Our History

1947 - Clifford and Adele Bledsoe open the doors of Mission Road Foundation and School in September, which began by serving the Bledsoe’s son and two other children with three staff members.

1954 - May 23, Mission Road Foundation was chartered by the State of Texas as a non-profit rehabilitation center for exceptional children (with intellectual and other developmental disabilities). It was licensed by the State Department of Public Welfare.

1962 - The 15th Anniversary of Mission Road Foundation, which had grown to serve 68 children with a staff of 33. The original two acre tract had grown to 22 acres with ten buildings, in addition to the original Votaw-James homestead.

1970 - Enrollment listed at 110, with 24 acres. Brochure stated Mission Road was a United Fund Agency.

1973 - The Bledsoes retired from active management of the center, which was then managed by an Executive Director, Wallace D. Nielson, and professional staff under the direction of a 20-member Board of Directors.  At this time, the Bledsoes deeded their interest in the grounds, buildings and equipment to the Foundation, thus assuring continued operation of the center.  The Bledsoes continued to live in their home on the campus. It was reported that the campus had grown to 24 acres with 18 structures; in addition to the original homestead, swimming pool, eight dormitories, classrooms, a gymnasium, chapel and workshop. The stated mission was “to furnish proper and adequate custodial care for the intellectually disabled, who cannot be otherwise provided for and to offer education and training for those who may have capabilities for return to the community.”

1975 - The Votaw-James homestead, Mission Road’s Administration Building, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

1976 - First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio began their sponsorship of Mission Road Foundation.

1978 - The Mission Road Foundation name was changed to Mission Road Development Center, MRDC.

1979 - In June, Mrs. Clifford Bledsoe (Adele) passed away.

1980 - Opened the campus home Bledsoe, the first ICF-MR (Intermediate Care Facility-Mental Retardation) in San Antonio.

1981 - Opened the community home Lee Hall, an ICF-MR home.

1982 - Successfully completed a $3 million capital campaign.

1983-1985 - Completed Leon D. Glasscock Medical Center, Stumberg Vocational Center, Kronksoky Cottage for children. And finished the historical restoration of the Votaw-James Homestead building on the campus.  The Votaw-James Homestead received the San Antonio Conservation Society award.

1986 - Opened Independence Square Apartments next to the Mission Road campus; apartments provide supervised, semi-independent living for adults.

1987 - MRDC led the establishment of Respite Care of San Antonio to provide relief care for persons with intellectual developmental disabilities.

1990 - Completed central laundry facility and a new training kitchen in the Work Activity Center on campus.

1991 - Opened Mockingbird, an adult community home.

1992 - Opened Kopplow, an adult ICF-MR home in the community.

1993 - Opened Mabee, an adult ICF-MR duplex, to relocate the campus Bledsoe residents to the community.

1994 - Successfully completed $3 Million capital campaign.

1995 - Opened Pryor & Coy, the first off-campus transitional home for children.

1996 - Opened a licensed Day Activity and Health Services program for persons with intellectual developmental disabilities. Completed the Murray Manor Apartments. MRDC became a licensed Home and Community-Based Services (HCS) provider.

1997 - Mission Road’s 50th Anniversary. Opened four new campus cottages.

1998 - Opened Covenant, an adult ICF-MR home in the community, to replace the Lee Hall facility.

1999 - Opened the Education and Training Center on campus; and opened Vailcrest, MRDC’s first HCS home.

2000 - MRDC established Mission Road Ministries as the umbrella organization to MRDC and the apartments.

2001 - MRM completed a $1.2 million capital campaign to construct three new homes for children and to expand its Endowment Fund. In July of 2001, Unicorn Centers, Inc. merges with the Mission Road Ministries family of agencies.

2002 - MRDC became a Consolidated Waiver Program provider, a licensed Child Placing Agency. And opened the new Bledsoe Cottage for children on campus.

2003 - MRDC initiated its Foster Care Program. Opened Larkspur and Sandpiper (two childrens community homes). Converted Pryor & Coy to HCS adult homes. Opened the Meadow Brook Apartments.

2004 - A new home for Unicorn Centers, Inc. was purchased at 4630 Hamilton Wolfe Road. The new 28,000 square-foot Unicorn Centers is more than triple the size of the previous facility on West Avenue and is able to serve approximately 200 more customers.

2007 - Mission Road Ministries celebrates 60 years of serving children and adults with Intellectual and developmental Disabilities. Sixty years ago, the Bledsoes began serving a few children with disabilities. Since that time, Mission Road has grown to currently serve more than 800 persons with IDD, each day through the organization’s various programs & services. 2007 was a banner year.  The redesigned logo & Web site were introduced, Mission Road was challenged to raise a matching grant of $100,000 from the Richmond Family Foundation & Mission Road was issued a $1 million challenge grant by Sue & Jesse Oppenheimer to raise $1 million to fund the Jesse H. & Susan R. Oppenheimer Center for Programming & Recreation.  Mission Road met the $1 million challenge. Also, Golf San Antonio granted Mission Road $100,000 toward the refurbishment of the gymnasium.

2009 - Mission Road broke ground on the Oppenheimer Center.  The Oppenheimer’s $1 million challenge was matched by generous donors & the entire project was increased to a $4.1 million campus improvement project, to include new gate, entrance, fencing, refurbishing the gymnasium to be used as an open-air pavilion, lighting, renovations of the Chapel & more. A Foundation Dedication for the Oppenheimer Center was held in May.

2010 - The Oppenheimer Center was completed with a grand opening held in April. Mission Road purchased 2 homes, Los Indios & Sugar Hill, as HCS adult community homes. The SOAR (Summer Outreach & Recreation) children’s program was opened to include children with IDD from the community.

2011 - The 13th off-campus home Windgap was opened for adults with IDD.  The Darlene Kay Segler Pavilion was dedicated.

2012 - The 14th off-campus home, Rambling Trail was opened for adults with IDD.

2013 - The 15th off-campus home, Bradley Creek, was opened for adults with IDD. The 16th off-campus home. Cozy Trail, was opened for adults with IDD.

2014 - Completed construction on phase one of the Frank Fisher Memorial Fitness Park made possible through the generosity of Pastor Jim De Hoog, Mrs. Shirley Fisher Kline and the Mays Family Foundation. A 1/4 acre paved walking trail including nine exercise machines (5 of which are wheelchair accessible), and covered outdoor classroom. 2016 and 2017, professionally landscaping was added with special attention to plant textures and smell for deafblind clients.

2014 - Mission Road was chosen by the Castleberry family to be a recipient of a grant from the Castleberry Family Charitable Trust at the San Antonio Area Foundation for restoration and upgrades to our historic home and administration building. Built in approximately 1880, the Votaw-James Home, a national historic landmark, is a two-story, rock home on the banks of the San Antonio River. It has served as a client home, infant nursery, school, kitchen and offices for the clients and staff of Mission Road since our founding in 1947. The Castleberry grant allowed for the installation of a new, metal roof, repair and replacement of windows (7 original windows!) and rain gutters, replacement and repair fragile bricks and mortar damaged in a fire in 1980 plus interior plaster repair, lighting, and both interior and exterior paint.

2014 - Eagles Nest classroom was constructed at the rear of the campus overlooking our extensive playground and trees.  Eagles Nest is the 7th classroom serving clients participating in our Free.To.Be Day Activity Program. Eagles Nest curriculum is specially designed for clients eager to participate in robust physical activity, daily off-campus field trips and excursions, and frequent participation on community events and volunteering.  The construction of Eagles Nest also included - and required - the design and construction of our drive way, parking and fire lanes offering upgraded client security, pick up and drop off safety plans and long-lasting concrete design to serve generations to come.

2015 - Design, planting and dedication of the Virginia and Clark Munroe Olive Orchard at Mission Road made possible through the generosity of Mrs. Jess Womack. More than 50 volunteers planted 250 olive trees with the guidance of Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard. Annual harvesting of olives should commence as the trees grow and mature.  A tranquil prayer and sculpture garden was dedicated in 2016 featuring a custom made, bronze sculpture with the likenesses of two life size Mission Road children and our beloved boxer, Oreo - designed by local San Antonio artist, Donna Dobberfuhl.

2015 - Completed construction and opened Cynthia's Pool made possible through the generosity of George and Barbara Williams. This is a state-of-the-art swimming pool and water park especially designed for people with IDD. Designed and constructed by Keith Zars Pools.

2016 - Accepted HandsOn as a new program within Mission Road Developmental Center serving the residential and day activity needs of adults with diagnoses of deafness, blindness and IDD. HandsOn serves 26 clients living in four single family homes.