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Marilyn Manzo-Dawson

Executive Director

Marilyn Manzo-Dawson is the Executive Director of Friends of the Children’s first Texas chapter. Marilyn was the founding Program Director for Friends Austin, joining the team when the organization launched in 2017, and led the program team for nearly seven years. Marilyn graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a B.S. in Business Economics and Sociology. After graduating, Marilyn acquired nonprofit experience working in a group home for adolescent youth experiencing the foster care system. Marilyn moved to Austin in 2015 and led programming design and implementation in grassroots nonprofits, managed early childhood outreach in Travis County, and found her passion for mentoring. Marilyn has served as a volunteer mentor for the same young woman for more than nine years. She is also paired with a youth from Friend Austin’s inaugural group of children and has been her full-time Friend since 2018. Marilyn is the first Executive Director within the Friends of the Children network to also serve a child as a Friend. In her free time, you can find Marilyn spending time with her husband, dog Dre, reading, traveling and hiking.


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