Austin’s nonprofit Care Communities to close its doors

In a surprise move, Austin’s Care Communities has announced that it will stop providing free support for those living with HIV or cancer in Central Texas.

Star Furniture store manager John Chronister, right, and Z Blair, a social worker with the Care Communities, arrange gifts that were part of the American-Statesman’s Season for Caring campaign in 2014. Andy Sharp/For the American-Statesman.

The mid-size nonprofit that operated with an annual budget of almost $600,000 according to GuideStar.org sent out a message Monday afternoon saying it would close its doors Oct. 31 after 26 years of coordinating volunteers, staff and care partners for the seriously ill.

FOR MORE INFO: Expanded story on the Care Communities closing.

“It has been our esteemed honor to serve those in our community who have faced serious illness alone or with little to no support and who have extremely limited resources,” shares Executive Director Mary Hearon in a statement. “We have had the great privilege of working with phenomenal volunteers and outstanding staff who have given of themselves to ease the pain and suffering of others.”

It was found in 1991 as part of the Central Texas AIDS Interfaith Network, then became its own nonprofit in the mid-1990s. Care was extended to cancer patients in the mid-200os, which is when it took on the name Care Communities.

Its close nonprofit partners have included AIDS Services of Austin, Breast Cancer Resource Center, Family Eldercare and Meals on Wheels Central Texas. It has also received help from the St. David’s Foundation, Shivers Foundation, Stillwater Foundation, Donald D. Hammill Foundation, Ilsa Carroll Turner Friendship Trust and Certoma Club, along with the Hill Country Ride for AIDS and the Texas Mamma Jamma Ride.

For several years, Care Communities was also part of the American-Statesman’s Season for Caring campaign.

“Nonprofits have to constantly hustle to serve the missions and raise money at the same time,” says Monica Maldonado Williams of GivingCity, which covers Austin charities. “The power of Care Communities was all in its volunteers, but great volunteers alone can’t keep the organization running. The problem is, the needs served by Care Communities doesn’t go away just because the nonprofit closes its doors. It’s a loss for Austin, for sure.”


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