Words of Hope 2020 Award Honorees

Karen & Andy Esparza

Nominated by Beth and Sel Unite

Andy and Karen Esparza have been proud residents of Austin for 23 years after moving from San Diego to join Dell in 1997. They were immediately impressed with the barbeque and music, but generally disappointed with the summer heat and lack of beaches.

They met while students at San Diego State University and have been married for 39 years. They are happy to report that they are still in love and still like each other, even after all this forced togetherness brought on by the global pandemic. They are the proud parents of Nick and Sarah, who enrich their lives and keep things interesting.

Their life together has taken them to California (three times), Maryland, Georgia, Ohio, England, and Texas (two times).  The frequency of moves (for Andy’s human resources career) was at times exhausting, but also filled with new experiences and resulted in long time friendships with a diverse group of people. The expatriate assignment to England was a real highlight and cemented the families love for travel and exploring different cultures around the world.

Andy and Karen’s commitment to giving back to the community is grounded in empathy, leading by example, and feeling a responsibility to help others. They strive to support organizations that have a compelling mission, an effective delivery model, are focused on outcomes, and have great people that are fun to work with. They make all financial decisions together which has been a test of negotiation skills but seems to work. Their involvement in the Austin non-profit community has been a great learning experience. Booker T. Washington once said “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” Those are words that they believe in.

Karen’s community engagement began after she left the workplace to focus on raising their children and becoming CEO of the Esparza household. She was a school/PTA volunteer in the early years. While in Austin, she has been involved with Impact Austin, works as a studio volunteer with Art From the Streets, and has volunteered her time with BookSpring, HopeAustin, and Sharing Happy Birthdays. These organizations support youth education, foster kids, and helping the homeless.

Andy has been a board member with the Andy Roddick Foundation, the Ann Richards School, and San Juan Diego Catholic High School. He has provided pro bono consulting services for several non-profit organizations in and outside of Austin. He has also been very active with San Diego State University, helping the next generation of HR professionals get ready for their careers. His passion has been supporting youth education, primarily for students of color.

Karen and Andy are humbled to receive this award and would like to thank Sel and Beth Unite, their long-time neighbors and friends, for the recognition! Sel and Beth are great examples of caring people that are doing great things in Austin. They are a big reason that Andy and Karen have supported Caritas over the years. They, and other friends have been an inspiration for what can happen when people collectively decide to try and make a difference.

Help us celebrate the contributions Karen & Andy Esparza have made to our community by making a Gift in their honor.

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