Area Foundation announces funding cycle devoted to operating funds for nonprofits

SAN ANTONIO (July 1, 2019) - Nonprofits attended one of five information sessions held in late June to learn about the San Antonio Area Foundation’s 2019 funding cycle. The information sessions included an overview of how the Area Foundation is preparing to align to new areas of interest while advancing equity. While funding cycles are typically of great interest to the nonprofit community, this cycle was especially well-received due to the nature of the funding. The reason? General operating funds are the focus of the 2019 funding cycle, meaning nonprofits can utilize the funds awarded in any manner they deem best for furthering this mission and vision. Not only is this type of funding relatively rare and highly sought-after, it represents an opportunity for nonprofits to adjust to planned changes to grantmaking at the Area Foundation in 2020. To apply online, simply complete the application, which will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 28.

The 2019 funding cycle was thoughtfully engineered as part of a new focus at the Area Foundation that began in 2017 and continued throughout 2018.  The process started in 2017 with the nationally respected consultant, FSG, who engaged over 75 community members in visioning for the future of the Area Foundation and its grantmaking strategies. From this consulting engagement specific to grantmaking, guiding principles, potential new fields of interest, and a North Star was created. The North Star states:

San Antonio Area residents are deeply connected, have equitable opportunities to thrive, and contribute to the vitality of the community.

The Area Foundation has re-engaged with FSG for the implementation phase of the aligned grantmaking that seeks to advance equity in our community while aligning to new fields of interest. During this process, evaluating national trends has been a focus. Many national funders have moved toward providing operational funds to nonprofits, versus specific program funding. Further, providing general operating funds to nonprofits strengthens their capacity, and creates the capability to advance their mission and vision, benefitting all programs and services offered by the nonprofit. As national funders advance this trend, locally, we know general operating funds are of critical importance to our nonprofit ecosystem. In a recent 2019 nonprofit survey administered by Core Research, a respected local firm, 81 percent of the nonprofits surveyed indicated “operational grants” were the most preferred method of support.

Eligibility requirements remain the same as previous years. Applicants will still have to be designated as a nonprofit by the Internal Revenue Code for at least a year, have a minimum budget of $40,000, and serve Bexar and/or the following counties, Atascosa, Comal, Guadalupe, Kendall, Medina and Wilson.

Also, as in past years, the Area Foundation will not fund endowments, debt reduction, funds for individuals, nor political activities. Scholarships and capital campaigns will be funded under a different process.

Award amounts will be based on the budget size of the nonprofit that is applying. In past years, the highest amount granted was $50,000 and that remains unchanged. However, the grant award will be scaled to the organization’s budget, where an organization of less than $75,000 in budget size would receive $8,000, and the larger the organization’s budget, the larger the award amount, up to a maximum of $50,000.

Applicants may still apply in any of the Area Foundation’s current field of interest areas, including arts and culture, animal services, children and youth and high school completion, community at large, medicine and healthcare, and seniors. In 2020, the fields of interest will be updated to reflect community input and strategic direction.

The 2019 annual responsive funding cycle also provides a pathway to advance equity, by asking nonprofits how they impact equity, which zip codes are provided services, and the diversity of their board, amongst other elements. However, the application process changes are relatively subtle while providing an opportunity for operational support. Much of the standard, routine application process remains the same from previous years.

From August to October, hundreds of applications will be evaluated, narrowed and determinations made. Award notifications will be made in November to December, with funds provided by end of year 2019. All award decisions will be shared publicly once decisions are made. Additional questions can be fielded by the Community Engagement & Impact team by emailing at, or calling during business hours to speak to a team member at 210.225.2243.


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San Antonio, TX 78215

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