David Contreras faced life as a young boy with fear, anger, and inferiority after his father was killed in an accident when David was five. Without any positive male role models in David’s life or models of accountability and responsibility, David eventually found himself in a desperate search for approval and identity. Always drawn to the underachievers, it was easy to take the path of least resistance and mediocrity. That path led him to a dead-end street of drug abuse, alcohol, and a life of violence. On the same course in life with his young friends, David was certain to join their ranks in prison or an early death. But a defining and transforming moment took place in his life as a young adult that led him to faith in God and set him on a positive course for his personal transformation.
Over three decades have passed since David has been committed and driven to help educate, equip and empower the next generation of young people. David started his work as a community activist over 20 years ago working with a faith based inner-city outreach program in East Austin. Through that work, David served to impact at-risk teens and provided East Austin gangs with an alternative way of settling their differences. David worked closely with the Austin Police Department and in the Austin area high schools to advocate a positive message and combat issues such as gangs, alcohol and drugs use.
David is committed to be a part of the solution through community empowerment. He is currently the Co Founder of LaunchPad the Center for Hope and Building Dreams. LaunchPad, a 501c3 organization in the Spring of 2008. In 2009 and 2011, LaunchPad was recognized by the Austin Independent School District as “Partner in Education & Volunteer of the Year Award” for excellence in service for the Dobie Community at large. Prior to starting Launch Pad, David served as the Texas Director for the Council on Faith in Action (CONFIA). CONFIA, was founded as a non-profit organization with a mission to strengthen the moral, civic and social foundations of our nation.
In January 2005, David moved back to the Austin Texas area after serving four years in Washington DC in the President George W Bush’s Administration. While in DC he served as the Deputy Director of the President’s Center for Faith Based and Community Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The central mission of the HUD Center is to provide training and information to Faith Based and Community Organizations (FBCO’s) on the President’s initiative and help to identify funding opportunities, resources, support, and partners. In partnership with the White House, the Center served to fulfill the President’s vision of mobilizing the armies of compassion to strengthen America’s communities. As Deputy Director, he was as the primary manager of the Office in managing the day-to-day functions of the Centers’ staff. David represented the Faith Based Initiative and addressed national audiences and key constituencies to provide key accomplishments of the President’s Initiative. He was also responsible for managing the Faith Based Component of the President’s Management Agenda, a results oriented government wide agenda.
Prior to his position at HUD, David served at the U.S. Small Business Administration in the position of External Affairs Coordinator for the Office of Communication and Public Liaison. In that role, he was the primary liaison to targeted trade organizations and associations to disseminate information regarding SBA loans and programs to keep them informed of the Administration’s initiatives relating to their constituency. In addition, he provided management support to the Director and Deputy Director. Prior to moving from Texas to Washington DC, David spent ten years in the high-tech industry working for SEMATECH, a semiconductor company and Applied Materials in Austin, Texas where he served as an instructor.
David is passionate about Communities particularly those underserved. He has dedicated his life to youth empowerment and addressing the systemic ills often plagued in inner city communities.