the FOR THE CITY network

Here’s Our Story

The For the City Network maximizes and catalyzes individual, community, and city restoration efforts. We do this by developing communities and connecting people, churches, and organizations – all for God's glory.

Develop

Every city is made up of many neighborhoods; restored cities, in particular, are made up of healthy neighborhoods. And while every neighborhood has unique character – marked by both assets and needs – some are healthier than others.

We develop neighborhoods and communities because we care about the health of each one.

Connect

A restored city requires a lot of people and organizations active in its restoration. There is already a lot going on, and it can be hard to stay in the loop and know where to start.

We want to work effectively and efficiently together for city-wide restoration, so we connect people, churches, and organizations.

Nonprofit Partnerships

We act as a platform for organizations to share what they’re doing and connect with volunteers and other organizations.

Church Partnerships

We believe churches have a critical role in city restoration, so we help them find the best ways to connect to mission.

Other Cities

We call Austin home, but we want to see other cities restored, too. We have opportunities for those outside of our city to join us and learn how to adapt our principles and practices wherever they call home.

Our Team

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Justin Lopez

Executive Director

In 2008, Justin studied mercy and advocacy for communities and visited Memphis to learn of the need and work happening there. The For the City Network was born soon after. With a background in Dell's Supply Chain, Justin's values of minimizing (or ideally eliminating) wasted time, money and resources while increasing quality now play out through partnerships and collaborations with nonprofit organizations and individuals. Justin and his wife Sally are both from Austin and graduates of Texas A&M University. They have four children, Annabel (Annie), Lucy, Heidi, and Abraham (Abe).

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Doug Phillips

Director, Church Partnerships and City Initiatives

Doug grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas and is a graduate of Southern Methodist University. After ten years serving on staff of Campus Crusade for Christ in the Houston Metro area and planting a new ministry in Central Arkansas, Doug and his wife Becca moved their family to Austin in 2013 to join the FTCN team. Doug serves as the Director of Church Partnerships and City Initiatives, helping churches and nonprofit organizations mobilize people into local missions and achieve citywide goals. Doug and Becca have three children, Morgan, Reid, and Jay.  

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Sarah Coker

Manager, The For the City Center and Coworking

A graduate of Texas State University, Sarah took her communication studies degree into the advertising world where she worked in Human Resources at the Austin branch of Young and Rubicam for 7 years. In August of 2014, Sarah joined the FTCN team and began running the coworking space on the 2nd floor of the For the City Center. She manages the Center’s physical property, tenant relationships, and outside events.

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Staci McNeal

Administrative Assistant

Beginning as a volunteer, Staci soon found herself tending to many emails and phone calls as people wanted to serve the city of Austin. With a heart for volunteers and getting people involved, the former elementary school teacher from West Texas now spends her time making sure people stay connected and Justin stays sane. Staci and her husband Jimmy have one son, Jackson. 

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Julia Essington

Communications Associate

Julia graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in corporate communication. After college, she worked for the Round Rock Express Baseball Club in their marketing department. Now, she oversees communication across the FTCN, including communication and support to donors. 

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Kelly Porter

Marketing Associate

Kelly graduated from Texas A&M University in May of 2014 with a double major in psychology and English, and served as the head publicist for A&M’s literary magazine. Soon after graduation, she felt the Lord call her to serve as a marketing intern at the FTCN. After a summer of interning, she came on the team as a Marketing Associate in September. With a background in discipling inner-city youth and mentoring young girls, Kelly is eager to see what God has in store for her during her time with the FTCN. 

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Bitia Buenrostro

Intern, Equipping and Community Development

Bitia grew up in the border town of Matamoros, México and is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. After teaching for four years as a high school social studies teacher in South Texas, Bitia moved back to Austin and continued teaching for another three years. It was during her time in Austin, where Bitia learned about the vision and mission of the FTCN and decided to join the team. She now serves as a Community Development Intern and is passionate about serving the marginalized and bridging gaps between cultures.

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Chris Allman

Equipping Manager

Chris graduated from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in 2001. After more than ten years in sports media and golf course management, he completed an internship with the Austin Stone's Operations team in 2010. In October of that year, he came to work for the FTCN and began directing Total City Sports. In 2012, the FTCN launched CrossFit Renew with Chris as the director and head coach, utilizing elite functional fitness and wellness training to restore communities to health. Additionally, Chris is the Equipping Manager for the FTCN and is responsible for content creation, teaching, and coaching. He and his wife Kari have been married since 2010.

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Dylan Polk

Intern, Community Health and Fitness

Dylan graduated from Texas A&M University in 2010 with a degree in honors finance. After graduation, she was a part of T Bar M Camps' year-long discipleship program, where she met her husband Daniel. Over the past two years, they lived in Dallas, where Dylan worked in college ministry on the campus of SMU. In August of 2014, she began serving as the Community Health & Fitness Intern - working with CrossFit Renew as well as helping launch new health and fitness initiatives in different communities. 

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Katelynn Holte

Manager, Foster Care Initiative

Katelynn attended Western Washington University and received her degree in human services. In the midst of working for a transitional housing program for homeless young adults, she was exposed to the disproportionate number of youth who were aging out of the foster care system into homelessness. She transited from her role in the housing program to providing case management. In 2012, she moved to Vermont and began her Masters degree program at SIT Graduate Institute. She came to the FTCN through the ASI internship program, fulfilling her degree in Intercultural Service, Leadership & Management. Katelynn currently serves as the Manager of the Foster Care Initiative.

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Matt Price

Director, RBI Austin

Matt attended Wheaton College in Illinois, where he played baseball. He moved to Austin in 2007 and soon discovered his passion for reaching underserved youth through sports after serving at camps and as a volunteer baseball coach at nearby Reagan High School. He then helped launch an affordable baseball team for local high school players, which later developed into the first Austin chapter of Major League Baseball’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program. Launched in January 2011, RBI Austin now serves at-risk youth ages 4–18 through clinics, summer leagues, and year-round mentoring.

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Amanda Jackson

Operations Manager, RBI Austin

A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and native Central Texan, Amanda studied sport management and communications in college before moving to the East Coast where she worked in sponsorships and event planning for Major League Baseball and the Boston Red Sox. She returned to Austin in 2009 and oversaw marketing and communications for the FTCN and its programs until 2014 when she transitioned to work for RBI Austin – marking a return to baseball with the FTCN program she helped found. With RBI Austin, Amanda oversees marketing, communications, events, operations, partnerships, and donor and volunteer relations.

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Daniel Reyna

Program Coordinator, RBI Austin

Daniel graduated as a first generation college student from Texas A&M University with a degree in international commerce and a minor in Italian. Growing up in a single parent household, Daniel experienced firsthand the issues that come with the cycle of fatherlessness. During college, a future mentor for Daniel shared the Gospel and directly exemplified the drastic impact of mentoring for the fatherless and emphasized the need for spiritual fathers. After completing his coursework at A&M, Daniel began serving with RBI Austin as the program coordinator in 2014 with the hope of seeing East Austin youth discipled and striving to equip the city to serve inner-city youth.

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Shelby Burnett

Intern, RBI Austin

Shelby graduated from New Mexico State in May 2014 with a degree in exercise science and started as an intern with RBI Austin the same month. She currently serves as the coordinator of RBI Mentoring and is passionate about inner-city youth, sports, Jesus, and discipleship. Shelby looks forward to her upcoming year serving with RBI and seeing God move powerfully in East Austin.  

 

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Brendan Snyder

Intern, RBI Austin

Brendan is a graduate of Texas Tech University, where he earned a dual degree in marketing and management. While at Tech, Brendan worked at Pine Cove Camps and as a CrossFit instructor where he found that he was passionate about working with youth as well as health and fitness. Joining the FTCN team as an intern with RBI Austin was the perfect way for Brendan to combine his passions and serve at-risk youth in Austin.

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Lesley Heard

Director, TCS Volleyball

Lesley grew up in Houston and played volleyball at Jersey Village before becoming a two-year letter winner at Texas State University. She transferred to the University of Texas at Austin and played club volleyball before graduating and working in finance. While in the corporate world, she volunteered with Total City Sports before leaving her job to direct TCS Volleyball full-time in 2013. Lesley and her husband Carlton were married in January 2012.

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Aaron Mullins

Director, Unison Development

After graduating from Purdue University in Indiana, Aaron and his wife Shauna moved to Austin in search of warmer weather. He worked in the commercial construction industry for four years, and his last project with a large commercial contractor was the construction of the For the City Center in St. John. During this time, Aaron saw first-hand the great need for job training and development. This led to the launch of Unison Development, which he now directs. He and Shauna have three children (Philip, Tera, and Lexi) and are foster parents to a baby boy.

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Julie Latcham

Marketing and Program Coordinator, Unison Development

Julie graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in marketing and minor in management. After college, she moved to Memphis to participate in SOS Academy, a one-year program of Service Over Self, a community development organization. After completing her year of service at Advance Memphis, a nonprofit in inner city Memphis serving those with barriers to employment, Julie continued there for the next three years, helping launch their expanded GED services and recruiting and training volunteers. She moved back to Austin in 2013 and is starting FTCN's soft skills job training program and managing Unison Development’s communications.