AUSTIN ROBERTSON, JR.
For the past 40 years Austin Robertson Jr. has devoted his time and talents to community service projects focused on education and the prevention and treatment of addictive diseases including gambling, alcoholism and drug abuse. The programs and organizations for which he has served are diverse, but his actions have been polarized to turn hardship into hope.
Because of Mr. Robertson’s counseling and encouragement, the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling established CORE (Center of Recovery), a residential program that is both a place of help and hope for problem gamblers and their families. At its opening, CORE was the only state-funded facility of its kind in the United States. Mr. Robertson’s leadership in this area has further enabled the Association to open a similar facility in New Orleans. In addition, Mr. Robertson was instrumental in establishing the Louisiana Problem Gamblers Help Line, a 24 –hour 7 days a week program for referral and crisis intervention.
Mr. Robertson also is stabilizing force for the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse of Northwest Louisiana. His guidance in fundraising, capital expenditures, including acquisition of facilities to treat afflicted individuals and families, and day-to-day management maintain the Council’s focus on its mission to heighten public awareness that alcohol and other drug dependencies are preventable and treatable conditions. Under his direction, the Council’s operating budget has grown from $200,000 to an excess of $3,000,000. These funds enable the Council to help an average of 5,000 alcoholics and addicts to reclaim their lives.
Mr. Robertson also serves with Centenary College, which is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River. His tireless efforts on behalf of Centenary have enhanced the financial stability of the College and its Endowment funds, which in turn allows more students to avail themselves of outstanding educational and cultural opportunities. Through the establishment of a Pooled Income Fund, Mr. Robertson has greatly increased the College’s ability to attract and retain donors, regardless of means, who are interested in the future of America.
Mr. Robertson’s development of a Pooled Income Fund for First United Methodist Church of Shreveport enables members and non-members to contribute a modest amount towards the upkeep of the Church and the continuation of worthy community services that focus on preventative rather than curative. In addition, Mr. Robertson introduced the concept of a Pooled Income Fund to Red River Radio, which is a community-supported service of Louisiana State University in Shreveport. The station’s programming enriches the lives of the listeners and provides opportunity for personal growth by presenting materials that encourage new insights concerning life’s experiences and the relationship among individuals, society and the cultural environment.