Compassion Waco announces new executive director — Amanda Samaniego

By Emily Iazzetti

For the first time in more than 20 years, the only transitional housing facility for families in Central Texas will have new leadership. Amanda Samaniego will become executive director of Compassion Waco in October.

Amanda Samaniego

The Compassion Board of Directors started the official search for a new executive director this summer after Executive Director Jill McCall announced plans to retire. Finding the right person committed to help homeless families was fundamental.

“Amanda’s work experience and her volunteer experience showed us she has a true heart for the work at
Compassion,” Board President Debbie Luce said. “She has a heart for helping others and understands how important Compassion is in our community.”

A Waco native, Samaniego returned to the Waco area eight years ago and brings corporate experience to the position, including five years at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce. However, with a master’s degree in public administration, her heart has always been in the nonprofit sector. Samaniego said she has a calling to help reach struggling parents, especially women, and to help them find their potential.

After her husband died when her daughter was 3 years old, Samaniego spent 13 years as a single mom rebuilding her own life.

“I feel strongly that my personal story helps me understand the guilt and the shame that can come with
struggling when you are a parent,” Samaniego said. “When you have a child to raise, and you feel like you
don’t know how to do it, it is hard. I hope that I will be able to support the parents at Compassion as they
work to build better lives for their kids.”

McCall has led the Compassion organization since 1999 and oversaw the building and fundraising for Hope House, a 14-apartment facility, in the early years of her tenure. McCall will stay with Compassion in an advisory role through the beginning of 2023.

Compassion is a transitional housing program and facility for homeless families in Central Texas. Started in 1994 by a group of local pastors and community leaders, Compassion has worked to serve Waco’s
homeless community. In 1995, the organization began housing homeless families and became the only
transitional housing facility for families in the area. With on-site case management and a dedicated team of community volunteer “co-partners,” Compassion has a program to help families end the cycle of
homelessness.

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