The Salvation Army Breaks Ground for two new Austin Facilities

Announces record-breaking $19.2 million raised in capital campaign and launch of endowment for operational funds

Rathgeber Center for Women and Children - Groundbreaking 2017 - Licarione Photo

AUSTINThursday, June 29, 2017 – Donors and supporters of The Salvation Army Austin Area Command gathered today to break ground for two new facilities in East Austin, the Rathgeber Center for Women and Children – A Salvation Army Shelter, and the Citadel Corps Community Center and Area Command. The two buildings will be constructed with funds raised in the record-breaking capital campaign which exceeded the phase two goal of $17 million by raising $19.2 million for four local projects. Mayor Pro Tem, Kathie Tovo, and Travis County Commissioner, Jeff Travillion were among the dignitaries participating in the celebration.

Both projects are being built on land donated by philanthropist and Salvation Army Advisory Board Member, Dick Rathgeber. “This is the perfect example of government and philanthropy coming together,” Rathgeber said. “The County was willing to sell us the land for a good price so we are able to have a place to build. We’re so grateful to the City of Austin and Travis County for making it possible for us to serve more women and children. These are the most vulnerable of all our citizens, and the shelter takes care of them.”

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The Rathgeber Center for Women and Children will be constructed in two phases and will include 63 new bedrooms for women and children with a total capacity of 213. In addition to bedrooms for families, the center will also feature a new kitchen and dining room, case management offices, a computer learning center, multiple community rooms, a children’s playground, and a success closet. The center will be built on Tannehill Lane, adjacent to the Austin Shelter for Women and Children which is operated by The Salvation Army and funded by the City of Austin.

The Citadel Corps Community Center and Area Command, being built on Manor Road in Rathgeber Village, will include a chapel, a gymnasium, classrooms, kitchen, multi-purpose room, and administrative offices. It will serve as a center for worship, ministry and outreach.

“Thousands of people in our community are shut out of the prosperity that so many enjoy,” said Major Andrew Kelly, The Salvation Army Austin Area Commander. “Among them are women and children who are experiencing homelessness and sleeping in cars or other unsafe places. The new shelter will be a safe haven for them and will help them move from crisis to self-sufficiency. In addition, for children who are at risk in our community, our Corps Community Center will provide them with character building and music programs to aid them in maturing into young men and women who will have a positive impact on their neighborhood.”

Also at the groundbreaking, the Women and Children’s Endowment was announced, established with a seed gift by Cathy and Randy Present, Salvation Army Advisory Board Member, to help with the operational expenses of the new emergency shelter. A donation to the endowment will help ensure that The Salvation Army Austin will be able to help women and children transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency. People wishing to donate can do so at Anyone donating $500 or more to the endowment will have a named paver in the Pathway of Hope at the new shelter.

“The people of our community have stepped up in a big way to provide funding for these capital projects,” said Jamille Ruebsahm, Development Director at The Salvation Army Austin Area Command. “We are so grateful to those who have generously donated to help us raise the money to provide shelter and life-saving services to wrap people in support, and to help us meet the vastly increasing needs in our growing community. Now, with the launch of the Women and Children’s Endowment, we can provide the seed money to operate these new facilities.”

For more information about the new facilities or how you can get involved, visit and help be a part of the solution for those in greatest need in our community.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 127 years in the Austin area. Locally thousands of people receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, to relief for disaster victims, rehabilitation for the addicted, clothing and shelter to those experiencing homelessness and case management to help people move from crisis to stability. Eighty-two cents of every dollar The Salvation Army Austin spends is used to support those services in Travis and Williamson Counties. For more information, go to (, or