Remembrance: Dick Alvarado

Dick touched and improved the community.  He frequently saw what most others could not yet perceive, finding possible in the improbable. 

Dick was among the earliest proponents of universal day care.  In the 1970’s and 80’s he promoted parent training and early childhood development as strategic approaches to improving educational attainment, workforce improvement and family self sufficiency…  efforts which have taken root in community, not yet at the scale he envisioned, but solidly rooted in public policy.

Dick was also among the first to value comprehensive approaches to health and human services, working toward the development of one-stop family support centers.  

His ability to rethink possibility led to the successful funding of San Antonio Fighting Back in East Side San Antonio, a multi-million dollar Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative initially intended only for small- to medium-sized cities.  

With Solar San Antonio, he was among the first to understand the value of alternative energy sources and helped organize local efforts to pursue them.  

His was a pivotal role in transforming the way United Way of San Antonio invested contributors’ dollars, dramatically increasing the number of donor-citizens who participated in the fund distribution process.  

At the Private Industry Council, precursor to Alamo WorkSource, he promoted strategies that would more closely align the organization's training efforts with the real needs of employers.  While he was an early advocate for the agency's transformation, it was not until much later that Dick's vision began to add value to both employers and the unemployed.  

In retirement he provided advice and counsel to grassroots neighborhood organizations helping residents set and pursue agendas to improve neighborhood conditions and strengthen their families.  

Dick was a thinker, an innovator and an agent for change.

He would be the first to laugh, scoff and remind us that at times like these we tend to exaggerate the good and omit the bad.  He was not perfect but one of Dick’s greatest attributes was his willingness to invite others to help him laugh at himself.