Transformative Gifts

Charitable giving that has shaped the Area Foundation and its impact in community.

What is a transformative gift?

Everyday donors and advisors to our more than 500 charitable funds recommend grants that sustain and grow the capacity of area nonprofits. In addition, some philanthropists in our community have the capacity and desire to make large and sometimes complex gifts while they are living or from their estate or business that changes the trajectory of Area Foundation and its capacity to serve the community.

Transformative gifts have transformative impact. They:

  • Seal the donor’s charitable legacy;
  • Increase significant resource support for area nonprofits, student scholars and the broader community; and
  • Bolster the Area Foundation’s capacity to invest more deeply in critical community solutions that leverage partnerships with other civic and charitable institutions.

Transformative Gifts to the Area Foundation

The following are gifts to the Area Foundation or to charitable funds hosted by the Area Foundation and the impact they have had and are having today.

Goldsmith Legacy Gift

1963 (from the Nat Smith Memorial Trust)

$100,000 payable in $10,000 a year for 10 years


  • Led to the establishment of the San Antonio Area Foundation in 1964.
  • Since its establishment, the Area Foundation has awarded $500M in grants and scholarships.

Semp Russ Legacy Gift


$ 2.9M (Current Balance = $7.3M)


  • More than $10 million in grants for medicine, healthcare and research projects in San Antonio and the surrounding area.
  • The gift made it possible for the San Antonio Area Foundation to hire its first full-time, paid staff member.

John L. Santikos Legacy Gift


$605M (estimated assets)


  • Established the John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation, a fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation.
  • Created a unique partnership between the Area Foundation and Santikos’ business holdings.
  • Provides increased grantmaking in four areas of interest: People in Need, Health, Youth and Education, and Arts and Culture.
  • Funds significant capital naming projects and collaborative initiatives in the community.

Visionary Circle Legacy Society

The San Antonio Area Foundation has created the Visionary Circle legacy society to recognize and thank those who, through their estate or financial plans, ensure that the important charitable work they support today will continue in the future.

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