support the Ella Austin Community Center, please consider making a contribution or volunteering.

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A Night in AlaMOTOWN
"Vegas Comes to San Antonio"

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July 13, 2019
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