New Area Foundation professional development program emphasizes diversity and inclusion

The San Antonio Area Foundation has always valued diversity and inclusion but now the organization is making a decisive turn toward incorporating equity across all areas of its philanthropic work.

Those factors already play a key role in grantmaking decisions. A new effort kicks off Friday, Oct. 22, with the launch of the new San Antonio Equity Fellowship Program. This first-ever offering from the Area Foundation involves a unique professional development opportunity for local nonprofit leaders of color to gain personal growth and advance their careers.

“This is a transformational program focused on bringing together African American and Latinx community leaders who are committed to constructively altering societal conditions and creating equitable opportunities for all,” said Patricia Mejia, Vice President of Community Engagement and Impact at the Area Foundation.

The training curriculum, which runs through April 2022, involves monthly sessions focused on transformational leadership, intercultural understanding, social change, policy action, community improvement and arts expression.

The main criteria for applicants included being a senior or executive leader or member of the board of directors of a local nonprofit organization, commitment to participate in all in-person sessions, support from participants’ respective organizations and self-identification as Black, Latinx or Multi-racial.

The program is modeled after a similar one created by the Multicultural Leadership Academy of the Latino Policy Forum in Chicago.

“The San Antonio Equity Fellowship is designed to create a cadre of passionate, transformational leaders committed to equity, and cross-cultural collaboration that will benefit all citizens of San Antonio,” said Carol Rodriguez, a consultant who will help facilitate the Area Foundation program. 

“Based on the successes realized in Chicago from collaboration between graduates of the program in that city, we anticipate fruitful projects positively impacting policy and programs in San Antonio,” Rodriguez added.

Congratulations to the 2021 (inaugural) San Antonio Equity Fellowship Program participants – they are:

  • Amanda VillarrealRide Connect Texas.
  • Annette Rodriguez, The Children’s Shelter.
  • Anitra Henning, City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation.
  • Christopher Sanchez, Neighborhood Housing Services of San Antonio.
  • Danielle Campbell Steans, Ballet Latino de San Antonio/San Antonio Youth Ballet.
  • Deborah Omowale JarmonSan Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum.
  • Domingo GonzalesUnited Way of San Antonio & Bexar County.
  • Edward JohnsonVIA Metropolitan Transit.
  • Evelyn DelgadoHealthy Futures of Texas.
  • Fabi AvilaFamily Service.
  • Jake WhiteNational Association of Latino Community Asset Builders.
  • Janice Da SilvaMagdalena House.
  • Leroy AdamsUP Partnership.
  • Lisa AlvarengaLibraries Without Borders.
  • Milton Harris100 Black Men of San Antonio.
  • Morgan JonesSan Antonio Spurs.
  • Nick GarciaTeach For America.
  • Ramon VasquezAmerican Indians in Texas.
  • Roger CaballeroMadonna Center.
  • Victor ObevoenCity of San Antonio Department of Human Services.