Investing in Key Issue Areas Providing leadership, funding, research and collaboration to improve quality of life through strategic initiatives and partnerships.

Investing in Key Issue Areas

The San Antonio Area Foundation addresses the root causes of social challenges and advances equity to create a city where one’s zip code or background no longer predicts their life outcomes. Utilizing the delivery of various approaches we move progress toward building an environment where San Antonio residents are deeply connected, have equitable opportunities to thrive, and contribute to the vitality of the community.

Cultural Vibrancy

The San Antonio Area Foundation imagines a vibrant arts and culture community that increases connectivity, empowers all San Antonians, and reflects the cultural diversity of our city.  This impact area aims to preserve San Antonio’s rich culture and history and enhance community connectivity through the arts by focusing on approaches that:

  • support programs to promote economic and community development
  • build capacity by supporting under-resourced arts and culture organizations
  • influence funders through advocacy
  • mobilize communities by supporting community voice and empowerment
  • catalyzing collaboration by supporting coordinated efforts between diverse arts and culture organizations

Grant Opportunities

The San Antonio Area Foundation’s Cultural Vibrancy grantmaking will support organizations and programming that ensure access to arts and cultural programming and encourage broad participation from all parts of our community; reflect the diverse cultures of the greater San Antonio area; and promote the value of arts and culture through arts education, advocacy, and the integration of arts and culture across sectors through innovative collaboration.

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Collaborative and Collective Impact Initiatives

Early Stage Capacity Building Pilot Project

In partnership with the H. E. Butt Foundation, this pilot project provides early-stage capacity building supports to a set of small-to mid-sized nonprofit organizations in San Antonio that align with our Foundations’ mission and focus in contributing to the wellbeing of children, youth, and families in our community.  Three of the organizations selected are organizations focused on cultural vibrancy – American Indians in Texas at the Spanish Colonial Missions, San Anto Cultural Arts and Classical Music Institute.

Partnership with National Funder

In 2020, The San Antonio Area Foundation partnered with a national funder to provide a combined award of $100,000 to the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in acknowledgment of the it’s 36-year history as a home for San Antonio's Latino artists and cultural traditions, and continued work to provide platforms for artists across disciplines and approaches.   The grant will strengthen the Guadalupe's ability to continue this work through and beyond the current crisis.

Livable and Resilient Communities

The San Antonio Area Foundation envisions a thriving, connected and resilient San Antonio where residents can enjoy a safe, stable, and lives full of opportunity in every zip code.  Utilizing a multi-faceted approach to increase our community’s livability and resilience, thereby reducing economic segregation, this impact area focuses on approaches that:

  • build capacity for under-resourced non-profits through professional development, general operating support and learning circles
  • mobilize communities through advocacy and community organizing
  • catalyze collaboration by convening cross-sector actors and shifting resources and priorities to support zip codes with limited access to resources
  • generate knowledge through investments in research and innovations that build on existing assets in under-served communities

Grant Opportunities

Through its Livable and Resilient Communities grantmaking, the San Antonio Area Foundation will invest in organizations, programs and initiatives that boost access to affordable, safe, and stable housing, transportation, health and wellness resources, and public spaces. We will also support public-private partnerships to create sustainable opportunities and address disparities in these areas across the greater San Antonio area, as well platforms for community/stakeholder voice and leadership.

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Collaborative and Collective Impact Initiatives

Leading to Change: Building Equity in Community

The 2019 COSA Poverty Report found San Antonio is a city marked by high economic inequality, racial disparities, and residential segregation. Recognizing the challenges rooted in inequitable systems, and identifying the need to uplift the affordable housing and community development sector, the San Antonio Area Foundation has partnered with LISC San Antonio to engage at least five executives in a pilot cohort-based leadership development program designed to support new and emerging leaders in the affordable housing arena, through a peer-driven program. Titled “Leading to Change: Building Equity in Community”, program components include leadership training, racial equity and organizational culture skill building and executive coaching. As part of the program, participants will have the opportunity to develop an equity plan. The program will run for six months beginning in October of 2020 and commencing in March of 2021. 

Investing in Asset Building for San Antonio Families

In the summer of 2019, the San Antonio Area Foundation joined other members of the Asset Funders Network San Antonio to launch an important report developed by Texas Appleseed that examined the gaps and opportunities for many San Antonians in the areas of housing, health, economic mobility and other indicators of well-being and resilience. As a lens for understanding our commitment to fostering fundamental quality-of-life assets for all San Antonians, we encourage you to read Insights, Aspirations, and Action: Investing in Asset Building for San Antonio Families. 

Download Executive Summary     Download Full Report

Give Now

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Successful Aging

older woman

The San Antonio Area Foundation believes in building an attractive and livable community that supports the improved health, well-being, and autonomy of older adults and values the contributions of all older adults.  Knowing that aging begins well before an individual reaches their 50s and 60s, this impact area engages the community and adults of all ages through approaches that:

  • support programs focused on strengthening safety nets and caregiving support for aging adults
  • catalyze collaboration by supporting innovative, effective collaborative efforts and partnerships between system actors and supporting aging adults in San Antonio
  • shifting the narrative on aging by building awareness and reframing mental models around aging and the assets and contributions from aging adults
  • generate knowledge by sharing data, learnings and building capacity within aging adult-serving organizations

Grant Opportunities

The San Antonio Area Foundation will focus on grantmaking efforts for Successful Aging by supporting organizations and programs that address the needs of aging adults and their caretakers; recognize their ongoing contributions to diverse communities across the San Antonio area; provide opportunities to engage and connect; and build awareness of and collaboration between existing resources. 

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Collaborative and Collective Impact Initiatives

Successful Aging and Living in San Antonio (SALSA)

Aligned with the World Health Organizations Eight Domains of Livability, the SALSA initiative embraces meaningful changes that improve quality of life for all generations, by inclusively supporting solutions to ensure we can all thrive as we age.  Using a collective impact approach with over 35 partners, SALSA was created by the San Antonio Area Foundation to increase leadership, collaboration across sectors and funding to ensure older adults have access to necessary services, information and support systems. 

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Reframing Aging

In a partnership with the Gerontological Society of America, the San Antonio Area Foundation and SALSA have launched the Reframing Aging Initiative which is a long-term social endeavor designed to improve the public’s understanding of what aging means and the many ways that older adults contribute to society.  Ultimately, this greater understanding will counter ageism and guide our community’s approach to ensuring supportive policies and programs for us all as we move through the life course.  This new approach developed by the renowned Frameworks Institute and based on social science research techniques, can help you change the conversation, be more persuasive, and influence public understanding to create a more just, inclusive, and age-friendly society. 

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Youth Success

The San Antonio Area Foundation helps build a network of programs in San Antonio that supports the improved educational and social-emotional success and autonomy of young people and elevates the achievement of all within the community.  This this impact area creates opportunities for children and youth to thrive in adulthood, thus breaking the cycle of poverty, by fostering a cradle to career continuum focused on:

  • supporting programs that broaden assistance to students, family members and other educational stakeholders
  • influencing other funders to increase alignment and focus on racial and economic disparities in education
  • informing policy by supporting programming, research and advocacy that seeks policy solutions addressing the inequities
  • mobilizing communities by supporting young people in articulating and advancing their own educational vision and elevating youth leadership
  • catalyzing cross sector collaboration by convening to develop integrated, wraparound experiences for youth both in and out of school

Grant Opportunities

Grantmaking efforts for Youth Success will focus on supporting organizations and programs that encourage the achievement of all youth within the community throughout a student’s education (cradle to career); addressing disparities across youth educational outcomes; providing equitable access to scholarships; and engaging communities by strengthening youth leadership and providing educational activities for parent and caretakers.

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Collaborative and Collective Impact Initiatives

Excel Beyond the Bell:  Developing Relationships, Catalyzing Youth Outcomes

2019 CEO Retreat The San Antonio Area Foundation understands the power of collaboration to influence systems change, to this end served as a catalyst to launch a coordinated city-wide effort focused on improving youth outcomes through Out-of-School Time (OST) programs.  The initiative, known as Excel Beyond the Bell - San Antonio (EBBSA), convenes 48 nonprofit organizations serving 80,000 area youth and engages them in a common agenda to centered on building developmental relationships with youth.  With a shared commitment to creating equity and capacity building, the Area Foundation now serves as a lead anchor partner to EBBSA and have joined organizations across the community to commitment to equitable recovery pledge.    

Excel Academy Cohort

2019 Excel Academy In 2019, The Foundation proudly supported the launch of UpPartnership inaugural Excel Academy Cohort – a 10-month professional development opportunity blending Developmental Relationships, Adaptive Leadership, and Data-Informed Continuous Improvement Capacity-Building. 

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RESET: Supporting Racial Equity and Recovery in the Wake of COVID-19

2020 RESET Data Course Child and youth-serving institutions across Bexar County are being forced to rethink many fundamental components of their operations, services delivery, and finances. In response to this, the San Antonio Area Foundation has partnered with UP Partnership to offer organizations the opportunity to RESET.

RESET is an organizational recovery framework designed to strengthen the capacity of organizations to navigate these challenges well. The RESET course launched August 2020 helps child- and youth-serving institutions to rethink their core programs and strategies, while also learning to use and interpret data in ways that can help them to make strong strategic decisions amidst unprecedented uncertainties. While the primary focus of RESET is organizational recovery and change management, many of the skills shared in this program will have lasting applications after the pandemic has passed. The goal is for child- and youth-serving institutions to strengthen their program model for the current context, while also incorporating the principles of equity-centered data analysis to strengthen their services over time.

 High School Completion

From 2011 through 2020, the Area Foundation helped to increase graduation rates by supporting out-of-school time programs. The High School Completion initiative awarded a total of 110 grants totaling $3,921,693 to 44 different agencies that provided out-of-school time programs to Bexar County students in third through ninth grades. 

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Bexar County Children and Youth Behavioral Health Assessment

In 2019, with the support of the San Antonio Area Foundation and the Kronkosky Foundation, The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI) conducted a report 1) to identify specific “up-stream” strategies to continue development of the community’s behavioral health systems impacting children and youth; and 2) provide recommendations for opportunities expected to come out of the 86th legislature to improve upstream interventions.  It is the Foundation’s hope this report serves as a catalyst for systems change work. 

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Building Community Capacity

The San Antonio Area Foundation engages in several strategic partnerships and initiatives intended to build community capacity by responding to community needs, help organizations grow and advance equity.

Responding to Community Needs

Emergency and Rapid Response Grant Opportunities

Unexpected events can be harmful to an organization’s ability to meet the needs of those it serves. During unexpected and unprecedented times of challenge, the Area Foundation helps organizations continue to meet their mission by providing rapid response funding and support when an unbudgeted, unforeseen, time-sensitive emergency or event would result in the loss of a critical safety net service. 

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Helping Organizations Grow and Advance Equity

The Area Foundation has provided capacity-building grants, financial support for capacity-building projects and offered capacity-building training programs for the nonprofit community since 2011. In 2019, we partnered with a national consulting firm to evaluate how we could strengthen our work in the community as we continue to build community capacity and advance equity. As part of our learning and understanding of community needs, local nonprofit CEOs were invited to provide feedback about our training programs and capacity building. Information and education acquired through this process is helping us evolve our approach to helping organizations and individuals grow through partnership. Please find below a list of some of that work below.

Early Stage Capacity Building Pilot Project 

In partnership with the H. E. Butt Foundation, this pilot project provides early-stage capacity building supports to a set of small to mid-sized nonprofit organizations in San Antonio that align with our Foundations’ mission and focus in contributing to the wellbeing of children, youth, and families in our community. Recognizing that many small and mid-size nonprofit organizations in our community serve our most under-invested and marginalized communities with minimal access to capacity building resources, this project is designed to engage and equip organizations with skills and knowledge to prepare for future growth. The six-month project provides six (6) participating nonprofits with the opportunity to complete the iCAT Nonprofit Organizational Capacity Assessment Tool, reflect on organizational strength and identify critical capacity needs, receive up to 3 hours of technical assistance and coaching support, and receive grant funding to help grow organizational capacity. Selected organizations include American Indians in Texas at the Spanish Colonial Missions, Classical  Music InstituteElla AustinLatched SupportSan Anto Cultural Arts, and SA Heals

Catch-a-fire - Skills Based Volunteering

COVID increased need for virtual volunteers. The loss of staff and skills due to budget cuts amplified the problem. Social Venture Partners (SVP) put together a team of local San Antonio funders, including the San Antonio Area Foundation, to connect virtual volunteers (with the following skills categories: business strategy, data and analytics, design and media, finance, HR, program management, marketing, technology, COVID-19 essential, advocacy) with local nonprofits. The project will connect 100 San Antonio nonprofits through the Catchafire platform to skills-based volunteers.

Catchafire connects 10 million plus skills-based volunteers to 21,000 plus nonprofits around the U.S., with the support of 60 foundation partners. The platform offers real-time reports on active projects, active volunteers, volunteer hours, volunteer bio-information, specific data on nonprofits, and value of service provided. In Texas there are 250 nonprofits with access to the platform, with 1,612 hours donated via 432 volunteers. The Foundation is pleased to partner with SVP, LISC San Antonio, H. E. Butt Foundation, DOCUmation, and Methodist Heatlhcare Ministiries to bring Catch-a-fire to San Antonio. 

Neighborhood Inequality Narrative Change Workshop

Narrative Change In 2019, The H. E. Butt Foundation and the San Antonio Area Foundation joined forces, with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Trust, to equip select nonprofit organizations serving particularly vulnerable families and children in the city of San Antonio with a deeper understanding of narrative change methodology to drive systems change.  Part One included a narrative change workshop with curriculum focused on tools to tell the stories of their work and impact in community. Facilitators included members of the We are Rally team, an issue driven communications firm and Gravity Field.  Part Two included a competitive grant application process for workshop attendee for a six-month high touch and individualized in-depth training in narrative change methodology. Narrative Change Presenter Prospera Housing Community Services where they focused attention on the issues of homelessness and affordable housing

Big Give

In 2014, in partnership with the San Antonio Nonprofit Council and other local funders, the Area Foundation launched the Big Give, a 24-hour online giving event that has raised $25 million for area nonprofits in its first six years. Due to the strong sustainability of this effort, the Area Foundation is proud to see Big Give flourish as a stand-alone initiative in 2019 and beyond, supporting over 500 regional nonprofits annually.

Learn more about the work of Big Give here.

Engaging the Community

The Area Foundation engages community stakeholders in fulfilling its mission and achieving its North Star, San Antonio area residents are deeply connected, have equitable opportunities to thrive, and contribute to the vitality of the community, by creating space for community leadership and community led collaborations.

Community Leadership

Community Advisory Committees

Community members committed to building an inclusive and equitable San Antonio are encouraged to apply for a position to serve on one of our four Community Advisory Committees and assist in making our investments.

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Community Led Collaborations

While our commitment to moving progress in our four impact areas remains clear, we recognize many issues that impact our most vulnerable are deeply connected therefore are open to responding to and exploring the interests of individuals, donors and the community. 

State of the African American Community in Bexar County

The San Antonio Area Foundation has partnered with San Antonio Area African American Community Fund (SAAAACF) and Community Information Now to publish a report describing the state of the African American community in Bexar County. The report will address various indicators over topics with in the San Antonio African American community such as population, education, employment and income, business and workforce development, health, housing, justice, and social issues.  Community experts contributing to the development of the report include:

  • Dr. Milton Harris, 100 Black Men
  • Greg Thompson, Alamo City Black Chamber of Commerce
  • Gayle, Johnson, Community of Churches for Social Action
  • Jasmin Dean, Dyslexia Now
  • Dr. Travis Butts, Lackland AFB
  • Bobby Blount, San Antonio Area African American Community Fund
  • Patricia Mejia, San Antonio Area Foundation
  • Dorian William, San Antonio Area Foundation, Texas Christian Fellowship
  • Lindsey Logan, San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside
  • Brandy Ralston-Lint, Security Service Federal Credit Union
  • Sharon Crockett-Ray, St. Philip’s College
  • Osman Deem, Telcom Logistics
  • Brianna Brown, Texas Organizing Project
  • Up Partnerhsip, Ryan Lugalia-Hollon

The report will be launched at the end of 2020/early 2021.

Partnership with CI NOW

Now and the San Antonio Area African American Community Fund (SAAAACF) to increase the 2020 Census Count of Bexar County African-Americans

Leveraging an investment by the John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation, the San Antonio Area Foundation partnered with the San Antonio Area African Community Fund and Community Information Now to create material on the 2020 Census. SAAAACF coordinated with various community leaders to message and offer suggestions on how to leverage community resources to ensure all are counted.