Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We are indeed in challenging times as we work to flatten the spread of the virus, and keep our community safe. In the span of days, we have announced important initiatives to address not only the immediate needs of our community, but the long-term recovery that will be needed.

The COVID-19 Response Fund Is Now Available

Over $2.7 million was seeded in a community fund now open at the Area Foundation as of March 20, 2020. Philanthropists, foundations, government entities and corporations joined us in announcing a new fund to aid the nonprofit community in serving the most economically vulnerable in our community. Our important role as a community foundation is beautifully evident in how this fund came about! Partners continue to join the effort, and more announcements are expected as the fund is replenished. To view all the details in our widely covered press release, read here. I remain in awe of the generosity and caring spirit of our many partners, including:

The First Awards from the Fund Are Being Announced

The first wave of funding to ensure essential services to our community has been awarded to several key, frontline nonprofit partners. The first awards are to the House of Neighborly Service, Madonna Center, Family Service Association, Merced Housing, LiftFund, San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside (SAGE), South Texas Blood and Tissue Center, San Antonio Food Bank, I Care San Antonio and Meals on Wheels. Collectively, the nonprofits were awarded $350,000. Each of these nonprofits provides invaluable support to our community, ranging from children to older adults, often in our city’s most distressed zip codes. In just one example, the Madonna Center is bringing food and social services to older adults through two of their signature programs. Read more at our latest press release.

Funding has also been provided to two of our institutional partners, the City of San Antonio and United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County. In the case of the city, $50,000 in gift cards is now being distributed through senior centers and Pre-K sites, and early feedback is that the most immediate need is prescriptions for people with underlying conditions such as asthma. Our partnership with the United Way resulted in the Area Foundation’s $50,000 in funds not only being matched, but nearly quadrupled to provide childcare to workers in essential jobs who may be unable to fulfill pressing job needs without childcare support.

The Road Ahead

While none of us can anticipate the length of this crisis, or the evolving needs, the Area Foundation is humbled to serve as a charitable response  leader in partnership with many other caring philanthropically-minded entities. As of yesterday afternoon, nearly 50 applications from nonprofits had been received, and nearly 100 more are in “draft” stage, as nonprofits finalize and submit applications. An advisory group, comprised of the partners who have joined in seeding the fund, are reviewing recommendations from our Community Engagement & Impact team twice a week. Awards are being made in a timely fashion, and our Finance team is working to ensure funds become available electronically to our grant recipients.

To that end, our staff is accessible to the public, even as we work remotely to get critical work done and respond to the community in real-time. You may reach out to any of us through our online staff directory.

Stronger Together

I am so proud of what our nonprofit partners, collaborative funders and donors, and the Area Foundation team has accomplished in such a short time, and we will all need resilience and continued optimism for the journey ahead. Stay safe and well, as we need your leadership to continue responding to the evolving needs of so many in our wonderful community. I’m grateful for you, as we all learn new ways of being stronger, together!

Marjie French
Marjie French